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The Sid Patterson Grand Prix
Melbourne, Australia, April 6, 2002Sid Patterson GP Champion of Champions Aces Scratch Race
Nankervis finds late form to win inaugural champion of champions wheel raceResults
By Karen Forman
WHO is the best wheel racer in Australia? If you consider the results of Australia's first-ever champion of champions wheel race - the Sid Patterson C of C held at Melbourne's Vodafone Arena on Saturday night, it is 19 year old Melburnian Tommy Nankervis - a rider who "came good" a week too late to qualify for the national championships in two week's time.
Nankervis rode off 80 metres, not believing he could win after a "terrible season" and just riding along on the back of the middle chase group. Then, with two to go, he found himself in second wheel and "decided to go" - and did!
It was a great turn of events for the Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement) university student who had won his way into the event after winning the Sid Patterson Wheel Race this time last year.
He didn't manage to win that race again this year - placing third - but he did clinch the Sid Paterson Champion of Champions, the event promoters Cyclists International intended to determine the best wheel race rider in Australia this season. Winners and placegetters in all the major handicap events of the 2001-2002 season qualified to enter.
Raced over six laps, the Champion of Champions event was everything CI had promises. It was fast, it was exciting, and it boasted a superb field of riders.
With a hard chasing scratch bunch comprising Olympic gold medallist Brett Aitken (South Australia) and NSW rider Mark Renshaw, Nankervis, who rides with the Carnegie Cycling Club, found himself in the middle bunch of eight riders. The rabbit out the front was frontmarker Damien Ladd (Bendigo), who started off 150.
Ladd started strongly, out of the saddle, but the second group formed quickly and the backmarkers were absolutely flying.
The backmarkers caught the middle group just as the middle group reeled in Ladd and it was Renshaw who led out at the bell. However, one rider had decided it was all too much and was riding slowly in the middle of the track, causing the leadout bunch to breakup and slow down - possibly affecting the final result.
In the end six riders headed for the line and it was Nankervis who made it across first. Young was second and Aitken third in 1.35.406.
What made the win even more special for Nankervis was his personal association with the great track rider the race was named for. Five years ago, the youngster was looking around in Patterson's bike shop, when Patterson asked him if he was interested in riding the track. The rest is history.
"With my association with Sid Patterson, this is the race for me to win every year," he told cyclingnews.com. "I mean, the Austral is prestigious and all that, but this is the one for me. I didn't win the Grand Prix, but I got this one . . . by winning last year's Grand Prix, so . . ."
Unfortunately the good form came a week too late for him. He missed out on qualifying for the nationals last week.
"After I won the junior Olympic sprint at the nationals last year with Mark French and Jason Niblett I couldn't be bothered training this year, but my girlfriend Lizzie, she encouraged me to keep going and I have her to thank for this," he said.
"I didn't expect to do well. I was yawning on the line." He intends to try riding the road for the first time this season."
Aitken was relatively happy with his second, but said he had "never seen a guy rolling around with one lap to go" and said the incident probably affected his chances for a win.
"He was doing 10kmh, we were doing 60kmh and it slowed us down. Darren had to go on the outside, I went inside, we were all over the place then had to regroup. But I was surprised I did so well, as I had only been on the bike three times in the last three weeks.."
Another top event on the night was the 12-lap Giant Bicycles Women's Scratch Race, won by 18 year old Western Australian Kristine Bayley, in a great leadup to her bid for an Australian title in Sydney in a fortnight.
"I really like racing here in Victoria," Bayley, who won two gold medals in last year's junior nationals said. She conceded it could be difficult at times racing in the shadow of her keirin world champion older brother Ryan Bayley."It is pretty hard, but I just work hard and chase what he does," she said.
Former junior world champion Narelle Peterson , who has been in good form since making a comeback at the start of the season, was second.
The field rode tightly together for most of the race, then Hamilton rider Vanessa Crawford, who showed some strength on the road during the Tour de Snowy women's tour in NSW last month, made a move with two laps to go.
Peterson chased, then attacked at the bell lap but a fast pedaling Bayley was on her wheel and came around the outside to win the event.
Cyclists International Sid Patterson Champion of Champions Final 6 laps 1. Tommy Nankervis (Carnegie) 1.35.406 2. Darren Young (Tas) 3. Brett Aitken (South Australia) 4. Matthew Heath (Footscray) Bill Clifton Carpet Services Women's Sprint Match Round 1 - 3 laps Kristine Bailey (WA) b Tiffany Godfrey (Vic) 13.32 Round 2 - 3 laps Cecil Walker Cycles Men's sprint round robin Race 1- 3 laps Kial Stewart b Shane Kelly 11.691 Race 2 Mark Renshaw beat Brett Aitken 11.908 Jarvis Walker Men's Sprint Derby Race 1 1. Jason Niblett beat Todd Wilksch 11.452. Race 2 1. Joel Leonard beat Kouji Yoshii 11.732 Cecil Walker Cycles Men's Sprint Round Robin Race 1 Perkins beat Aitken 11.945 Race 2 Stewart beat Renshaw 11.740 Race 3 Tim Decker beat Kouji Yoshii 5.20.873 Giant Bicycles Women's Scratch Race 12 laps 1. Kristine Bayley (WA) 4.09.566 2. Narelle Peterson (Coburg) 3. Katrina Purcell (Northcote)