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Tasmania, December 26, 2004 - January 1, 2005

Burnie Carnival - January 1, 2005

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Brown rides the wind to win

By John Stevenson in Burnie

In the final of the men's 2000m handicap the wind made life hard for most of the midfield allowing the strong back group of Graeme Brown, Nathan Clarke, Todd Wilksch, and Matthew Goss to quickly get on terms. Lurking in the midfield was the winner of the previous night's criterium Karl Menzies, and as the scratchmen came through into the last lap, Menzies moved to the front, leading Graeme Brown toward the line. Brown moved out and kicked to howl past Menzies in the final turn and win by a bike length.

After a carnival series that has been a bit short on victories by his usual standards, Brown was happy to land the win. "It's been a while," he said. "It was pretty tough out there as well. The wind's heavy."

Brown agreed that conditions were favouring the scratchmen in the longer races. "It's a definite advantage for us," he said of the wind. "We're at the back because we're the stronger riders and the weaker riders are at the front so the harder the conditions the better chance we've got of getting up. We know we can make the ground up in the wind so the hardest turn for us has to be into the wind."

Brown said he has been "pretty happy" with the way he's been riding in these carnivals. He hasn't seemed to have quite the final kick he displayed last year, and he certainly had no answer to Ben Kersten whenever he came up against the Wollongong whirlwind in the last few days. But with Kersten back in New South Wales for his brother's wedding, Brown now has his chance. "I'm not going as well as last year," he said, "but I'm still winning races so that's a bonus. I'd say I was a month behind in my preparation for the year. To still win races and be a month behind, I'm very happy."

Brown's next target for the day was the Burnie Wheel, worth a tidy $3,500 for the winner. How did he think that'd go? "Hopefully I'll win," he said with a grin.

2000m handicap heats

from the first heat of the 2000m it was obvious that the wind was going to be a big factor this afternoon as the strong group of backmarkers, Jame Carney, Nathan Clarke, and Todd Wilksch, plus grant Irwin (50m) and gareth Atkins (60m) was clearly better organised wen it came to handling the win in the finish straight and first turn. As the main field came into the block headwind blowing down the finish they spread out and slowed while the back makers maintained their pace better.

In heat two Mark Jamieson, Matt Goss and Bobby Lea picked up Michael Fod for a strong chase. The midfield looked scrappy but the backies were quickly running out of time. They made contact at the bell and Goss went through and round. Goss picked up Karl Menzies and with Wes Sulzberger it was a TIS finish line.

Graeme Brown and Christian Lademann caught Brad Payne and Koji Youshii in heat three and the chase was on. But it took them a while to get there - would they be able to close? Lademann dropped off and Brown dragged across the gap with Payne on his wheel. Payne and Brown led at the bell and stayed there for the entire last lap.

The backmarkers took a while to get organised in heat four and their hesitation was all it took to give victory to the middlemarkers. Cameron Wise saw the backies coming, led by Ashley Hutchinson, and turned on the afterburners at the front of the field, taking eventual winner Tim Walker with him and preventing Darren Young from getting up despite Hutchinson delivering him to the pack.

A flash of Friedman

Mike Friedman won the first of the day's handicaps, the 1000m Lightning Handicap, after none of the scratchmen managed to get up. Riding off 20, Friedman powered to catch the midfield then hitched a ride on the powerful surge of Karl Menzies before nipping smartly round the field in the final 150 to punch the air as he won.

Kierin to Wilksch

Todd Wilksch won the keirin with a well-timed final surge. Jame carney led the group after they peeled off the bike, with Mike Friedman riding shotgun. Ashley Hutchinson came round and tried to have a go, as they peeled off but Carney led at the bell and it was on for the serious sprinters. Bobby Lea moved up to try and protect Carney, but Wilksch had other ideas and powered round Carney with Darren Young on his wheel.

Young looked to have run out of time and space as he came up on Wilksch and the Victorian made the win look comfortable.

Wilksch wins again

Todd Wilksch holds off Graeme Brown
Photo ©: Shane Goss
Click for larger image

Todd Wilksch also ended the day with a sprint victory as he took out his second A Grade scratch race in as many days. Graeme Brown was second and in the process took out the Malaysia Airlines Rider of the Series award by a point over Belinda Goss.

The A Grade scratch began as the usual high-speed procession, livened up by an attack after a few laps by Mike Friedman, and then at 19 to go by Darren Young. But things started to get interesting with ten laps to go as Graeme Brown jumped away, taking with him Gareth Atkins and Christian Lademann (who, incidentally, has been riding these carnivals with a broken rib sustained in a crash back home in Germany).

Koji Youshii, Stephen Rossendell and Matt Goss chased and caught the breakaway trio but soon after Ashley Hutchinson attempted to bridge and brought the field up with him. Michael Ford took the sprint prime at five to go and Lademann and Brown once again attacked. The trio of Geards Cycles riders, Nathan Clarke, Gareth Atkins and Daniel Cutting took the front to try and get one for the other local squad. Wilksch and Brown slotted in behind them.

At the bell the Geards trio still led, but Wilksch came round them in the last lap, bringing Brown with him. Wilksch was too fast for Brown, who only needed second place anyway, and Wilsch landed another win.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com


2000m handicap final
1 Graeme Brown
2 Karl Menzies
3 Bradley Payne
Lightning handicap final
1 Mike Freidman
2 Grant Fraser
3 John Forrest
4 Carlo Barandello
Keirin final
1 Todd Wilksch
2 Darren Young
3 Ben Price
4 Koji Youshii
A Grade scratch
1 Todd Wilksch
2 Graeme Brown
3 Ben Price
4 Matthew Goss
Complete results