Results and Reports for January 26-27, 2002


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Wangaratta Wheelrace

Wangaratta, Victoria, January 27, 2002

Rix wins rejuvenated Wangaratta Wheel

By Barry McNaught

Wangaratta Wheelrace Winner Andrew Rix brought a refreshing new approach to the 74th staging of the big event. The first major track Carnival in Victoria after the Christmas / New Year circuits in Victoria and Tasmania, Wangaratta has had difficulty in the last few years, living in the shadow of a revamped summer road season. Many Clubs have turned to twilight criterium racing in the traditional Track Season. Those who have resisted have strong track representation. Andrew Rix' Club, Bendigo races track each Thursday night, averaging 100 competitors from novices thru the age groups to Seniors.

Wangaratta opted to drop back to a day / night Carnival of Athletics and Cycling, with all Woodchopping now in their own arena. Warm, still conditions prevailed, with the under 15's starting at 12.30pm. Under 11's and under 13's raced in the tea break. All Juniors were guaranteed three rides, all Seniors five rides. Certainly a trump card when compared to many current Carnivals.

Ryan Bailey made a welcome return to Wangaratta, this time as the World Keirin Champ. Surprisingly he did not wear his Championship shirt at all. Nor did Junior World Champ Mark French, was having his first ride at the Carnival. Neither did very well. Bailey (scr) managed to set up his bunch of backmarkers in his heat, then from that effort, he tired in the straight. Five went thru from the first round of three heats, then four from two heats in the second round. Bailey had a 50m gap to bridge, he managed that reasonably quickly, but then again wilted at the 200m mark.

In the Final, the three veterans on the front, Terry Lemon, Glen Bush and Greg Featonby, were quickly gathered in by the well organised middle group. Rix Club mates, former Austral winner Terry Schintler, Andrew Swatton and his coach and fellow competitor Tim Decker, had these riders flying and even a lap and a half from home, 750m on this big track, it was evident the backmarkers, led by last year's winner Shaun Collins, did not have a chance. Brunswick rider Laurie Noonan fell near the 200m mark. He was toward the back of the sprinting riders. Thankfully no one else came down and it did not effect the results in any way. On the home turn, Rix stormed to the front and faced one last challenge, as Wagga Wagga veteran Bill Robertson got to his hip. Strong pedalling in the straight, saw Rix a bike length in front on the line.

The tall strongly built 17 year old took up cycling two years ago. He gave basketball away, as his shoulder kept popping out. His winners cheque $1,500. Earlier in the evening Robertson had already been on the podium for his 1,000m handicap win. The Keirin looked to be in the keeping of last year's Wheelrace winner, Shaun Collins. He lifted both hands to the sky 10m from the line, only to have a grinning Todd Wilksch, last year's Keirin winner, repeat the dose. Ryan Bailey, on a different bike to last year, did not appear to be handling the home turn on this flatter track at all well.

The night finished at 10pm, former dual World Junior Track Champ Andrew Mason, elated with his strong ride to win the Sid Patterson Memorial 10kms scratch race. Only six of the sixteen starters finished.


Wangaratta Wheelrace 2,000m
1 Andrew Rix (Bendigo) (160)              2.06.25
2 Bill Robertson (Wagga) (140) 
3 Andrew Swatton (Bendigo) (120) 
4 Matthew Heath (Footscray) (80)
5 David Tanner (Shepparton) (95) 
6 Ray Jarrett (Brentwood Cobram) (190)
Other Finalists
Shaun Collins (Carnegie-Caulfield) (20)  
Todd Wilksch (Horsham) (20)  
Mark French (Carnegie-Caulfield) (30)  
Robert Wilson (Footscray) (30)  
Joel Leonard (Footscray) (40)  
Kouji Yoshi (Japan) (50)  
Tim Decker (Bendigo) (50)  
Shaun Finning (Castlemaine) (80)  
Peter Herrewyn (Geelong West) (110)  
David Browne (Fort Knox) (130)  
Laurie Noonan (Bruswick) (155) ( Fell )  
Luke French (Carnegie-Caulfield) (160)  
Terry Schintler (Bendigo) (165)  
Scott Keating (Stawell-Great Western) (165)  
Greg Featonby (Lavington Panthers Sports Club) (220)  
Glen Bush  (Shepparton) (230)  
Terry Lemon (Broadford-Seymour) (230)
1,000m Handicap 
1 Bill Robertson (Wagga) (75)             1.03.18
2 Laurie Noonan (Bruswick) (75)
3 Luke French (Carnegie-Caulfield) (80)  
4 Glen Bush (Shepparton) (115)  
5 Ray Jarrett (Brentwood Cobram) (z)
1 Todd Wilksch (Horsham)                    11.00 (Last 200m)
2 Shaun Collins (Carnegie-Caulfield)  
3 Ryan Bailey (W.A.),
4 Mark French (Carnegie-Caulfield)
Sid Patterson Memorial 10kms Aces Scratch Race
1 Andrew Mason (Bendigo)                 12.09.34
2 Matthew Heath (Footscray)
3 Todd Wilksch (Horsham)
4 David Tanner (Shepparton)

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