Austral Wheel Race

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Cycling: Victoria, Australia
Organisations
Bicycle Victoria
Melbourne Critical Mass
Events
Around the Bay in a Day
Austral Wheel Race
Amy's Ride
Great Victorian Bike Ride
Great Ocean & Otway Classic Ride
Herald Sun Tour
Hell Ride
High Country Cycle Challenge
Melbourne Autumn Day
Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic
Melbourne Summer Cycle
Oppy Family Fun Ride
Rotary River Ride
Shepparton Fruit Loop Ride
Austral Wheel Race
General
Established 1887
Held February
Country Australia
Region Victoria
Type Handicap race over 2000 m
Data
Editions 110
First Winner H. Lambton, AUS
Most Recent Luke Ockerby, AUS
Most Wins Stephen Pate, AUS, (4)

The Austral Wheel Race is the oldest track bicycle race in the world still existing, stretching back to 1887. It is owned and run by Cycling Victoria. The Austral race is Australia’s greatest track cycling event. It is held in Melbourne, riders assigned handicaps according to ability over a series of heats. The finals are run over 2000m.[1]

The races in 2004 and 2005 were at Vodafone Arena in February. The first race in 1887 held at Melbourne Cricket Ground over 3 miles (4800m), with first prize of a grand piano valued at 200 pounds. Other venues in Melbourne to host the race include the Exhibition Track, the North Essendon board track, the Olympic Park Velodrome and the Brunswick, Coburg and Northcote velodromes.

Malvern Star, a brand in bicycles in Australia, had its origins in the race. In December 1898 a young bicycle mechanic and professional cyclist, Tom Finnigan, won from a handicap of 220 yards (200 m) holding off backmarkers with a foot to spare. The prize of 240 sovereigns let him establish a suburban bicycle shop, Malvern Star Cycles, which became a household name under Bruce Small.

Corruption tinged the event in 1901 when the American, "Plugger" Bill Martin, won from scratch, to allegations of fixing by John Wren. According to The Age in 1903 referring to 1902 "one of the judges appointed to officiate at the Austral Wheel meeting was called upon to resign, because he had a monetary interest in the result of the Austral Wheel Race."[2]

In February 2005 Ben Kersten won from scratch in a time of 2min 06.10 sec, an average of 57.09 km/h.

Prize money[edit]

Prize money has varied, following the fashion for cycling, from a grand piano to monetary prizes of 240 sovereigns in 1898, 1,050 in 1902, to a low of $1500 during the 1970s, increasing to $5,000 in 1982, and now exceeding $18,000 since 2000.

Past winners[edit]

Past competitors include distinguished Australian and international cyclists, including Gordon Johnson, Steele Bishop, Sid Patterson, Russell Mockridge, Danny Clarke, Brett Aitken, Gary Neiwand and Shane Kelly. The record for the most wins belongs to Victorian Stephen Pate with four victories: in 1988 from scratch, in 1991 from 10m, in 1993 from 20m and 1999 from scratch.

In 2000, Neiwand was handicapped on 70m for the millennium edition and won comfortably.

Austral Wheel Race Winners
Year Winner Handicap
1887 H. Lambton 210 yd (190 m)
1888 Dick Davis Scr
1889 J. Mullins 140 yd (130 m)
1890 Tom Busst Scr.
1891 Arthur Turner 240 yd (220 m)
1892 H. Lambton 200 yd (180 m)
1893 Gordon Woodward 270 yd (250 m)
1894 Alf Middleton 180 yd (160 m)
1895 A. Crisp 250 yd (230 m)
1896 Charles Kellow 15 yd (14 m)
1897 Jim Carpenter 85 yd (78 m)
1898 Tom Finnigan 220 yd (200 m)
1899 Frank Beauchamp 150 yd (140 m)
1900 Charles Forbes 30 yd (27 m)
1901 Bill Martin Scr
1902 Murray Auger 240 yd (220 m)
1903 Fred Scheps 160 yd (150 m)
1904 Jack Clarke 150 yd (140 m)
1905 J. Sandberg 170 yd (160 m)
1906 Harry Thomas 20 yd (18 m)
1907 A.C. Colvin 60 yd (55 m)
1908 M. McPherson 150 yd (140 m)
1909 A. H. Piano 40 yd (37 m)
1910 Frank Corry 140 yd (130 m)
1912 W. Priestly 60 yd (55 m)
1913 P.B. Henry 60 yd (55 m)
1920 Ern. Tamme 50 yd (46 m)
1921 Lou Clifford 120 yd (110 m)
1922 Jack Fitzgerald Scr
1923 Dick Ford 120 yd (110 m)
1923 Pidge Davis 200 yd (180 m)
1925 Frank Corry 140 yd (130 m)
1925 Eric Giboud 60 yd (55 m)
1927 Bowie Stevens 70 yd (64 m)
1927 Cecil Hannerman 160 yd (150 m)
1927 Cecil Manners 245 yd (224 m)
1929 H. "Fatty" Lamb 30 yd (27 m)
1936 Keith Thurgood 100 yd (91 m)
1936 Harry Webb 70 yd (64 m)
1937 Jack Gardiner 205 yd (187 m)
1938 Jack Middleton 120 yd (110 m)
1939 Clinton Beasley 90 yd (82 m)
1940 Norm Stevens 20 yd (18 m)
1941 Ken Stewart 60 yd (55 m)
1942 Mick Bradley 160 yd (150 m)
1944 Norm Munro 90 yd (82 m)
1944 Tas. Johnson 30 yd (27 m)
1945 Tom Shillito 160 yd (150 m)
1946 Pat Devine 120 yd (110 m)
1947 George Bull 130 yd (120 m)
1948 Bill Kirkham 120 yd (110 m)
1950 Byron Bonney 120 yd (110 m)
1951 Kevin Marion 105 yd (96 m)
1952 Doug Jennings 120 yd (110 m)
1953 Tom Fitzgerald 140 yd (130 m)
1954 Alan Geddes 130 yd (120 m)
1955 Ron Murray 100 yd (91 m)
1956 Don Meharg 130 yd (120 m)
1957 John Robertson 100 yd (91 m)
1958 Neil Geraghty 100 yd (91 m)
1959 Vin Beasley 100 yd (91 m)
1960 David Good 100 yd (91 m)
1961 Fred Roche 40 yd (37 m)
1962 Sid Patterson Scr.[3]
1963 Fred Hellyer 110 yd (100 m)
1964 Sid Patterson Scr.
1965 Kenton Smith 135 yd (123 m)
1966 Bill Dove 150 yd (140 m)
1967 Vic Browne 65 yd (59 m)
1968 Merv. Andrea 230 yd (210 m)
1969 Charlie Walsh 50 yd (46 m)
1970 Bill Stevens 35 yd (32 m)
1971 Frank Daly 135 yd (123 m)
1972 Geoff Edmonds 20 yd (18 m)
1973 Gordon Johnson Scr.
1974 Ivan Collings 90 yd (82 m)
1975 Craig Price 130 yd (120 m)[1]
1976 David Allan 70 yd (64 m)
1977 Danny Clark Scr.
1978 David Sanders 50 m
1979 Laurie Venn Scr.
1980 Daryl Benson 90 m
1981 Laurie Venn Scr.
1982 Steele Bishop Scr.
1983 Phil. Sawyer Scr.
1984 Terry Schintler 80 m
1985 Allan Rackstraw 80 m
1986 Danny Clark Scr.
1987 Simon King 110 m
1988 Stephen Pate Scr.
1989 Grant Reynolds 150 m
1990 Danny Clark Scr.
1991 Stephen Pate Minus 10 m
1992 Bert Glennon 120 m
1993 Stephen Pate Minus 20 m
1994 Ashley Harding 140 m
1995 Tony Hughes 80 m
1996 Troy Clarke 45 m
1997 Matthew Atkins 100 m
1998 Shane Hodskiss 75 m
1999 Stephen Pate Scr.
2000 Gary Neiwand 70 m
2001 Mark French 80 m
2002 Darren Young
2003 Darren Young
2004 Zak Dempster
2005 Ben Kersten Scr.[4]
2006 Dean Taylor 130 m
2007 Joel Stewart 110 m[5]
2008 Jackson-Leigh Rathbone 40 m[6]
2009 Ben Sanders 80 m[7]
2011 Luke Ockerby 40 m[8]
2012 Luke Parker 90 m

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Paul Daffey, The 1975 Austral Wheelrace, The Age, 4 February 2006. Accessed 12 September 2008
  2. ^ echoed.com.au[dead link]
  3. ^ Back and beyond, The Age, 24 February 2007. Accessed 12 September 2008
  4. ^ Kersten wins Austral wheelrace, The Age, 26 February 2005. Accessed 12 September 2008
  5. ^ Joel Stewart wins Austral cycle race The Age, 24 February 2007. Accessed 12 September 2008
  6. ^ David Culbert, Rathbone scrapes home in Austral Wheelrace, The Age, 16 March 2008. Accessed 12 September 2008
  7. ^ http://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/.../sanders-wins-austral-wheelrace
  8. ^ http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/austral-wheelrace-ne/results