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34th Bendigo Madison - IM
Australia, March 10-12, 2006
Day 3 - March 12: Bendigo Madison, 200 laps
Dempster and Docker dynamite in Bendigo
By Les Clarke in Bendigo
Victorian duo Zac Dempster and Mitchell Docker have upset their more fancied rivals in Bendigo tonight with victory in the Bendigo International Madison. Going into the event as 12-1 outsiders at the bookmakers, the young pair was able to beat the opposition and the ever-increasing wind throughout the race to take what is the biggest victory of both riders' lives. Docker couldn't believe it all after the finish, saying, "Coming into it we said we'd love to take a top three, but to take two laps, which hasn't been done in the last few years...it's ridiculous! I dreamed of winning this race, and to do it with Mitch - he's a great mate - I don't think I'll wipe the smile off my face for the rest of the week," said local boy Dempster after the finish.
"We were just floating all night - it was really hard early on, but we just came on strong," said Docker, who admits he wasn't the sprinter in the pairing but knew Dempster was more than up to the task. And Dempster made the most of his duties as the main fast man with a fantastic effort to consistently pit himself against either Nic Sanderson or Sean Finning, consitently putting in the hard yards throughout the mid section of the race to build a lead which launched the pair to victory.
After a tight opening passage where the race could've swung in the direction of four or five teams, the Dempster/Docker combination and the pair of Sanderson and Finning soon established themselves as the ones to beat when they went it alone out front. Simon Clarke, suffering the effects of a crash in the Golden Mile wheelrace final only minutes before the start of the main event, made a brave showing with partner Miles Olman to quickly gather a fair bucket of points throughout the early sprint contests. They rode intelligently but were unable to mix it with the Drapac Porsche and VIS duos as they made their bid for ownership of the race.
It was this mid section that cemented the pattern for the race - a two-horse battle that saw the crowd entertained with sprint after sprint of head-to-head action - once the two teams had put a lap between themselves and the main field, it came down a blow-for-blow shootout at each sprint point as the local boys kept their respective fans enthralled. Speaking after the finish, Dempster couldn't believe that he could beat Finning, who "used to kick my arse in every club race." When he and Docker worked well with Simon Clarke and took a lap out of their main rivals, it became simply unbelievable - but that's what happened with 34 laps remaining, allowing the pair to "soak in" their victory over the last 30-odd laps.
Back in the field, Western Australia's teenage sensations Cameron and Travis Meyer were doing their best to secure a top-five finish, achieving just that; younger brother Travis was just glad to be riding at such a high-profile event, saying after the finish it was awesome to be in Bendigo. Other standout performances include the late surge of Scottish riders Evan Oliphant and James McCallum, who consistently won sprint points over the second half of the race, elevating themselves in the final overall standings as a result.
The race was also punctuated with crashes, as Leigh De Luca, Eric Weispfenning and David Pell fell victim to the fast conditions and fell by the wayside - once off it's very difficult to regain the momentum needed to contest a Madison race, and this is particularly the case when riders crash.
But the night belonged to Docker and Dempster, who have come of age as a Madison team, something they want to continue. "We wondered [before this race] whether we could ride together for the next couple of years - well, bloody oath we can!" said Docker after the finish. "Tonight was just a dream come true...it's good to show we most definitely up there with the best of them," said Dempster as he was embraced from all angles in the infield after the finish - it was certainly a popular victory and something to savour, for the local Dempster and the 19-year-old Docker.
Full report to follow on Cyclingnews
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
Bendigo International Madison 1 Zac Dempster/Mitchell Docker 74 pts 1 lap behind 2 Sean Finning/Nic Sanderson 75 pts 3 Simon Clarke/Miles Olman 56 pts 4 Cameron Meyer/Travis Meyer 33 2 laps behind 5 Steve Fitzpatrick/Peter Fitzpatrick 42 6 Evan Oliphant/James McCallum 29 Golden Mile wheelrace final 1 D Taylor 2 A Hanson 3 G Mueller Invitational keirin 1 J Leonard 2 M French 3 T Wilksch 4 N Sanderson Sprint derby 1 J Leonard 2 M French 3 T Wilksch Invitational Motorpace 1 E Weispfenning 2 C Lademann 3 E Oliphant 4 S Finning 5 S Clarke