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Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals
Tasmania, December 20, 2008 - January 17, 2009
Stewart sews up wheelrace
By Rod Morris
In his first season of riding in open company Devonport 16-year-old Brandon Stewart has realized a dream that has eluded thousands of other cyclists over a course of 112 years. Stewart won the 2008 Latrobe Wheelrace in a all front markers final, denying the opportunity of crowd favourite Nathan Clarke - the sole scratchman to qualify for the 3000 m classic - a second victory.
The Latrobe Wheelrace started in 1896 and is one of Australia's oldest and most prestigious events of its type.
Stewart, a member of the Mersey Valley - Devonport Cycling Club continued the growing list of young winners of the event that has captured the mystique of Australian track cycling. In the last two decades, teenagers have enjoyed an amazing run of success in the time honoured Latrobe Wheel.
From 1991-93, three 16-year-olds - Brent McCaig (1991), Tony Homan (1992) and Luke Roberts (1993) - were all crowned champions.
Since then Shane Hodskiss (19), Jade Clarke (18), Aaron Kemps (18), Bradley Payne (18), Matthew Goss (19), Jayden Veljacich (19) and Scott Law (17) have all added their names to the star-studded honour board.
Nathan Clarke qualified for his 14th Latrobe Wheel final in the space of 15 years after finishing in the first four in the opening heat. He had plenty of support in that race from fellow scratchman Matthew Goss, but further out in the field, Alex Carver (90m), Douglas Repacholi (120m) and Mustarudin Zamani (120m) held out the middlemarkers, which included the highly credentialed Shane Perkins and Todd Wilksch.
The second of the five qualifying heats saw much the same with unheralded Tasmanian locals, Colin Barnes (285m) and Jason Bounday (300m), along with Dean Benedetti (300m) and Glen Myler (330m) making life extremely difficult for the two scratchmen Mark Jamieson and Glen O'Shea.
Highly ranked Victorian James Langedyk (45m) got through in the third heat to give Nathan Clarke some support for the final, while former scratchman Jame Carney (USA) also qualified, but this time off a liberal 75m handicap. Other third heat qualifiers included talented young Tasmanian Ben Grenda (135m) and Simon Brown (270m).
Victorian track specialist Adrian Hanson was an impressive qualifier in heat four and his mark of 75m, was a welcome sight for Nathan Clarke. The qualifying of Sam Brett (165m), Peter Loft (180m) and Brandon Stewart (255m) wasn't quite as welcome for the hometown favourite.
In heat five three more youngsters Matthew McDonagh (255m), Justin McMullen (255m) and Danny Pulbrook (270m) along with Malcolm Rudolph (105m) all took their places in the final field of 20.
This season - and prior to the Boxing Day action at Latrobe - Stewart had not exactly set the world on fire. He won the 1000m lightning handicap at the pre-Christmas Devonport Carnival and a fortnight later won the same distance race at the Rosebery Carnival as well as finishing fourth in the Rosebery Wheel behind his MVDCC teammate Sam Brett, who on form would have been the Latrobe Wheel favourite.
Stewart however made full use of his 255m handicap and the small pocket of riders around the same mark worked well together to put the backmarkers out of their misery very early in the race. In a great result for Tasmanian cycling, Stewart became the first Tasmanian winner since Matt Goss in 2005, beating home Danny Pulbrook and Simon Brown. Fourth over the line was Justin McMullen.
For the trivia minded, Stewart became just the second rider in history to wear the No. 76 saddlecloth to victory, repeating the performance of West Australian Jayden Veljacich in 2006.
Emma Smith, another MVDCC teenage member, won the Women's Latrobe Wheelrace over 2000 m. Smith beat Emma Lawson, Harriet Kossman and Miranda Laidlaw in another win for the middle-to-front markers.
The AJ Clarke and Sons Handicap has always been the major support race for the Latrobe Wheel and yesterday, Victorian Shane Perkins had to pull something extra out of the box in the sprint to the line to beat a trio of internationals, Azizvlhasni Awang, Rizal Tisin and Josiah Ng.
Olympian Glen O'Shea won the A Grade Scratch, holding out Nathan Clarke and the improving Alex Carver.
In speciality races in the UCI supported series, Shane Perkins won the sprint, Josiah Ng the keirin and Belinda Goss took the women's points score. The three rider teams sprint saw the New Zealand combination of Eddy Dawkins, Sam Webster and Regan Smith beat Australia and Malaysia.
The Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals circuit continues on Sunday at the Launceston Silverdome before heading back to the North-West Coast with the two night Devonport Carnival. The ageless Burnie Carnival will again be held on New Year's Day, followed by Hobart on January 4 and St Helens on January 17.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
Sprint 1 Shane Perkins 0.11.32 2 Scott Sunderland 3 Jason Niblett 4 Josiah Nf Keirin 1 Josiah Nf 2 Jason Niblett 3 Azizvlhasni Awang 4` Scott Sunderland Women's points race 1 Belinda Goss 19 pts 2 Kirsty Broun 7 3 Amy Cure 7 4 Tess Dowling 6 Team sprint 1 New Zealand 0.46.45 Eddy Dawkins Sam Webster Regan Smith 2 Australia Shane Perkins Jason Niblett Scott Sunderland 3 Malaysia Edris Yunos Azizvlhasni Awang Rizal Tisin A J Clarke & Sons Wheelrace 1 Shane Perkins 2.13.03 2 Azizvlhasni Awang 3 Rizal Tisin 4 Josiah Ng 3000 M Wheelrace 1 Brandon Stewart 3.16.77 2 Danny Pulbrook 3 Simon Brown 4 Justin McMullen A Grade Scratch 1 Glen O’Shea 2 Nathan Clarke 3 Alex Carver 4 Adrian Hanson B Grade Scratch 1 Luke Ockerby 2 Hamish Wright 3 Andrew Dolan 4 Darren Rodgers C Grade Scratch 1 Samuel Spokes 2 Jeremy Hills 3 Callam Docker 4 David Stallan D Grade Scratch 1 Joel Stearnes 2 Grant Law 3 Simon Brown 4 David Cripps E Grade Scratch 1 Darrell Galpin 2 Jason Bounday 3 Glen Myler 4 Roy Martin Elimination 1 Duane Johansen 2 Glen O’Shea 3 Nathan Clarke 4 Jame Carney Women 1000 M Handicap 1 Fateha Mustapa 2 Holly Williams 3 Janelle Smith 4 Harriet Kossman 2000 M Wheelrace 1 Emma Smith 2 Emma Lawson 3 Harriet Kossman 4 Miranda Laidlaw B Grade Scratch 1 Holly Williams 2 Emma Smith 3 Harriet Kossman 4 Kate Depaoli C Grade Scratch 1 Emma Lawson 2 Bethany Coleman 3 Miranda Laidlaw U17 2000 M Wheelrace 1 Luke Zaccaria 2 R Sanders 3 Trent Derecourt 4 Joshua Apolony Scratch 1 Mitchell Benson 2 Jack Cummings 3 Trent Derecourt 4 R Sanders U15 2000 M Wheelrace 1 Ethan Williams 2 Nathan Hinkley 3 Andrew Hinkley 4 Lauren Perry Scratch 1 Michael Docker 2 Nathan Hinkley 3 Theodore Yates 4 Calum Munro U13 1000 M Wheelrace 1 Elloize Galpin 2 Jessica Marshall 3 James Chynoweth Scratch 1 Braydon Bennett 2 James Robinson 3 Rachel Loft 4 Ronin Munro