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Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals

Tasmania, December 26, 2004 - January 1, 2005

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Launceston Carnival - December 28

Launceston tough for back-markers

By Rod Morris

Newly crowned Latrobe Wheel champion Nathan Clarke won't find things as easy in trying to win the Praties Launceston Wheel at the Silverdome on Tuesday December 28. Clarke (26) won the Latrobe Wheel in a controversial finish from dual Olympic gold medalist Graeme Brown and dual under 19 world track champion Matthew Goss on Boxing Day. But the Basslink Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals Series now turns to Launceston with the 20th annual Silverdome Carnival. Sixty-eight events are included on the programme, which starts at 12.30 p.m. and runs through till the 60-lap A Grade Scratch, which is scheduled to start at 10.05 p.m.

The highlight race will be the $3950 Praties Launceston Wheel. Four heats will determine the 16 finalists with defending champion, Matthew Goss listed to ride from 40m in the third heat. Goss will start just in front of three scratchmen, Jame Carney, Todd Wilksch and Christian Lademann and his best form of attack may well be to wait for the backies and tack on to their train. However the Launceston Wheel has a history of middle or front markers bobbing up to win and on his home track, 17-year-old Launceston rider Will Robinson has emerged as the slender favourite to win on his home track. Peering into the crystal ball, the Praties Launceston Wheelrace looks likethis:

Heat one has a strong group of middle markers, including Kaidan Homan, winner of the C Grade Scratch at Latrobe. Homan will ride from 140 m and will have John Rayner, Grant Fraser, Andrew Swatton and Jason Bellchambers alongside him at the start. No scratchmen here, but Gareth Atkins and Japan's Kouji Yoshi will start at the back on 60 m. Prediction: 1 Kaidan Homan; 2 Grant Fraser; 3 Gareth Atkins; 4 Takashi Kawamaru.

In heat two four scratchmen should be able to make life difficult for the frontmarkers, although in the middle, Cameron Wise (130 m) and Will Robinson (150) look dangerous. Latrobe Wheel winner Nathan Clarke and reigning Devonport Wheel champion Mark Jamieson could edge out the middle marker selections. Prediction: 1 Darren Young; 2 Stephen Rossendell; 3 Cameron Wise; 4 Will Robinson.

Heat three has only a small field of 14 starters, including three scratchmen Jame Carney, Christian Lademann and Todd Wilksch, but I like the middle group, including John Forrest (150 m) and Tim Walker (140 m). Matthew Goss (40 m) will be keen to defend his 2003 Launceston Wheel title. Prediction: 1 John Forrest; 2 Tim Walker; 3 Matthew Goss; 4 Grant Irwin.

Heat four will see noted track quicks Ben Kersten and Graeme Brown joined on scratch by Ashley Hutchinson, but I'm predicting only two will qualify. In the middle, Ben Price (100 m), West Australian Carlo Barandello (100) and Paralympian Jiri Jezek (140) should cause some headaches. Prediction: 1 Ben Price; 2 Carlo Barandello; 3 Ben Kersten; 4 Graeme Brown.

Predicted field for the final: Ben Kersten (scr); Graeme Brown (scr); Darren Young (scr); Stephen Rossendell (scr); Matthew Goss (40); Grant Irwin (50); Gareth Atkins (60); Takashi Kawamaru (70); Ben Price (100); Carlo Barandello (100); Cameron Wise (130); Kaidan Homan (140); Grant Fraser (140); Tim Walker (140); Will Robinson (150); John Forrest (150)

Four scratchmen are tipped to make the final and they should see plenty of little chases along the way, with Goss, Irwin, Atkins and Kawamaru forming the second chasing group. Out in front, Will Robinson on his home track looks a good each-way bet, with Kaidan Homan and Cameron Wise moving well enough to snatch a minor placing. Scratchmen haven't enjoyed a great history of the Launceston Wheel since the event moved to the Silverdome in 1985. Previous backmarkers to have won include Danny Clark (1986), Stephen Pate (1994) and Brett Aitken (1996). Don't expect things to improve for the scratchmen tonight.

Final result prediction: 1 Will Robinson; 2 Cameron Wise; 3 Graeme Brown.

Launceston Wheelrace, 2000m handicaps

Heat 1
16 Kouji Yoshi (60)
17 Gareth Atkins (60)
20 Takashi Kawamura (70)
23 Gui Nelesson (80)
31 Jason Bellchambers (140)
33 Andrew Swatton (140)
34 Kaiden Homan (140)
37 John Rayner (140)
38 Grant Fraser (140)
45 Peter Smith (160)
46 Dwayne Smith (160)
47 Aaron Jones (170)
48 Troy Sait (180)
54 Brendan Harris (180)
55 Simon Van der Aa (180)
62 Bradley MacKenzie (220)
Heat 2
5 Nathan Clarke (scr)
6 Mark Jamieson (scr)
7 Darren Young (scr)
8 Stephen Rossendell (scr)
18 Daniel Cutting (60)
19 Josh Kerkhof (60)
27 Daniel Vogels (110)
28 Andrew Loft (120)
29 Cameron Wise (130)
30 Callan Taylor (130)
40 Will Robinson (150)
42 Francis Ransley (150)
56 Carl Holleman (190)
59 Adam Heron (200)
60 Julian Clayton (200)
61 Cullen Dwyer (210)
63 John Franklin (220)
Heat 3
4 Christian Lademann (scr)
9 Todd Wilksch (scr)
11 Matthew Goss (40)
14 Damien Keirl (50)
15 Grant Irwin (50)
32 Tim Walker (140)
39 Justin Tomlinson (150)
41 John Forrest (150)
51 Colin Barnes (180)
52 Ethan Marciano (180)
53 Paul Wilson (180)
64 Thomas McDonagh (220)
65 Ian Morwood (220)
Heat 4
1 Graeme Brown (scr)
2 Shane Kelly (scr)
10 Ashley Hutchinson (scr)
12 Michael Ford (40)
13 Bobby Lea (50)
21 Tommy Nankervis (70)
22 Mike Friedman (70)
24 Ben Price (100)
25 Matthew Atkins (100)
26 Carlo Barandello (100)
35 Jiri Jezek (140)
36 Jarrod Harman (140)
43 Michael Maine (160)
44 Jamie Perry (160)
49 Alex Lyons (180)
50 Ben Laskey (180)
57 Andrew Clapham (190)
58 Trent Deacon (190)