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Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals
Tasmania, December 26, 2005 - January 1, 2006
Devonport Carnival, December 29-30 - Day 2
By Les Clarke & Anthony Tan in Devonport
After a tough day yesterday which saw him finish the night without a win, Matt Goss lined up for the men's handicap final off scratch with Victorian Nathan Clarke. The duo worked well together, bringing it together with two laps remaining.
From there the pace slowed, riders watching for any attacks in a setup that was bound to end in a bunch sprint. Pushing hard with 1.5 laps remaining, ACT rider John Forrest led the field going into the final lap, with Goss sitting comfortably in fourth wheel.
Heading into the second-last bend, Goss decided it was time to turn on the afterburners, using his 'endurance kick' to shake the frontrunners and take a strong win ahead of fellow Tasmanian Bernard Sulzberger and scratchman Nathan Clarke. Following the race Goss was happy with a win after slim pickings in yesterday's first leg of the Devonport carnival. "It was good to get a win today; yet again we didn't think we were going to get up because it was an 80 metre gap to the next rider with no one in between myself and Nathan Clarke," he said.
"The frontmarkers all sat up and looked at each other, and it came together, so we got on the back and picked up an easier ride," he continued. Goss looked in good form both in the heats and the final, and hoped to carry those good legs into the wheel race later in the evening. "The 3000 metres will suit us more - the back markers should make it easier to get in the final, and from there we should have a good crack at the win," he said.
C.J. Broun P/L A Grade Women's Scratch Race
Backing up last night's victory in the Women's A Grade Scratch Race with another at Devonport, 23 year-old Victorian Jessica Berry has proven herself one of the in-form riders at the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals. This time, however, the rider from Bendigo positioned herself perfectly coming into the bell lap, and used her finishing speed to pip Peta Mullens and Laura McCaughey at the line for her third scratch race win in four attempts.
"It was a bit of funny race; I didn't want to break away or sprint too early tonight - I wanted to stay in the bunch and see how I went for the sprint," explained Berry. "I didn't have any plans for the race; just to be up the front on the bell lap, because I was at the back last night.
"I had third wheel coming into the bell lap. One of the girls [Peta Mullens] took off and I had to go - I thought she had me but I just got her on the line," she said with a satisfied grin.
Asked if she sensed frustration among the TIS/Cyclingnews pair of Belinda Goss and Grace Sulzberger, the pair once again trying to break things up without result, Berry acknowledged Goss' tactics were atypical. "Yeah - usually she sits in because she's a sprinter, but the last couple of races she's tried to break away and it hasn't really worked. The races really haven't gone her way," she said.
Berry said her eyes are now on the national track championships one month from now. But before that, she'd really like to win the pointscore on Sunday in Burnie. "I want to do well at the nationals in the pointscore and scratch [races] - if I could beat Belinda Goss in the pointscore, it'd be good mentally."
Men's miss and out
Sebastian Donadio was a happy winner of the men's miss and out race, beating Darren Young and Simon Clarke in the three-up sprint to the line after the rest of the field was eliminated. American Jame Carney was fifth rider to go, but not happily, as he believed he wasn't the last rider in the pack past the line.
But it was the Argentinean rider who took a popular win, the first for the South American duo at this year's carnivals, and although his English may be a little sketchy, the big smile told the story, with plenty of high-fives from the crowd.
With a field of six fastmen - Scott Sunderland, Daniel Ellis, Todd Wilksch, Ben Kersten, Anthony Peden and Joel Leonard - the sprint derby offered a chance for the fastest riders to put on a show, which they did. For 2.5 laps, riders watched, blocked and shouldered each other at snail's pace, allowing the crowd to get a better look at them in action.
A move was bound to come sooner or later, and with 1.5 laps remaining Aussie-Kiwi Anthony Peden went hard for home, the field failing to respond for the remainder of the race, and it was Peden who took the win in emphatic fashion. Ben Kersten beat the rest of the field home for second, with Joel Leonard third and Todd Wilksch fourth.
After his solo effort, Peden was amazed, saying, "I've never done 750 [metres] in my life!" "I put a 96 [inch gear] on and just tried to make a decisive move," he said. Peden is in Tasmania to run himself into form for New Zealand Commonwealth Games squad selection, and is confident he'll be able to make the times needed to qualify for the team. "I'm not in my best form coming into these carnivals due to other commitments, but with the first qualifying runs for New Zealand selection five weeks away, I reckon I can give it a good nudge," he said.
Women's wheel race
Launceston rider Laura McCaughey started the local double in the Devonport wheel races with a win in the CJ Broun women's wheel race. Riding off scratch with TIS rider Belinda Goss, McCaughey had to rely on her powerful sprint to come around the outside of the bunch to take what was eventually a comfortable win ahead of Kate Cullen and Goss.
After a week of upsets by the frontmarkers, the race looked as though it may yet again go to an outside chance with two laps remaining. Two distinct groups had formed as the backmarkers appeared to be lacking organisation and their chances seemed to be slipping away. It wasn't until a few big individual efforts by Goss and Jessica Berry which were followed by the rest of the backmarkers that they were able to bridge the gap, making contact with the main field over the final bend.
From that point on it was anybody's race, and an audacious surge from McCaughey around the outside got her into the ideal position to power to the line for the win - the move may well have caught the eye of the TIS staff, with McCaughey a part of their target squad. But she wasn't looking too far past the night's win, the 24-year-olod buoyant after her great sprint. "I didn't think I was going to get out to start with," she said. "But once I got there I thought 'you've definitely got the speed to just go for it' - that's what I train for!" McCaughey is relatively new to cycling, having only started in 2004, and the win is a huge boost for this super-enthusiastic local rider.
"I've just started doing two-up sprints and I love it," said McCaughey, before adding that she needed the speed because "There's been a bit of disagreement at the back," during races this week, something that was evident in the night's big women's race, which almost ended with another frontmarker getting up for the win. But McCaughey isn't too worried about that particular phenomenon, saying, "It's great, they're my mates - bring it on!"
Devonport wheel race
It was a coming of age for 18-year-old local rider Jarrod Harman, taking a thrilling win in the Devonport wheel race. Riding off a mark of 195 metres, Harman was able to hold off a fast-charging Nathan Clarke, who has enjoyed strong form during this year's carnivals, for a popular win on home turf ahead of Clarke and another local rider, Gareth Atkins.
With Matt Goss, Clarke and Todd Wilksch off scratch, and Leigh Howard riding off 30 metres, the middle and frontmarkers were up against a tight wall of speed in the six-lap dash. The pace was high from the gun, with the frontmarkers caught by the middle men after two laps, and after some extremely hard work from TIS rider Goss, both he and Clarke made contact with the main bunch with 2.5 laps remaining.
American rider Bobby Lea, who has had a lean run at this year's carnivals, led the field going into the final lap, and along the back straight it was a tough fight finding the right position to attack the final bend. Clarke put himself close to the outside and hit the last corner hard, giving it everything to catch Harman, who had also decided the night's big race could be his. From there it was an exciting drag race to the finish, Harman holding on for dear life and the $4,500 first-place purse.
With the crowd on their feet cheering the young rider on, Harman crossed the line just ahead of Clarke, who had ridden an intelligent, strong win to just miss out on the big prize. With tears in his eyes, the Devonport rider was greeted on the track by his parents, coach and a host of local media, all eager to see the latest prodigy from the Apple Isle. "I saw someone coming behind me," said Harman, "And I thought 'just go that bit harder, just kick one more time - hold on a few more metres."
"It's definitely the best win of my career; I'm just stoked with the victory," said Harman amongst the scrum that had formed following his win. "There was a really strong group of guys in the middle group - I was really pleased to hold off the scratchies," he continued, before adding, "We knew they were coming really quickly because you could hear parts of what the commentator was saying; the few guys who were on the front just picked it up and it brought me to the victory."
Harman is looking ahead to bigger things, hoping that this win could help him get a start in next year's Herald Sun Tour and the Queensland Tour, if it's held in 2006. "I just want to get a start in some big races before I head to Europe in a few year's time," he said.
Men's A Grade scratch race
After the excitement of the Devonport wheel race, the men's A Grade scratch offered more excitement and another win for Ben Kersten. After narrowly avoiding serious injury in the heats off the Devonport wheel race, Kersten used his excellent finishing ability to hold off Todd Wilksch and Joel Leonard for a $300 first prize.
Just like the previous night's A Grade scratch race, TIS rider Mark Jamieson went off the front over the first lap, and with Argentinean Sebastian Donadio in second wheel the duo attempted a brazen early move. It wasn't to be as the par were caught after two laps and it all came together again. The leading riders were pulling through for smooth turns, the work shared amongst most of the field, and with 10 laps remaining Jamieson went ahead again, this time with American Bobby Lea. They were pursued by a group of four, including endurance riders Christian Lademann and Evan Oliphant.
The field came together again with eight laps remaining before Sebastian Cancio and Simon Clarke worked together off the front for a lap before Clarke fell off the pace and Cancio was caught with five laps to go. Jamieson was working hard in the pack, and with three laps remaining a group of three riders, with Matt Goss driving them hard, broke away for a brief spell at the front. With two laps remaining the field regrouped, with Tim Decker attacking on the bell lap and Jame Carney following the Victorian's lead.
With Ben Kersten in third wheel heading down the back straight, he fired to the front going round the final bend and that's where he stayed, taking the win ahead of Wilksch and Leonard, who both enjoyed slim pickings during the second night of Devonport. Following the race Kersten said, "It's good to finally be able to unleash," referring in part to his comeback from a recent back injury. "There aren't many speed races in the carnivals, so it was good to have a crack," he added.
After missing out on a place in the wheel race final, Kersten wasn't happy about being caught amongst an accident during the heats. "It was ridiculous," he said. "The guys at the front throw hooks and don't realise that it's 30 deep behind them." It was some excellent evasive action that saw Kersten escape injury, forced to ride to the finish "with one leg."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
Event 20: Motors Devonport Invitation Flying Furlong Record Attempts 1 Ben Kersten 11.08 2 Joel Leonard 11.27 3 Jon Norfolk 11.29 4 Daniel Ellis 11.47 5 Scott Sunderland 11.65 6 Anthony Peden 12.09 Event 29: Synectic Wealth Solutions Handicap, 4 laps/2000m - Final 1 Matthew Goss (Scr) 2.21.31 2 Bernard Sulzberger (90) 3 James Langdyk (100) Event 31: C.J. Broun P/L A Grade Women's Scratch Race, 8 laps 1 Jessica Berry 5.15.70 2 Peta Mullens 3 Laura McCaughey Event 40: Motors Devonport Invitation Cycling Miss and Out 1 Sebastian Donadio 2 Darren Young 3 Simon Clarke 4 Stephen Rossendell Event 49: Motors Devonport Invitation Cycling Sprint Derby, 4 laps 1 Anthony Peden 14.60 2 Ben Kersten 3 Joel Leonard Event 58: C.J. Broun P/L Women's Wheelrace, 2000m/4 laps - Final 1 Laura McCaughey 2.32.84 2 Kate Cullen 3 Belinda Goss Event 64: Matthews Constructions Devonport Wheelrace, 3000m/6 laps - Final 1 Jarrod Harman 2 Nathan Clarke 3 Gareth Atkins Event 66: Derico Cycles A Grade Scratch Race 1 Ben Kersten 9.58.61 2 Todd Wilksch 3 Joel Leonard