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Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals

Tasmania, December 26, 2004 - January 1, 2005

Devonport Carnival December 29-30

Day 1 results & report    Day 2 results & report   

Goss set to move up to top rank

By Rod "The Great Futuro" Morris

By the end of the opening night of the Devonport Carnival, Launceston rider Matt Goss could well be Australia's newest scratchman, Goss (18), fresh from a stunning victory in Monday night's $20,000 Gunns Launceston Classic Criterium, has been pencilled in as the favourite for the Kym Smoker Memorial Mersey Wheelrace at Devonport.

Goss won the race two years and tonight will ride from 40 m and despite the expected appearance of up to five scratchmen in the final, is tipped to claim a sprint finish. The Smoker Mersey Wheel is named in honour of a former bike rider and long time supporter of the race, who died tragically seven years ago after being knocked from his bike on Queensland's Gold Coast.

This time last year, Hobart's Stephen Rossendell won the Mersey Wheel and it elevated him to the elite scratch mark, Goss will be aiming to do the same. However he faces any amount of dangers, including renowned sprint kings such as Jame Carney and Graeme Brown.

Over 2000 m, the Mersey Wheel has a rich tradition at the Devonport Carnival. Four heats will see the first five riders in each qualify for the final. According to our combination of tea leaves, tarot cards and ouija board, here's how it might unfold.

Heat one: At least one of the three scratchmen in this heat should make it through, if not all of them, as there is a not a real lot of depth out the front. However some of the middle markers have been in good form and if they can produce a solid ride then anything could happen. Kaidan Homan knows this track well and Japanese rider Kouji Yoshi is no stranger here either. Its not a big chase for the backies, but Carney might be the "pea."

Predictions: 1 Kaidan Homan (140); 2 Gui Nelesson (100); 3 Jame Carney (scr); 4 Grant Fraser (140); 5 Kouji Yoshi (60).

Heat two: Scratchman Graeme Brown will be keen to make up for the disappointment - and controversy - of the Latrobe Wheel and expect him to have Tasmanian scratchmen Mark Jamieson and Stephen Rossendell working for him. In-form rider Matt Goss is still a big danger, whilst out the front Cameron Wise and Paralympian Jiri Jezek look formidable.

Predictions: 1 Cameron Wise (130); 2 Jiri Jezek (140); 3 Graeme Brown (scr); 4 Jarrod Harman (140); 5 Matt Goss (40).

Heat three: No scratchmen here, but the backmen, which include Bradley Payne, Gareth Atkins and Bobby Lea should qualify. The dark horses in this heat looks to be Karl Menzies and Adam Hartley.

Predictions: 1 Karl Menzies (90); 2 Adam Hartley (140); 3 Bradley Payne (50); 4 Gareth Atkins (60); 5 Bobby Lea (20).

Heat four: Last chance to get the scratchmen in and with four at the start line and only having to chase 180 m to the outmarker, there shouldn't be a problem of at least three - if not all four - getting in. Local riders Ben Price and Matthew Atkins have 100 m start on the backies and will need to make full use of their handicap.

Predictions: 1 Todd Wilksch (scr); 2 Nathan Clarke (scr); 3 Ben Price (100); 4 Matthew Atkins (100); 5 Christian Lademann (scr).

FINAL: If things go as predicted so far, five scratchmen will face the starter and there will be a further eight riders out to the 100 m mark, which points to a tough time for the "fronties." This should see it come down to the best sprinter in the field and Brown, Carney, Lea, Goss and Payne all have excellent credentials.

Final field: Todd Wilksch (scr), Nathan Clarke (scr), Christian Lademann (scr), Graeme Brown (scr), Jame Carney (scr), Bobby Lea (20), Matt Goss (40), Bradley Payne (50), Gareth Atkins (60), Kouji Yoshi (60), Karl Menzies (90), Ben Price (100), Matthew Atkins (100), Gui Nelesson (100), Cameron Wise (130), Kaidan Homan (140), Grant Fraser (140), Jiri Jezek (140), Jarrod Harman (140), Adam Hartley (140)

Prediction: 1 Matt Goss; 2 Jame Carney; 3 Graeme Brown.

Kym Smoker Memorial 2000 M Wheelrace handicaps