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.