Ray's Runners Take Sprints, as Mainlanders Take Wheelraces
The 40th running of the Hobart Bikes & Spikes prevailed in windswept conditions at the New Town Cricket Club Oval.
Tokyo 2021 bound Luke Plapp took out the Men’s Wheel Race off scratch, the 20-year old Australian team pursuit member noted the severe winds ultimately favoured the strong scratch bunch.
“We’ve got a real good group of guys off scratch, we all trust each other and we’re all really skilled, so we were happy.”
Plapp was thrilled to be back in Tasmania for the Christmas Carnival series, “It’s awesome to be back here, I missed last year, so I was really keen to get back to the carnivals.”
The young Victorian shot to fame in 2020 after a last-minute call up to the Australian Cycling team, finishing fourth in the team pursuit at the World Championships. Narrowly beating housemate Josh Duffy, Plapp explained the importance of the carnival series in his Olympic preparation.
“It’s a brilliant start to our track season, we’ve missed so much track lately and haven’t had much in the way of racing. It’s awesome to be here and have four carnivals and about 25 races. For us to get a bit of racing in the legs and a bit of lactate, it’s great for Tokyo next year, which is the main focus,” Plapp said.
The Women’s Wheel Race went to 18-year old Western Australian Isla Carr. Riding off a handicap of 140 metres, Carr was ecstatic.
“It means so much to win, this is the first big race I’ve ever been in and it had a great atmosphere,” Carr declared.
Hoping to build fitness through the carnival series prior to the national championships, Carr was surprised to win.
“It’s the first real racing I’ve had since the State Championships in early December,” she said.
With three years of experience in the sport, Carr presents as an exciting young talent, set to race in Launceston, Georgetown and Burnie Carnivals in the coming days..
Hobart stalwart Ray Quarrell experienced a perfect afternoon of coaching, as his sprinting stable swept both Men’s and Women’s Gifts, whilst Quarrell received an award from Athletics Australia recognising his 40 years of service to the sport.
A 26-time TAL event winner, Luke Whitney won the Hobart Gift in a blanket finish, with a nervous wait for results ensuing. A three-time runner up. Whitney was visibly emotional, describing winning in front of family and friends as ‘bloody fantastic’. Gathering himself, Whitney detailed what the event means to both he and his training group.
“When you do this sport as long as I have, to win here is something I’ve been trying to do for a long time.”
Whitney was complimentary of the field, managing to hold off the likes of five-time 200m Australian Champion Alex Hartmann, and 10.40sec 100m man Jacob Despard. A proud day for Quarrell and Whitney, the occasion wasn’t lost on the winner.
“Ray and I have been together for so long, and this means a lot to him, putting this carnival on. For a bloke that goes unrecognised a lot I think, in my eyes, it’s really nice for him to get some recognition,” Whitney said.
The Women’s Gift saw 18-year old Lucy Carter go toe to toe with two of Australia’s fastest teenagers in Torrie Lewis and Hilal Durmaz, winning narrowly. Having only started Gift racing this year, Carter wore a massive grin whilst speaking with the media cluster.
“I’m pretty happy to have succeeded so quickly. It’s quite unexpected, most people in the club didn’t win for three or four years, so I’m pretty happy!”
Carter watched stablemate Luke Whitney win the Men’s Gift minutes prior, providing a competitive boost.
“It scared me and made me want to work for it more,” she declared.
Carter will race at both Penguin and Burnie Gift’s, joking that the win in Hobart had made her upcoming schedule tougher.
“I’m a bit nervous now, but pretty happy and looking forward to it,” Carter declared.
The Tasmanian Christmas Carnival series will continue tomorrow in Launceston at the Silverdome.
The Sports Carnival Association of Tasmania will be supporting the following carnivals this summer;
29 November - Richmond (Running)
5 December - DAC/MVCC (Running/Cycling)
13 December - PCCCT/CBCC (Running/Cycling)
19 December - Rosebery (Running/Cycling/Woodchopping)
27 December - Hobart (Running/Cycling)
28 December - Launceston (Cycling)
29 December - Penguin (Running)
30 December - Georgetown (Cycling)
31 December - Burnie (Running/Cycling/Woodchopping)
10 January - TAL (Penguin) (Running)
24 January - DAC/MVCC (Running/Cycling)
31 January - OVA (Hobart) (Running)