No Crowds, No Worries as National Team Members Dominate the Boards
The Launceston Silverdome was without spectators or woodchopping this year, as local cyclists faced healthy competition from some of Australia’s very best.
Without Wheel Race’s being contested this year, the Keirin and Scratch races became the focus of the day’s proceedings.
Recently named to the Australian Cycling Team’s Podium Potential Academy, Launceston’s Lauren Perry won the Women’s Keirin.
“It’s a really good opportunity for me for international competition. It’s a pathway to step up into the Podium squad - which is where most of the teams are selected from for the Commonwealth Games and Olympics.” noted Perry, explaining the significance of her Academy selection.
“It's a cutthroat environment and you do have two years or so to make a really solid pathway for yourself. The Australian team is looking for a steep upward trajectory, so I plan on making the most of the opportunity. I’m hoping I will be able to use this opportunity as it’s intended” said Perry.
“I think the selection has helped me to gain the confidence to back myself. Not long ago I would’ve never backed myself, and I was questioning whether my dreams would ever come true - or whether they would just be dreams forever” Perry elaborated, detailing the immediate effects of her Academy selection.
“For the Australian team to provide me with this opportunity, it has given me the confidence to back myself - if they see potential in me - then maybe I do have it in there! I also thrive off the excitement, because it is a really cool environment that not many people get to experience, and I think I’d like to make the most of it and enjoy the opportunity, because it’s something so unique that is probably a once in a lifetime thing” Perry described, grinning whilst outlining the path her cycling talents have set her on for the next two years.
After back to back days of racing, two-time world champion Alex Manly showed tactical savvy in making a break after the second prime, winning the women’s Scratch race by a lap.
“It was a really good race, the girls went pretty hard at the first prime, and I wasn’t feeling that good yet. As the second prime went, I was in a good spot, so I just continued that move as I thought everyone must be pretty tired - I thought I might as well try and go for a lap. Once I got the gap, they kind of let me go I think” explained Manly.
“I think these events are really good to get your ‘race brain’ switched on, there’s not that many events on at the moment. Even with the training we do these days, people choose training over racing, but I think racing is really important to get you switched on, and put you in those positions. If you don’t do any racing, you race something like the world championships, you have no experience, and it’s just those split decisions where you could’ve won a race - you’ll let it go - so I think racing these events is really important” emphasised Manly.
Hobart Wheel Race winner Luke Plapp continued a successful week, victorious whilst gaining a lap on the field in the men’s Scratch race.
“It was pretty tough out there! I didn’t mind being antisocial” joked Plapp.
“It was pretty awesome to win, I’d set my sights on it, it was the big one to win tonight. I’ve been coming since I was really young, since under 13’s - I had a year off last year and I really did miss it” detailed Plapp.
“I’ve got family here in Burnie, so it’s a good excuse to come up and see them, and I get to race and do what I love - so I can’t complain. The last track race I did was the world championship in Berlin in February, so it has been quite a while. To be honest I don’t think we’re going to get much before the Tokyo Olympics, so this has been really good to come down here and get some racing back in the legs” said Plapp.
Plapp will begin a block of road racing next month, taking part in the Tour Down Under and the Melbourne to Warrnambool race, building fitness before a track specific period leading into Tokyo.
Australian team member Matt Richardson won the men’s Keirin, holding off Victorian Sam Gallagher.
Penguin Preview: McSweyn returns to Tasmania
The Tasmanian Christmas Carnival series will continue at Penguin from 5:00-8:00pm on Tuesday December 29th - with King Island’s favourite son Stewart McSweyn set to make an early season mile appearance. McSweyn set the distance running world alight in 2020, breaking the Australian records at 1500m (3:30.51) and 3000m (7:28.02), including a win at the Doha Diamond League (1500m).
McSweyn will have a set of times to target in Penguin, first looking to break the Tasmanian all-comers record of 3:56.7, held by 1976 Olympic 1500m champion John Walker (NZL). A tall early-season task, McSweyn’s mile personal best of 3:54.60 isn’t entirely out of the question, set while winning the Emsley Carr Mile in Birmingham in 2018. The 25-year old’s training partner, Western Australian Matthew Ramsden holds the world leading time in 2020, a 3:51.23 run. Squad bragging rights might remain in Ramsden’s favour short of a now-trademark McSweyn performance.
The 100 yard Tasmanian Championships will see 11.67sec 100m sprinter Hilal Durmaz face off with Tasmanian 100m record holder Morgan Gaffney (11.66sec). The 16-year old Durmaz has become a familiar face at the Christmas Carnivals, sure to provide an entertaining challenge to Gaffney. The men’s event places five-time 200m national champion Alex Hartmann up against local sprinter Jacob Despard. Whilst Hartmann represented Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in the 200m, a 10.27sec 100m personal best looms large as a reminder of the task that awaits 2018 Stawell Gift winner Jacob Despard.
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)