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 116
First Winner H. Lambton, AUS
Most Recent  Zach Williams (NZ)
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 minus 10m, in 1993 from minus 20m and 1999 from scratch.

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

Crisp winner of the Austral 1895.tif
Austral Wheel Race Winners
Year Venue Men's Winner Handicap Ref. Women's Winner Handicap
1 1887 [n 1] MCG H. Lambton, NSW 210 yd (190 m) [3]
2 1888 [n 1] MCG Dick Davis, SA Scr [4]
3 1889 [n 1] MCG J. Mullins, SA 140 yd (130 m) [5]
4 1890 [n 1] MCG Tom Busst, Vic Scr. [6]
5 1891 [n 1] MCG Arthur Turner 240 yd (220 m) [7]
6 1892 [n 1] MCG H.H. Lambton, Vic 200 yd (180 m) [8]
7 1893 MCG Gordon Woodward, Vic 270 yd (250 m) [9]
8 1894 MCG Alf Middleton, Vic 180 yd (160 m) [10]
9 1895 MCG A. Crisp 250 yd (230 m) [11]
10 1896 MCG Charles Kellow 15 yd (14 m) [12]
11 1897 MCG Jim Carpenter 85 yd (78 m) [13]
12 1898 MCG Finnigan, TomTom Finnigan 220 yd (200 m) [14]
13 1899 MCG Frank Beauchamp 150 yd (140 m) [15]
14 1900 MCG Charles Forbes 30 yd (27 m)
15 1901 MCG Bill Martin Scr
16 1902 MCG Murray Auger 240 yd (220 m)
17 1903 MCG Fred Scheps 160 yd (150 m)
18 1904 EXA Jack Clarke 150 yd (140 m)
19 1905 EXA J. Sandberg 170 yd (160 m)
20 1906 EXA Harry Thomas 20 yd (18 m)
21 1907 MCG A.C. Colvin 60 yd (55 m)
22 1908 MCG M. McPherson 150 yd (140 m)
23 1909 MCG A.H. Piano 40 yd (37 m)
24 1910 MCG Frank Corry 140 yd (130 m)
25 1912 EXI W. Priestly 60 yd (55 m)
26 1913 EXI P.B. Henry 60 yd (55 m)
27 1920 EXA Ern. Tamme 50 yd (46 m)
28 1921 EXA Lou Clifford 120 yd (110 m)
29 1922 EXA Fitzgerald, JackJack Fitzgerald Scr [16]
30 1923 EXA Dick Ford 120 yd (110 m)
31 1923 MD Pidge Davis 200 yd (180 m)
32 1925 MD Frank Corry 140 yd (130 m)
33 1925 EXA Eric Giboud 60 yd (55 m)
34 1927 [n 2] EXA Bowie Stevens 70 yd (64 m)
35 1927 [n 2] MD Cecil Hannerman 160 yd (150 m)
36 1927 [n 2] MD Cecil Manners 245 yd (224 m)
37 1929 MD Lamb, Richard “Fatty”Richard “Fatty” Lamb 30 yd (27 m) [17]
38 1936 [n 3] MD Thurgood, KeithKeith Thurgood 100 yd (91 m)
39 1936 [n 3] EXB Harry Webb 70 yd (64 m)
40 1937 EXB Jack Gardiner 205 yd (187 m) [18]
41 1938 EXB Jack Middleton 120 yd (110 m)
42 1939 NE Beasley, ClintonClinton Beasley 90 yd (82 m)
43 1940 NE Norm Stevens 20 yd (18 m)
44 1941 NE Ken Stewart 60 yd (55 m)
45 1942 NE Mick Bradley 160 yd (150 m)
46 1944 [n 3] NE Norm Munro 90 yd (82 m)
47 1944 [n 3] NE Tas. Johnson 30 yd (27 m)
48 1945 NE Tom Shillito 160 yd (150 m)
49 1946 NE Pat Devine 120 yd (110 m)
50 1947 NE George Bull 130 yd (120 m)
51 1948 NE Bill Kirkham 120 yd (110 m)
52 1950 NE Byron Bonney 120 yd (110 m)
53 1951 NE Kevin Marion 105 yd (96 m)
54 1952 NE Doug Jennings 120 yd (110 m)
55 1953 NE Tom Fitzgerald 140 yd (130 m)
56 1954 NE Alan Geddes 130 yd (120 m)
57 1955 NE Ron Murray 100 yd (91 m)
58 1956 NE Don Meharg 130 yd (120 m)
59 1957 NE John Robertson 100 yd (91 m)
60 1958 OP Neil Geraghty 100 yd (91 m)
61 1959 OP Beasley, VinVin Beasley 100 yd (91 m)
62 1960 OP David Good 100 yd (91 m)
63 1961 OP Fred Roche 40 yd (37 m)
64 1962 OP Patterson, SidSid Patterson Scr [19]
65 1963 OP Fred Hellyer 110 yd (100 m)
66 1964 OP Patterson, SidSid Patterson Scr.
67 1965 OP Kenton Smith 135 yd (123 m)
68 1966 OP Bill Dove 150 yd (140 m)
69 1967 OP Vic Browne 65 yd (59 m)
70 1968 OP Merv. Andrea 230 yd (210 m)
71 1969 OP Walsh, CharlieCharlie Walsh 50 yd (46 m)
72 1970 OP Bill Stevens 35 yd (32 m)
73 1971 BV Frank Daly 135 yd (123 m)
74 1972 BV Geoff Edmonds 20 yd (18 m)
75 1973 BV Johnson, GordonGordon Johnson Scr.
76 1974 BV Ivan Collings 90 yd (82 m)
77 1975 NV Craig Price 130 yd (120 m) [1]
78 1976 NV Allan, DavidDavid Allan 70 yd (64 m)
79 1977 NV Clark, DannyDanny Clark Scr.
80 1978 CV David Sanders [n 4] 50 m
81 1979 CV Venn, LaurieLaurie Venn Scr.
82 1980 CV Daryl Benson 90 m
83 1981 CV Venn, LaurieLaurie Venn Scr.
84 1982 NV Bishop, SteeleSteele Bishop Scr.
85 1983 NV Sawyer, PhilPhil Sawyer Scr.
86 1984 NV Terry Schintler 80 m
87 1985 NV Allan Rackstraw 80 m
88 1986 CV Clark, DannyDanny Clark Scr.
89 1987 NV Simon King 110 m
90 1988 NV Pate, StephenStephen Pate Scr.
91 1989 NV Grant Reynolds 150 m
92 1990 NV Clark, DannyDanny Clark Scr.
93 1991 NV Pate, StephenStephen Pate Minus 10 m
94 1992 NV Bert Glennon 120 m
95 1993 NV Pate, StephenStephen Pate Minus 20 m
96 1994 NV Ashley Harding 140 m
97 1995 NV Tony Hughes 80 m
98 1996 NV Troy Clarke 45 m
99 1997 NV Matthew Atkins 100 m
100 1998 NV Shane Hodskiss 75 m
101 1999 NV Pate, StephenStephen Pate Scr. [20]
102 2000 NV Neiwand, GaryGary Neiwand 70 m [21]
103 2001 MPMPV French, MarkMark French 80 m [22]
104 2002 MPMPV Young, DarrenDarren Young scr [23]
105 2003 MPMPV Young, DarrenDarren Young scr [24]
106 2004 MPMPV Dempster, ZakZak Dempster 90 m [25]
107 2005 MPMPV Kersten, BenBen Kersten Scr. [26]
108 2006 MPMPV Dean Taylor 130 m [27]
109 2007 MPMPV Joel Stewart 110 m [28]
110 2008 MPMPV Jackson-Leigh Rathbone 40 m [29]
111 2009 [n 3] MPMPV Perkins, ShaneShane Perkins 15 m [30]
112 2009 [n 3] DISC Ben Sanders [n 4] 80 m [31]
113 2011 DISC Luke Ockerby 45 m [32]
114 2012 DISC Parker, LukeLuke Parker 90 m [33] Edmondson, AnnetteAnnette Edmondson Scr.
115 2013 DISC Niblett, JasonJason Niblett 90 m [34] Caitlin Ward 20 m
116 2014 MPMPV  Zach Williams (NZ) 105 m [35] Brooke Tucker 110 m

Venues[edit]

Venues
Venue Surface Years
BV Brunswick Velodrome Cement 1971-1974
CV Coburg Velodrome Cement 1978-1981 1986
DISC Darebin International Sports Centre Timber 2009-2013
EXA Exhibition Track Asphalt 1904-1906, 1920-1923 1925-1927
EXB Exhibition Board Track Timber 1936-1938
EXI Exhibition Indoor Track Timber 1912-1913
MCG Melbourne Cricket Ground Grass 1887-1903 1907-1910
MD Motordrome (Olympic Park) Cement 1923-1925 1927-1936
MPMPV Melbourne Park Multi-Purpose Venue AKA Vodafone Arena / Hisense Arena Timber 2001-2009 2014-
NE North Essendon Board Track Timber 1939-1957
NV Northcote Velodrome Cement 1975-1977 1982-1985 1988-2000
OP Olympic Park Velodrome Timber 1958-1970

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Ridden on ordinary or Penny-farthing bicycles
  2. ^ a b c Same Year, Different Season, Venues & Promoters
  3. ^ a b c d e f Same Year, Different Season
  4. ^ a b 2009 winner Ben Sanders is the son of 1978 winner David Sanders.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The 1975 Austral Wheelrace". The Age (Melbourne, Vic.). 4 February 2006. 
  2. ^ "A cycling judge's bets. Why the resignation was requested. The austral wheel case". The Age (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 17 January 1903. p. 8. 
  3. ^ "Melbourne Bicycle Club Race Meeting". The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 26 November 1887. p. 23. 
  4. ^ "Cycling". The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 24 November 1888. p. 31. 
  5. ^ "Wheel notes". The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 30 November 1889. p. 23. 
  6. ^ "Melbourne Bicycle Club Spring Meeting". The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 29 November 1890. p. 19. 
  7. ^ "Melbourne Bicycle Club Sports". The Age (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 23 November 1891. p. 6. 
  8. ^ "Melbourne Bicycle Club's Sports". The Referee (newspaper) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 16 November 1892. p. 3. 
  9. ^ "The Austral Wheel Race". The Referee (newspaper) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 13 December 1893. p. 3. 
  10. ^ "The cycling championship at Melbourne". The Referee (newspaper) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 12 December 1894. p. 3. 
  11. ^ "The M.B.C. meeting". The Referee (newspaper) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 11 December 1895. p. 3. 
  12. ^ "The Austral Final". The Referee (newspaper) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 9 December 1896. p. 6. 
  13. ^ "The Austral". The Referee (newspaper) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 15 December 1897. p. 6. 
  14. ^ "THE AUSTRAL WHEEL RACE.". The Referee (newspaper) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 14 December 1898. p. 6. 
  15. ^ "The Austral Meeting". The Referee (newspaper) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 20 December 1899. p. 6. 
  16. ^ "15,000 People Applaud Fitzgerald's Austral Victory.". The Sporting Globe (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 22 November 1922. p. 13. 
  17. ^ "Lamb's Double — Wins "Austral" Wheel Race and Paced Event Brilliantly.". Sporting Globe (Melbourne: National Library of Australia). 6 March 1929. p. 10. 
  18. ^ "Stole Austral". The Referee (newspaper) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 9 December 1937. p. 28. 
  19. ^ "Back and beyond". The Age (Melbourne, Vic.). 24 February 2007. 
  20. ^ "Northcote Velodrome, 101st Austral Wheel Race, 2000m, February 13e". cyclingnews.com. 
  21. ^ "Austral Wheelrace Melbourne, Australia, February 12, 2000". cyclingnews.com. 
  22. ^ "103rd Austral Wheelrace". cyclingnews.com. 
  23. ^ "Austral goes to Tasmanian Young-gun". cyclingnews.com. 
  24. ^ "Darren Young takes historic double". cyclingnews.com. 
  25. ^ "Bendigo teenager claims 106th Austral". cyclingnews.com. 
  26. ^ "Kersten wins Austral wheelrace". The Age (Melbourne, Vic.). 26 February 2005. 
  27. ^ "Sixth time the charm for Taylor". cyclingnews.com. 
  28. ^ "Joel Stewart wins Austral cycle race". The Age (Melbourne, Vic.). 24 February 2007. 
  29. ^ "Rathbone scrapes home in Austral Wheelrace". The Age (Melbourne, Vic.). 16 March 2008. 
  30. ^ "Perkins powers to Austral crown". cyclingnews.com. 
  31. ^ a b "Sanders wins Austral Wheelrace". SBS. 
  32. ^ "Ockerby wins maiden Austral crown". cyclingnews.com. 
  33. ^ "Edmondson and Parker the stars of the 2012 Austral". Cycling Victoria. 2012-03-17. Archived from the original on 2015-04-03. 
  34. ^ "The 115th Austral Wheelrace Taken By Jason Niblett". cyclingtips.com.au. 
  35. ^ "A packed house welcomes the Austral back to Hisense". Cycling Victoria. Archived from the original on 2015-08-03.