2016 Sydney Christmas Carnivals- Full Report

The Sydney Christmas Carnivals are done and dusted for another year.   Over the 5 days I re-posted the results along with photos and how the racing went down.  Most of the reporting is factual, and no names have been changed to avoid embarrassment.

Day 1 Sydney Christmas Carnivals

Dunc Gray Velodrome Hosted By Bankstown Sports Cycle Club

After all the hype, the racers did not disappoint. Women’s field had 3 grades, with 2016 being the year of the junior. All the U17’s 19’s and newly graduated elites have developed into some classy riders. A grade was fast. As the ladies smashed the warm up scratch there was gusts of wind inside the velodrome. This kind of wind is usually only felt in the higher grades of the dudes. B grade looked like last years A grade, masters, elites juniors, fast! And C grade was a fantastic mix of old favourites, para cyclists, an Olympian and a few riders new to the sport riders. Kudos to the para athletes mixing it with the main field.


Standouts in the rest of the racing are, the new guy ( Jake Van Der Vliet, Sunshine Coast CC (QLD)) off the front in c grade! Dude! You’re doing it wrong, only win by a bit. Welcome to B grade.


The wheel race was well handicapped, with the middle front markers getting up on the podium. And Cuffy! Yew! Awesome run from a long way back to take out the race.

Special mention goes to the rider Hamish Wright in the B grade winners race. You went for the first sprint, failed, tried to hold on for the next, got piped on the line, thought about the third and he was never to be seen again! It was a valiant effort and great entertainment.

Drama in the keirins with old mates Gav and Browne having a cuddle in the final corner.

And young gun sometimes sprinter, sometimes roadie, all round awesome munchkin Thomas Cornish pipping big Ben Young on the line. Ben lead it out almost perfectly, but the run Tom took from a long way back just generated too much speed. Well done Tom

There were 2 Madison’s to finish off the night. The ladies choice was fast, smooth, and competitive. The A grade Madison with the dudes, not so much. It was thrilling for not all the good reasons. But that’s the beauty of this series, cobwebs day 1, world class racing day 5.

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Full photo album here
Results here

Racing/ party at Tempe on day 2. If you are not A grade (men/women) get there 4ish for a 5:15pm race start. Crafty wants to get you guys moving, so there is more party time later in the night.

Bring on day 2!

Day 2 Sydney Christmas Carnivals

Tempe Velodrome Hosted By Dulwich Hill Bicycle Club

The winner was track cycling, the band, the crowd, and the beers on a perfect night. That’s all See you tonight at Hurstville Oval Velodrome with St George Cycling Club!

photos found below

day 2 g.jpg

Naw just kidding, although that’s about all that needed to be reported on.

I was just blown away by the crowd at day 2! the stands were packed, the food trucks were bustling and the band BumpCity meshed perfectly with Crafty’s commentary, and all the racers put on a great show.

It might of been the crowd, it might have been the coliseum atmosphere of Tempe Velodrome, it might have been the buzz of racing on a perfect summers night, either way, it was international quality exciting racing (achieved by using local hero’s and club racers.  who needs the ‘celebrity’ riders that end up in Tassie. Local club racers are more fun)

Stand out performances include:day 2 c.jpg
Alex Chubb holding out a fast charging A grade (racing off limit) to qualify first for the The Marrick Café & Bar wheel race final. He then backed it up to finish on the podium. Everyone in the crowd was behind the home track hero.

the marrack wheel race podium.jpg

In the one lap screamers Amanda Reid showed she was all class taking out her heat with a charge into the headwind to go around the field in the back straight. Selina Ho was in the hot seat well and truly into the men’s grades with a time of 26.91. The eventual fastest time was Charles Hofman 24.88

selina hot seat.jpg

Another feature event was the madi lap.
Madison change- flying lap. The band was blasting tunes and the times were close with the fastest time being set by Charles Hofman and Ben Young 18.31…
there’s more
some young guns jumped in, they weren’t on the start list… they are looking fast! Thomas Cornish and Stephen Cuff. those cheeky munchkins!
Boom! 18…. point… three… five!
not quite, but nice try guys

day 2 h.jpg

The Struggle was real in the handicap Miss’n’out with the lower grades holding out the higher leaving a few shell shocked survivors to battle for the finish. In the ladies Ashlee Jones was a surprise survivor out smarting her older sister Laura Jones. But on the final lap, Josie Talbot, lit it up and crossed the line first in a nail biting photo finish.

The final race of the night was the Madison. 40 laps of quality Madison. The attacks were on from go. Team Wheatbix kids nearly got a lap, nearly, it was so painfully close before the field decided to deny them the opportunity. And then they blew up. Never to be seen again.

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Photos here and here

results here

there are a few missed results, that is totally my fault, but if I missed your name, e-mail Crafty and claim your series points

Day 3 Sydney Christmas Carnivals

Hurstville Oval Velodrome Hosted By St George Cycle Club

day 3 j.jpg

The half way point and there were some sore legs turning squares on a very long track. Hurstville, for those outside of sydney is a 400m flat track. So when you hear the bell… its a long long way to go.

Last night was another big night. We had a dj up in the club house and a barber doing haircuts for anyone willing to race, get a cut, then hopefully be back in time for the next race. It was done, and a lot of swish new haircuts were improving the hairodynamics of all the grades. There was also a large (although more chilled out crowd) picnicking on the wonderfully lush green grass that Hurstville Oval Velodrome is known for.

day 3 b.jpg

As usual Crafty mixed it up with the racing. the first race was a Womens C+B+A Italian scratch race. each grade was in bunches, rolling turns about 30m apart. C lead it out racing 7 laps, the bell went on 6 and at lap 7 the winner (Anya Tatarinoff) was called and the whole grade safely left the track. B grade was next racing the next 7 laps (14 total). Tess Wallace won that. Then A grade lit it up with the final 7 laps to go (21 total around a 400m track. so glad I wasn’t racing) Josie Talbot took that out, but she had a large group of juniors pushing her all the way.

He then decided Mens D + C + B should do 10 laps each.  Sucks to be B grade.  They had a full 30 laps (A grade was on their lonesome only doing 15)

The wheel races were 4 laps with Crafty cruelly dangling a rider waaaaay out front. giving them hope and someone for the crowd to cheer for. but because of the nature of Hurstville. all were doomed. It was painful and yet entertaining to watch, as each grade had the limit marker, go, loose momentum, crack, and then get swamped in a soul crushing woosh as the main pack rode by for victory.

PSA from the Coms- if you are chopping and hooking on a flat track you are going too fast for your skillzzz. We had a number of relegations during the sprints due to riders not being able to hold their lines. Yes it’s a skill. many riders have mastered it and so can you!

Besides that James Brown won his sprint! yew

From this point of the carnivals the top 4 riders each grade are now riding sprints in a separate heat. This gives an advantage to the riders placed 5th down allowing them to move up and put more pressure on the leaders.

Now lets all have a moment of silence for those who fought for the sprint laps (ones scoring 1,2,and 3 points) in the snowball.

Many attempted to get cheeky points with hopes to go on for a minor placings. This is a last ditch attempt usually done by the sprinters…. may do not succeed. Last night, one hero returned home victorious! James Brown! congrats on finishing 4th mostly because you cheered the international rider Eddie Chung. he did way more points than he needed to secure a win, but he stayed on the front to secure the 4th place for you!

There was a womens only Madison! Rumor is Crafty saw the cheeky hashtag posted on Instagram by Josie Talbot #enoughqualityforamomensmadison ? I cant believe there was a womens only Madison. This just shows how much it has grown. I remember 4 years ago, I was the only girl riding them…. now there is a full race! Congrats to ll the ladies involved Chloe Hefernan, Josie Talbot, Ashlee Jones, Lauren Robards, Emily Yeaman, Emily Watts, Gabrielle Belz and Claudia Jackson!
The racing was solid with a battle between NSWIS and Park Bikes. The rest of the girls fought hard and everyone finished on the same lap! Congrats to NSWIS for winning the race

Then the guys raced. It was fast, Team Wheatbix almost…. almost, took a lap.  Then they died.  Again, nice try Mitch Wright and Ben Young.

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Pictures here
Results Here

apparently I made a few mistakes again last night. so blame me then e-mail Crafty. pcraft@vtown.com.au

Day 4 Sydney Christmas Carnivals

Lidcombe Oval Velodrome Hosted by Lidcombe-Auburn Cycle Club

The weather gods were on our side. Not only did the predicted thunderstorms stay away, we also got a breeze to break the humid heat, that I can only assume the Queenslanders packed and brought down.

The day started with the great debate of how long is the track? Since its re-surfacing 15 months ago, no one from Lidcombe Auburn Cycle Club – LACC has been bothered to measure it, so the answer is anywhere between 428 and 430… so lets say 429. (who makes a 429m track, really, it’s called the metric system. make an even number)

day 4 b.jpg

The warm up scratch was designed to warm everyone up.  With ALL the womens grades doing the Italian scratch. This was followed by ALL the mens grades doing the same. Wow, 30+ females followed by 80+ guys all on one track at one time. I was a sight! the UCI would have put a stop to that, but this is RAW Track rules, and f*^k the UCI, lets have fun!
But it totally sucked to be the A graders, especially the A grade sprinters. they had 28 laps total and you could hear grumbles when they realized they still had 11 left and the b graders were still out there. Luke Ensor did a great move, 2 laps out. got a gap and held on for the win!

In the Womens A grade wheel race, the middle markers formed a great group, cracking the scratch riders, and easily overtaking the front markers. And it was the usual suspects of Heather May, Lauren Robards, and Ashlee Jones taking it out.

Russell Garstang, always a crowd favorite, WON his wheel race!!! It has to happen at least once a Christmas carnival. Rusty gets dangled off the front, he goes, he dies, he peddles squares, and somehow survives for the win.  The then goes onto the grass, and dies a million deaths in one of the most entertaining shows.  You can’t script this stuff.  And we all love Rusty for it.

rusty dead.jpg

At about this point, the nice breeze picked up (the riders described it as a gale). This provided a strong head wind on the back straight with 200m to go.  As an official I loved it.  it was refreshing.  The riders did not like it, a lot of riders got caught out going too soon on the last lap.

Crafty ran the keirins like poetry.  As one heat came ’round for bell lap the next heat rolled out.  The bike would then pick the heat up and racing would start as the previous heat hit the finish line.  It ensured the races flowed smoothly and quickly.   Good work crafty.
The main battles happened in C grade between Ben Fox, Peter Selkrig, and Maximilian Cyreszko.  It was a super close finish with Ben taking the win, These guys are all at the pointy end of the grade, and it will be another battle tonight.
Then The hot heat of the A grade big boys! Ben Young took on Brad Heap, but those two guys were pushed all the way to the line by Luke Ensor and Nathan Craig. Ben won, but the Western Australian Sprinter has had a lot of challengers from NSW keeping him in check. (Go NSW!)

Rusty somehow got 4th in his points race.  And there were way too many close sprints. Could all the riders spread out a bit more and make it easier for me to call.  When you are 5 wide on the finish line, it makes for good racing, but geez Louise, it’s hard to pick.

We had another all womens Madison last night. I can’t express how proud I am of all these ladies! this was unheard of a few years ago. To any of the girls thinking of giving it a go, do it! this is the best place to have a go.

Then after the shambuzle of a Madison, on day 1, the guys have finally got it together. The changes were smooth fast, compact and safe. There were synchronized double changes, triple changes, two pairs. it was fun to watch. Lachlan Scott and Mitchell Wright took out line honors.

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Pictures here AND here thanks to Morgan Ho and Andrew Trovas from St George Cycling Club.
results here

see you this afternoon at Dunc Gray Velodrome at 1:00pm for a 2:00pm start!

Day 5 Sydney Christmas Carnivals! Well that’s a wrap

Dunc Gray Velodrome Hosted By RAW Track

The Sydney Christmas Carnivals are done and dusted for another year. But mark your calendars and book in for next year. After the success of this year, plans area already getting started to make next year bigger and better!


how sad does everyone look

Here are the stats from this year
* 40 female riders
* 116 male
* 156 total!
* 5 days
* 7 grades
* 4 venues
* 5000+ sausages
* 6 states represented
* 1 international rider
* U17 was the youngest age group
* Masters 9 was the oldest
* We had a ladies division in the Madison!
* 215 races
* 10 members of a funk band
* 2387L of beer
* 3 food trucks
* 1 Paul Craft

Congrats to all the riders who survived the full 5 Days. Crafty guarantees a lot of racing, and a lot of races you did indeed. From the results of past years, riders who survive the Sydney Christmas carnivals go on to have successful State champs and national champs. So I wish you all luck in the new year of racing!

Yesterday, we went back to normal scratches for the warm up. Personally I saw nothing wrong with putting 3 grades of women or 4 grades of men all on dunc all at the same time. really what could go wrong?!  The commissars have no sense of adventure.

Even though the ‘warm up’ scratch race carried no points, the cream still rose to the top and many of the points leaders continued to show their dominance.  Felice, Eddie Chung, Peter Selkrig, welcome to the next grade next year!

The wheel races tonight were also stacked. They were designed to give the front markers an advantage, and hopefully take the points leaders out of the race. But riders will be riders, the scratch riders rode their little hearts out. Womens C Amanda Reid, almost made it, But Ling Gribble was too strong. Womens B, tried, but didn’t make it. Womens A, Tried really hard, didn’t make it.

Mens D, also valiant effort, and no dice. You would think by now riders would get the message, especially because Crafty was announcing that as his plan. But nope, Mens C, YAY Richard Pettigrew and Peter Selkrig made it! Mens B, really guys, watch the other races. The front markers Harry Bryant, Andrew Giovanetti and Adrien Triccas rounded out the Podium. Mens A, I cant really comment on that, except Scott Mills. No, you know the rules. you cant draft scratch if you are limit rider. That should have been a win, all you had to do was listen to Crafty and stay 10m off the pack.  But you threw it away like an unwanted Christmas gift, got relegated, and acted like you won at the end.  Nope Nope Nope.

For the one lap screamers, Deborah Coulls showed off all her training. She had an awesome start, and no one could catch her. Selina Ho also showed fantastic form. it’s good to see her come back after her HSC exams. Then in D grade, out Masters 9 rider Hugh Gray showed the young guys how its done. That race wasn’t even close. The surprise result of the night, was Little Brad Heap. Well he’s not little (and i just feel old) he was the fastest man out there in the 1 lapper!

The Final points scoring race of the night was a scratch.   Nice and easy.  But a number of placings were determined by the final ranks in the final race. Congrats to Womens A grade, this is the 3rd time in 4 years (I wasn’t around for the one year so I don’t know how close it was) where the final race on the final night determined the final standings. This is just a testament to how close the racing is, and how much depth is within the field. Congrats ladies! Then we had to record down to 10th place in Mens B and Mens A. Its amazing the quality of racing, and the depth of the grades. It makes sure everyone gets a solid hit out, and even if you didn’t win. know it was all very close.

The handicaps were abandoned because beer


Finally we wound the night down with another Womens Madison, and the final Mens madison.

ladies madison.jpg

I would like to congradulate out 2016 winners
Womens A- Brooklyn Vonderwall
Womens B- Felicia Beitzel
Womens C- Amanda Reid

Mens A- Stephen Cuff
Mens B- Hamish Wright
Mens C- Peter Selkrig
Mens D- Eddie Chung

Park Bikes@Sydney Olympic Park Madison
Mens- Nathan Craig/Timothy Spackman
Womens- Ashlee Jones/ Lauren Robards

Ride of the Carnival- Rusty Garstang for his performance in the Lidcombe Wheel race. see the day 4 report for full details.
Rider of the Carnival- Lizanne Wilmot– for supporting the races, helping out, and writing the reports, all while injured and unable to ride (gosh, thanks I didn’t expect that!)


And a carnival wouldn’t be a carnival without the behinds the scenes volunteers and helpers. With 5 day and 5 hosts, there are far too many to mention, but i thank all of you!

day 5 d.jpg

Finally without the support of sponsors, this event wouldn’t have been as big as it was. thanks to Park Bikes@Sydney Olympic Park, Ride TWE, Shimano-Road, Skingrowsback Hardwear, Bakalář Beer, RIDE Cycling Review, Bankstown Sports, Happy Wheels Bicycle Sales & Service, RAW Track and Cycling NSW

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full results here
pictures here


Stuff that didn’t make the initial reports

YES! this is what you’ve been waiting for.  Over the last week I have been reminiscing on the carnivals and there are a few extra moments I would like to share.   First, to race RAW Track or participate in the Christmas carnivals, it takes a special rider.  It’s like we are a special breed of trackies.  Every single one of us have personalities, and everyone lets it show on the bike.  Everyone rides with their hearts on their sleeves.  This makes for great racing, training, and entertainment.  This is what brings riders back year by year.  We don’t need riches (although the swag isn’t bad) we’re all racing/participating for a great hit out and to have fun with friends.  Good work all!

  • The Canadian Rider Matt.  We were on the train home after dunc, and I found out he had been in the country for 2 years.  So I asked him what took him so long to get on the track.  He then look wistfully into the middle distance, eyes glazed over, and declared “I hadn’t met Brownie yet” – YES quote of the carnival.
  • Sian Garstang Turned 18!
  • Jake Van Der Vliet from Queensland just blew me away every time he raced.  As a new rider he has a lot to learn.  But boy, does he have power!
  • Hughy Grey didn’t have his glasses on at thought the Womens A grade keirin was his race.  needless to say he jumped on the track and tried to join in.  It took him a few laps to gain focus and realize he was in the wrong race.
  • The constant battles in B grade Between Jason Farr and Hamish Wright.  Those two guys were in an intense battle.  I was like no one else was on the track.  The rivalry went the full 5 days unfortunately ending when Jason Farr crashed in the final race on the final night.  He missed the main move and it was all game over.
  • Finally on Night 5,  The A grade riders were carefully choreographed and managed to race the scratch to the beats of Turn down for What with Benny Young attacking on queue at 19 seconds then one of the Harrison’s attacked again (not pre arranged) on queue again at 1.18.  So good.  Don’t even ask who won.  it was non points scoring and I didn’t care!

day 1 c.jpg


One thought on “2016 Sydney Christmas Carnivals- Full Report

  1. Pingback: Sydney Christmas Carnivals: 10th Anniversary Celebrations! | Lizanne Wilmot

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