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Launceston Carnival - December 28, 2008

Malaysian Olympian takes Tassie glory

By Rod Morris

Rizal Tisin (left in black) from Malaysia
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Malaysian Olympian Rizal Tisin justified the interest shown in him by organisers of the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals when he captured the Launceston Carnival held on the indoor Silverdome velodrome. The 24 year-old, riding from a 70 metre handicap for the 2000 metre final, defeated emerging Ulverstone junior Luke Ockerby (90m) and 2006 Launceston Wheel champion Ben Grenda (90m).

Scratchman Glenn O'Shea from Victoria flashed home for fourth, but could not get around the trio of riders in front of him over the closing stages.

Earlier this year Tisin represented Malaysia at the Beijing Olympic Games where he and teammates, Azizulhasni Awang and Josiah Ng were knockout by France in the opening round of the team's sprint. Malaysia had finished seventh overall. Earlier in the year at the UCI World Track Championships in Manchester, England, Tisin finished fifth in the one kilometre time trial.

The Launceston Wheelrace featured six qualifying heats and Tisin was the last of those to advance to the final. In his heat, Tisin captured the imagination of everyone trackside with a classy win over Grenda, local Launceston rider Clay Murfett (120m) and the luckless Tom Robinson, who just missed a finals berth.

Other heat winners included O'Shea, Ockerby, Australian Olympian Mark Jamieson (scratch), Jonathon Dunlop (120m) and Peter Loft (120m).

Joining O'Shea and Jamieson on scratch in the final was popular Tasmanian Nathan Clarke, who finished second in his heat behind Jamieson.

American carnival regular Jame Carney
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Former scratchman Jame Carney from USA has returned for another assault on the Tasmanian Carnivals, but handicapper Gareth Atkins has lifted the dual Olympian out to 50m over 2000m. Carney qualified for the final through the fourth heat and is in obvious good form after also qualifying for the Latrobe Wheel final on Boxing Day.

Once the field of 18 finalists had been determined, word from knowledgeable tracksiders leaned towards Clay Murfett, Ben Grenda, Victorian Adrian Hanson and Luke Ockerby as the new champion. But they underestimated the sprinting ability of Tisin, who is a rider of pure class...and speed.

Tisin had finished third in the AJ Clarke & Sons Handicap, the main support race to the Latrobe Wheelrace on Boxing Day, while his teammates Edris Yunos and Azizulhasni Awang were beaten into third place in the tri-country team's sprint against New Zealand and Australia.

Shane Perkins salutes the crowd
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

At Launceston Tisin was replaced by Junaldi Nasir, while Josiah Ng came in at the expense of Yunos and the team improved its rating to second behind the Aussie trio of Scott Sunderland, Shane Perkins and Jason Niblett.

Awang - who was second in the AJ Clarke two days prior - won the Launceston Lightning Handicap over 1000m, while scratch race winners included Glenn O'Shea, Peter Loft, Jeremy Hills, Joel Stearnes and Dean Benedetti. O'Shea continued that winning form into the A Grade elimination final.

The Women's Launceston Wheelrace produced yet another classy winner in Harriet Kossman, riding from a 130m handicap. Kossman held off the challenge from Janelle Smith (140m) and Miranda Laidlaw (150m).

The women's Wheelrace podium (L-R):
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Ace Victorian Shane Perkins is proving to be the best sprinter at the carnivals, winning his second consecutive race in the UCI Series. He beat Scott Sunderland and Jason Niblett on Boxing Day and at Launceston on Sunday night he relegated Azizulhasni Awang and Sunderland to the minor placings.

Malaysian sprinting specialist Fatehah Mustapa (19) showed her versatility by winning the women's A Grade Scratch and finishing fourth in the points score.

Junior cycling also has a strong presence at the Launceston Carnival and wheelrace winners included Mitchell Benson (Under 17), Nathan Hinkley (Under 15) and Riley Hart (Under 13).

Victorian Jackson Law, younger brother of 2007 Latrobe Wheelrace winner Scott Law, was second to Benson in the Launceston Wheelrace, but won the 1000 m Lightning Handicap and both A Grade Scratch races in his age group.

The Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals continues over the next two nights in Devonport Carnival before the time honoured Burnie New Year's Carnival and then the Hobart on Sunday and St Helens on January 17.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com


Launceston Men's Wheelrace

1 Rizal Tisin (Malaysia)
2 Luke Ockerby (Tasmania)
3 Ben Grenda (Tasmania)

Launceston Women's Wheelrace

1 Harriet Kossman (Tasmania)
2 Janelle Smith (Tasmania)
3 Miranda Laidlaw (Victoria)