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Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals
Tasmania, December 23, 2006 - January 20, 2007
Burnie Carnival - January 1, 2007
Note: The Burnie Street Criteriums - see full report, results and photos - were held on December 31, 2006.
Tasmanian Walker Wins Burnie Wheel
Fitting finale to Christmas Carnival series
By John Michael Flynn at Burnie in Tasmania
Under-rated Tasmanian cyclist Tim Walker provided one of the highlights of the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals this afternoon, riding to glory as the 2007 winner of the prestigious Bendigo Bank Burnie Wheelrace.
Starting off a mark of 255 metres, the 20-year-old from Launceston, who is better known for his road prowess, called on all of his reserves of strength, to hold out the fast finishing scratch markers in the dash to the finish of the 3000 metre handicap.
It was no mean feat, in an event where the backmarkers included all four of Australia's junior world pursuit champions in Jack Bobridge, Leigh Howard, Cameron and Travis Meyer, along with a two-time winner of the coveted Austral wheelrace in Darren Young, and Tasmanian track champion Nathan Clarke. The six stars of the track worked together as a pursuit team - peeling riders off with each lap, but still weren't able to bridge the gap to the eventual race winner.
"I don't usually count myself as a track rider, to take it out was something special," Walker told Cyclingnews. "I thought we had a really good gap, I heard the commentator say they're coming at us and a few guys are starting to tire out the front, and I thought I've just got to hit out and give it everything I've got."
Prior to this evening's race, Walker had qualified for all but one of the wheelrace finals at the Nationalgrid Christmas Carnival series. His form was improving throughout the week of racing.
"I had a fair old margin, it's going to be a bit shorter now," Walker said. "They're (the scratchmarkers) on scratch for a reason, because they're the best riders in Australia and the world."
It was one of those days when the backmarkers had plenty of firepower, but just didn't get there in the end. With Cameron Meyer and Nathan Clarke on his wheel, Victorian Leigh Howard produced a super effort in the penultimate lap, blowing himself to pieces driving the backmarkers onto the lead group.
"I always give it my all, but that time I gave it that extra little shove, when you've got a bit of money in front of you and a rabbit - those guys up the road - you always go that extra mile," Howard said. "I put a bigger gear on for that, got on top of it pretty well. Full credit to them, they held us off the whole way."
Afer winning two scratch races during the Christmas Carnivals, Howard was hoping for a victory in the final race on the card, the A grade scratch race.
But it was Cameron Meyer prevalied again. Earlier this week, he provided one of the highlights of the christmas carnival series when he lapped the field in a scratch race. It was a race of attrition, with plenty of tired legs struggling to stay on the pace. Meyer took full advantage, as he headed up the road in a two-man move with Daniel Cutting. Meyer was the better of the two in the final sprint, with Nathan Clarke rounding out the minor placings.
Perfect birthday present as Sky-Lee wins women's wheel
After a difficult 2006, punctuated by injury, former Junior World Champion Sky-Lee Armstrong could not have asked for a better way to start 2007 than with a victory in the Burnie Women's Wheelrace.
More to the point, the win comes not only on her birthday, but also one day out from the Bay Criterium Series, where Armstrong is the custodian of the green jersey.
The New South Wales cyclist was probably unaware of a mix-up involving the back markers - and in the end, perhaps it didn't matter - as Armstrong won the women's wheelrace with an impressive sprint to the finish.
"It's by birthday today and it's always good to get the most money on the last day," Armstrong said post race. "I've done a lot of road training during these carnivals and that's taken its toll so finally a good win has come my way."
Aiding and abetting Armstrong's cause was a mix-up between back markers Laura McCaughey and Liz Williams, which, in the end, cost both riders dearly as they were unable, for whatever reason, to work together reeling in the leaders.
"A bit of messing around hey, obviously some little games happening, but I thought bugger this I'm out of here," was McCaughey's version of events. "We could have easily got up both of us, but that's the way it goes. Just so much harder when you've gotta fight between yourselves at the back."
McCaughey finished third in the final women's event of the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals, second place on the day going to one of the rapidly improving local riders Amy Cure.
Junior world track champions re-unite
A rare sight in cycling at any level, the final day of the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals brought together a treat for track cycling enthusiasts, with five current junior world champions swapping turns in the same race.
The occasion was the heats of the Top of The Town Pharmacy 2000 metre Wheelrace, where World Junior Teams Pursuit Champions Jack Bobridge, Leigh Howard, Cameron and Travis Meyer started together off the scratch mark. Just ahead of them was World Junior Time Trial Champion Scott Sunderland, who waited for his national teammates.
Working together, the bunch of five quickly reeled in the frontmarkers.
"The first time I've been in that sort of quality with the teams pursuit guys," Scott Sunderland told Cyclingnews. "You don't see that very often, privileged to be amongst it."
Langedyk wins early wheelrace
There was a surprise in store in the final of the first major wheelrace for the New Year's Day carnival, as 17-year-old Geelong cyclist James Langedyk took out the 2000 metre handicap against top class opposition. With Ben Kersten working on this occasion for American Jame Carney, Langedyk took advantage.
"I think it was two laps to go, the scratch got around and then I jumped in with them, behind Benny K and Jame Carney," Langedyk said. A training partner of Leigh Howard, 17 year old Langedyk was pleased to finally pull off a victory in his first Tasmanian Christmas Carnival Series. "I've only made three handicap finals this week, so it's good to get up into a final and match those guys," Langedyk said. "It's good to win something down here, get my name out there."
Law impressive in junior ranks
A consistent winner over the week long Tasmanian Christmas Carnival series, national junior criterium champion Scott Law produced the goods again today, winning the junior A1 scratch race.
Law's performances have been of a such a high class, the handicapper was forced to drop him behind scratch, in order to even out the field in the junior handicap events. The talented New South Wales cyclist enjoyed a big finish to 2006, with a gold medal performance at the national junior road championships on the Sunshine Coast, followed up by this week's efforts on the track at the Christmas Carnivals - his first visit to Tasmania.
"It's been loads of fun, I've enjoyed the carnivals here," Law told Cyclingnews. "That was a bit tough with the minus forty (handicap) at Devonport, that really threw me around."
Law is in training for the New South Wales Championships in Sydney and his progress is being closely watched by NSWIS head coach Gary Sutton. "He (Sutton) hopefully wants to make me into a pointscore rider or teams pursuit or Madison," Law said.
Those who were here in Burnie 30 years ago cannot recall the moment without powerful emotion.
It was the day Danny Clark, Tasmania's most celebrated cyclist, and one of Australia's finest in history, produced what is remembered here as the greatest ride in Tasmanian cycling history in the final of the 1977 Burnie wheel. As the story goes, Clark, the scratch marker, was behind by more than one hundred metres on the bell lap and caught the frontmarkers on the line. The win was witnessed by a crowd of more than fourteen thousand - and the call by announcer Tiger Dowling was etched on tape for future generations to marvel at.
Today, the famous race call was replayed to the 2007 crowd at the Burnie Carnival as Danny Clark completed a lap of honour, by special request. All of it, so appropriate in a town with a rich cycling history, and an equally rich appreciation of track cycling.
"My mind went straight back to the race and I felt like I was in the race again," an emotional Danny Clark told Cyclingnews. "Just like the race, I really wasn't thinking of where I was or what I was doing it really come perfect. It's nice, because most of my career's been in Europe, sometimes I've come back and been acknowledged for that."
By all accounts, Clark's ride was truly remarkable.
Eric Bishop, who finished third in the race behind Clark was also back at Burnie today - helping his son prepare for the carnival and was almost as emotional about the historic cycling event as the winner on the day.
"I'm getting all emotional because I remember the race very clearly," Bishop said. "I remember looking across at the bell and Danny was one hundred metres down and I thought no hope.As it turned out and all I could think of, was why are the crowd screaming so loud they can't be cheering for me? As it turned out they were cheering for Danny. The crowd was just so ecstatic, I've never seen anything like it before, it really stuck out in my mind because there was about 15,000 people here."
Clark believes much of the credit should go to local race caller Tiger Dowling, who brought him home on the night. Fittingly, Clark visited Tiger (who is suffering a serious illness) in hospital this morning on his way to the track, to share a few memories.
"I just happened to look out of the corner of my eye and I saw them hit the wind, it was like they hit a brick wall, that's when I really give it everything, I swallowed them in," Clark recalled. "I knew where the line was, I knew where they were and I knew the speed I was doing was going to get me there. Tiger Dowling (the race caller) he makes it bigger than it was because the way he built it up to the public, I had to thank him a lot for that."
Clark, who lives on the Gold Coast after retiring from the sport, enjoys one of the greatest records in the history of track cycling. Among may other achievements, the Australian rode in a world record 235 six day races and won 75.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
Images by John Flynn/Cyclingnews.com
Bendigo Bank 2007 Burnie Wheel (3000 Metres) 1 Tim Walker 2 Nathan Clarke 3 Cameron Meyer 4 Glenn O’Shea 5 Kaiden Homan 6 Marc Prutton 7 Alistair Loutit 8 Neil Skipper Bruce Gowans Toyota A Grade Scratch Race 16000 Metres 1 Cameron Meyer 2 Daniel Cutting 3 Nathan Clarke Midway Furniture Ladies Wheel Race (2000 Metres) 1 Sky-Lee Armstrong 2 Amy Cure 3 Laura McCaughey McGrath & Co Junior 3 Handicap 1 Michael Docker 2 Danieka West 3 Macey Stewart McGrath & Co Junior Handicap 2 1 Jackson Law 2 Bradley Ryan 3 Mitchell Benson McGrath & Co Junior 1 Handicap 1 David Lyons 2 Ed Robinson 3 Callum Docker Bistec Leicester Cycles E Grade Scratch Race 1 Anthony O’Connor 6.14.30 2 J.Jezek 3 A. Sait Johnson Design Junior 2 Wheelrace 1 Jackson Law 2.17.32 2 Jacob Fielding 3 Jacob Langham Johnson Design Junior 1 Wheelrace 1 Tim Taylor 2.32.65 2 Ryan Gates 3 Ryan Mather McDonalds Ladies B Grade Scratch Race 1 Harriet Kossman 2 B.Coleman 3 T.Jones Betta Electrical Ladies A Grade Scratch Race 1 Laura McCaughey 3.38.82 2 Camille Jones-Pallett 3 Liz Williams Pirtek Lightning Handicap 1 M.Kent 1.05.29 2 A.Dolan 3 Tim Hucker Johnson Design Junior 3 Scratch Race 1 M. Docker 3.25.73 2 N.Hinkley 3 D.Redman Johnson Design Junior 2 Scratch Race 1 Jackson Law 5.03.09 2 Mitchell Benson 3 J.Fielding Johnson Design Junior 1A Scratch Race 1 Scott Law 5.00.05 2 S. Brett 3 David Lyons Johnson Design Junior 1b Scratch 1 B.Stewart 4.43.43 2 Ryan Gates 3 D.Homan Top Of The Town Pharmacy 2000 Metre Handicap - Final 1 J. Langedyk 2 Adrian Hanson 3 B.Sanders Winning Smiles Dental Care Ladies B Grade Points Race 1 H.Kossman 8.22.50 Contel Communications Ladies A Grade Points Race 1 Sarah Kent 2 Laura McCaughey 3 Sky-Lee Armstrong Men’s invitational Sprint 1 Scott Sunderland 2 Ben Kersten 3 Joel Leonard La Porchetta D Grade Scratch Race 1 M.Kent 6.27.41 2 Alistair Loutit 3 A.Dolan Burnie Veterinary C Grade Scratch Race 1 R.McCraig 6.44.09 2 D.Oliver 3 J.Forrest Wellers Inn International Derby 1 Ben Kersten 2 Joel Leonard 3 Kial Stewart Cloverlea Plant Plus B Grade Scratch Race 1 Jamie Krass 6.04.67 2 Daniel Jamieson 3 Jamie Goddard