Track Racing – Barry Burke Warragul Cycling Carnival

30/01 – 01/02/2004

by Steven Hall

Warragul’s best kept secret The Barry Burke Cycling Carnival was successfully run again this year on the January 31st /February 1st weekend. A huge field of 210 riders entered the two day event which included current Olympic Gold Medalist in the Maddison, Brett Aitken and dual Austral Wheel Race winner Darren Clark.  Womens numbers were double last years as the elite track cyclists made use of the competition to gauge form prior to the Austral Wheel Race at Vodafone (run on 7th February). Also up for grabs were five Victorian Championship Events.

Bob Brambo, proprietor of Barry Burke Holden the events major sponsor, like many watching their first track meet, became an instant fan. The thirty-eight events on day one included the usual handicaps, motor paced races, points and elimination sprints, Keirins, scratch races and the spectacular Maddison, a relay for teams of two run under lights over 150 laps (50km). To add further to the variety, three Holdens also did a couple of laps on the steeply banked track during a break but failed to break the track record.

Visiting commentators Ian Maher and Matt Keenen somehow knew all 210 riders names including carnival regular, the colourful Bananaman (yes, he has changed his name by deedpol). Officials led by Chief Commissaire Laurie Norris, were pleased with the organization and also the that the huge thunderstorm 3km north of the Warragul dumped none of its two and a half inches of rain on the track.

The first big event, the A grade scratch race of eighteen riders over 15 laps was won by Brett Aitken(SA) despite his claim to be “creeping” at 50% of form and having rushed staight from the airport to race without a warmup! Second was Joel Leanard(Fitzroy) and third Todd Wilksch(Horsham).

The next big event, the 2000m Wheel Race, sponsored by Bikeland, saw twenty riders contest the final after being in the first five of the four heats. Daniel Thorsen (Shep) was first off 25m., followed by Joel Leanard off 35m and third Todd Wilksch off scratch.

The Keirin final over seven laps, after the three qualifying heats, had the crowd on their feet as they were treated to more hip and shoulders than an AFL match. Fortunately all riders kept upright and an in form Todd Wilksch was able to hold off a fast charging Brett Aitken and a very consistant Joel Leanard.

An Omnium was held for the woman with points being awarded in three different races to give an additional layer of complexity to their tactics and the commentator’s grief. The winner was Catherine Allen (Blackburn), second Amy Phillips (Carnegie) and third Hannah Bush(Shep).

Local rider Brett Rollinson was one of eleven local club members competing and was able to outwit the rest to take victory in his D grade points sprint race. Brett was also second ahead of Warragul rider Scott Keeble third, in the D grade scratch race. Another local, junior James Henry won the B grade U17 scratch race. Many of the other juniors (Brenton Jones, David de Bruyne, Zoe and Sam Atkinson,Daniel de Blau, Alistair Crameri and Sian Williams) were riding at the lower end of their age groups but still gained valuable experience to take to next year.

The major event of the first day was the Maddison with the Victorian Maddison Title up for grabs. Hot favourites were the team of Brett Aitken and Darren Young. This race is won by accumulating points at sprints initially every fifteen laps with double points awarded on laps 80 and 150. Another route to victory is to lap the field which was how this race was won.

The first few sprints saw the favourites accumulating points however it was not long before the strongest of the rest began attacking Aitken and Young. Riding off the front and forcing them to repeatedly chase only to be attacked by the next pair. The two teams of VIS under nineteens were particularly strong with Sean Finning and Bradley Norton being the most aggressive.

After several attempts to ride off the front and lap the field, Finning and Norton were eventually successful depite the best efforts of Aitken and Young. Finning particularly, had so much petrol in the tank that he at one point was half way to gaining a second lap on the field.

So after 150 laps it was Finning/Norton collecting the $1000 first prize, Aitken/Young second and Mitchell Docker and Michael Ford third.The time was sixty-two minutes compared to fifty-nine minutes two years ago (Aitken/Luke Roberts)

The second day had a program of thirty-three events in the CTC Quality Maintenance Junior Carnival and included four Victorian Championship events. The Under 15 and Under 17 Womens Scratch races over 15 and 24 laps respectively. With the Under 15 and Under 17 Mens Scratch races over 15 laps and 30 laps.

Unfortunately the previous days luck with the weather did not continue with light drizzle causing frequent interuptions to the race program. Chief Commissaire Laurie Norris brought forward the championship events after which a presentation of the Victorian Junior Team was made. Further showers caused the rest of the program to be cancelled, including the Baw Baw Cup on Wheels for M17 riders.

The Warragul Cycling Club would like to thank all the sponsors, the officials, the riders (but not the weather on Sunday) for the great racing!

Major results listed below. Full results can be obtained from CycleSport Victoria at

A Grade Scratch Race

  • 1st Brett Aitken (SA)
  • 2nd Joel Leonard (Fitzroy)
  • 3rd David Thorsen (Shep)

2000m Wheel Race

  • 1st Daniel Thorsen
  • 2nd Joel Leonard
  • 3rd Todd Wilksch(Horsham)

Men’s Keirin

  • 1st Todd Wilksch
  • 2nd Brett Aitken
  • 3rd Joel Leonard

Women’s Omnium

  • 1st Catherine Allen (Blackburn)
  • 2nd Amy Phillips (Carnegie)
  • 3rd Hannah Bush (Shep)

Victorian Maddison Championship

  • 1st Sean Finning/Bradley Norton (VIS)
  • 2nd Brett Aitken/Darren Young (Tas)
  • 3rd Mitchell Docker/Michael Ford (VIS)

W15 Victorian Scratch Championship

  • 1st Georgina Freeland (Stawell)
  • 2nd Chloe Hosking (ACT)
  • 3rd Britany Foster (Geelong West)

W17 Victorian Scratch Championship

  • 1st Lisa Friend (Blackburn)
  • 2nd Sarah Humphreys (Castlemaine)
  • 3rd Tess Downing (Carnegie)

M15 Victorian Scratch Championship

  • 1st Michael Downing (Carnegie)
  • 2nd Simon Thorsen (Shep)
  • 3rd Trevor Griffith (Shep)

M17 Victorian Scratch Championship

  • 1st Abe Hastwell (Ararat)
  • 2nd Leigh Howard (Geelong West)
  • 3rd Luke Gooley (Shep)

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