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Tasmania, December 26, 2005 - January 1, 2006

Burnie Carnival - January 1, 2006

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Women's races

By Anthony Tan in Burnie

McDonalds Burnie Ladies A Scratch Race, 3000m

Sarah Eaves
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image) Sarah Eaves  wins the women's B Grade scratch race at Burnie.

A smaller than usual field contested the women's A grade scratch race. With dominant scratch rider of the Tassie Carnivals, Jessica Berry, on her way back home to Bendigo, it was time for a new face and a new race.

The atypically contoured track combined with a tight field saw the few breakaway attempts shut down within seconds, setting the stage for a bunch sprint on the bell lap. And as the headwind turned on its tail around the back straight with 200 metres to go, self-confessed speed machine Laura McCaughey hit out hard, doing enough to put another feather in the cap for the Launceston City Cycle Club, the 24 year-old holding off Kate Cullen and Tiffany Cromwell for the win.

"There were a few efforts, probably two or three attacks, but it is pretty windy. Where I hit out, the wind is behind you and it's a downhill," Cromwell explained, adding, "it's a funny track, so going downhill also helps whoever's got the speed. When I hit the wind, I thought, 'Oh, bugger!', but I was okay in the end."

The smiling blonde (invariably a lethal combination, particularly among males...) said she was all ready to go yesterday and felt a bit sluggish this morning, but a few turns at the front woke up her legs. "I tried to do some work myself; I'm more of a sprinter, but I don't like people that sit in!" she said with a grin, making one think she enjoys seeing her opponents in the hurt bag.

Asked if it was one event she was gunning for, Cromwell replied: "It's always good to win. I need to buy a new bike and get to nationals somehow, so I need all the money I can get!" A typical up-and-coming rider's conundrum: balancing training, racing, work and a social life.

Said Cromwell about her prospects for the rest of the day, "I don't know if I'll be entering the points score today, because I don't have a lot of endurance and I'm meant to be a speed machine, so I don't know... I'll see how I go."

Subway Ladies A Grade Points Score, 12 laps

Jessica McLean
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image) Jessica McLean  from the Australian Capital Territory into the wind during the women's A Grade points score.

Well, scratch race winner Laura McCaughey did end up riding the points race, but after winning the first sprint at nine laps to go, the Launceston unexpectedly pulled out of the race, most likely saving herself for sprint events later in the day.

Shortly before the race's midway point, Jessie McLean decided to take her chances and quickly built a quarter-lap lead on her own - significant on a track almost half a kilometre long. "We were really hoping for a tough race, and the wind makes it a lot harder," she said. "A lot of the girls did pull out, so I loved the wind - it made it a lot harder for everybody!

"My legs have been feeling the week of racing, but so have everybody's, so when it's hard for me, sometimes it's good to hurt yourself so much more [in front], because at least you're in control of the pain and not somebody else," McLean said with a devilish smile. TIS/Cyclingnews' Grace Sulzberger hesitated before going after her, also flying solo, which is the way things stayed with three laps remaining, McLean enjoying a four-point advantage over Sulzberger and Tiffany Cromwell.

By the bell lap, Sulzberger and Cromwell had bridged to McLean with the former attacking at the top of the back straight to cross the line first - but by then, it was too little, too late... McLean's 20 year-old legs had given her the race, and a very welcome win indeed. Sulzberger finished second on points, with Kate Cullen's consistency placing her in third.

"I felt good on the rollers when I first got on, but after the scratch race I didn't feel so good - sometimes it takes me a while to warm up," said the clearly delighted winner. "I'm really happy, because I finished on a really good note. Some of the girls and I worked well together to get up there - Grace Sulzberger and Tiffany Cromwell - so the race pretty much panned out perfectly for us.

McLean, who rides for the ACT Academy of Sport, believes her future lies on the road, but being so young, she says she doesn't have the strength to match it with the best women road riders. "I'll concentrate on the track until I built up a bit more strength," she said.

Serena Lodge Alpacas Ladies' Wheel Race, 2000m

Karissa Ling
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image) Karissa Ling  won't have far to carry her trophy home, being from Burnie.

With the two heats cancelled due to a reduced field and rolled into a one-off final, the women's wheel race riders were fresh and fidgety - and it showed. Right from the get-go, the entire field took off like bats out of hell, and throughout the four-and-a-half lap race, a lack of firepower at the rear worked in the front-markers' favour.

With things as they were, the ladies' wheel was won by 230 metre girl Karissa Ling, with Sarah Cure taking second (180m) and previous A grade scratch winner Laura McCaughey (off scratch) third, getting herself that much closer to the nationals and a new bike.

"Pretty much when the bell went, I thought, 'I better get out of [the saddle]', but to hold it all the way to finish, it was a bit of a surprise to win here," said Ling, looking a little caught-out with all the attention. The 14 year-old victor - the day's second major prizewinner from Burnie - added her legs were feeling good in her warm-up, mentioning not having to ride a qualification race made the arduous conditions more bearable.

In fact, like her older Burnie club-mate and Top of The Town Pharmacy Handicap winner Aaron Jones, Ling appeared undaunted with who she was up against, adopting very much a 'Just do it' mentality to secure her place on the top of the podium. That plug will cost you 1,000 dollars, thanks Nike...


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com


Event 32: Corporate Express Ladies B Grade Scratch Race, 3000m
1 Sarah Eaves                               4.35.09
2 Karissa Ling
3 Adele Gee
Event 33: McDonalds Burnie Ladies A Grade Scratch Race, 3000m
1 Laura McCaughey                           4.14.32
2 Kate Cullen
3 Grace Sulzberger
4 Tiffany Cromwell
Event 40: Contel Ladies B Grade Points Score, 12 laps
1 Karissa Ling
2 Kate Warren
3 Emma Smith
Event 44: Subway Ladies A Grade Points Score, 12 laps
1 Jessie McLean                                  13 pts
2 Grace Sulzberger                               11
3 Kate Cullen                                    10
Event 113: Serena Lodge Alpacas Ladies' Wheel Race, 2000m - Final
1 Karissa Ling
2 Sarah Cure
3 Laura McCaughey
Complete results