Tassie Carnivals Review

Posted: January 9, 2013 in Opinion
Tags: ,

Back from a great trip to the Apple Island; caught up with friends and the youngsters got to race the carnivals.  It was an important year for the carnival organisers, having commissioned Jump Media to do a review into the carnivals a year ago (you can see it here), this was the first opportunity to see if they would implement any of these recommendations. As this is a junior blog, I will focus mostly on areas that concerned the junior competitors.

Part of recommendation 40 of the review was to specifically market the event to mainland junior cyclists.  Unfortunately the carnival series went backwards in a big way in making it appealing to junior cyclists, wherever they came from!  While those juniors that stayed in Victoria for its Christmas Carnivals got between four and six races at each carnival, sadly juniors in Tassie – especially the under-13 and under-15s – were treated like second-class citizens.  Two races at Latrobe (actually one for the under-15s after their Wheelrace was abandoned due to a crash and not rerun); three races at Launceston (one less than has been on offer in the proceeding 10-years); two on each day of Devonport (congratulations should go to Devonport as at least they moved them so the races were close together and out of the way within an hour of each other); and three at Burnie (with two-hours between each race).  That to me, is a big FAIL.

The Latrobe carnival started well with some good scratch racing although it did show up a real lack of depth over past years.  There was very little competition to outstanding local under-13 rider Daniel Di Domenico; while there was a big gap between the top three under-15s and the rest.  I guess that’s why handicap racing is good!  The under-17s did have good depth with two full grades and some close and exciting racing.  Maybe the under-17s come as they know they’re going to get a decent number of races?

One thing that was shown up as inadequate at Latrobe was the level of medical provided.  A nasty crash in the under-15s bought down nine riders.  Three ended up needing to go to hospital but had to wait for over 40-minutes for ambulances to arrive!  I would think that the carnivals could afford to have their own paramedics at each event (especially withe price of admission – $18 for Latrobe + $7 for a program and all for two races!).  While this wouldn’t have changed the wait for the ambos, it would have meant there were enough spine boards and other medical equipment to go around and someone other than a parent taking charge.

The Junior 2 (or under-15) Launceston Wheelrace Final wasn't held till 10.25pm - well after most 12 and 13 year old's bedtime!

The Junior 2 (or under-15) Launceston Wheelrace Final wasn’t held till 10.25pm – well after most 12 and 13 year old’s bedtime!

Got to say Launceston, usually my favourite carnival, was a real disappointment.  Rather than run an afternoon program to get some of the less interesting races and junior races out of the way, decided to run one long session starting at 5.30pm and running till after 11.30pm!  Madness.  No one is going to want to watch six-hours of track cycling.  I found myself sitting there waiting for the junior Wheelrace Finals at 10.15pm (when most of the kids would usually be tucked up in bed!), watching D-grade Elimination races!  Why?

Run an afternoon program to get through the majority of junior racing (be good to go back to four races for the under-13/15s) and a lot of the lower grade racing.  Then run a compact three-to-four-hour program that offers non-stop quality racing.  Cycling Victoria do it with both the Austral and the Melbourne Cup on Wheels… it’s not that hard.  And where did the wood chopping go!?!?!?

Devonport was Devonport – two days of well run racing BUT only two junior races per day!  Not sure how many people will come over from the mainland for that when ALL mainland events offer a minimum of three races for ALL grades (and usually more!).

Burnie was a good day but why can’t they put a program together that gets the three junior races out of the way early – or at least two of them with a bit of gap to the Wheelrace?  Then start the senior racing later in the program – it would work for everyone.

Other general comments:

  • Crowds were lacking compared to the past few years despite a cracking line-up of quality elite cyclists.
  • The new website is worse than the old website (if that’s possible).  It was dearly lacking in information and was updated maybe three times in the three months leading up to the carnivals.  Good job with the carnivals having a FaceBook page though.
  • Announcer wasn’t bad with juniors but was embarrassing to hear him trying to say Malaysian names and also he kept calling world champion Kenny De Ketele, Henry… was Henry his dad maybe?

Overall I’d give the carnivals a D-minus and suggest they in fact went backwards from the past few years.  Would love to hear what you think?

  1. tracy says:

    The entry fee for spectators and car parking was very costly. It was one cost too many on top of the cost to travel there. I agree cycling Dad there was a lot of waiting around between races even for the seniors, one of our riders had a 3 hour gap at Burnie. Tasmania Cycling need to do a lot of work if they want to attract more mainland entries. Many people also commented that the presence of a certain large group of riders kept many away due to safety concerns.

  2. Lynne says:

    I think that the cost of entry and program price that you refer to is Burnie’s not Latrobes. From memory adult admission at Latrobe is $15.00 and programs were definitely $5.00 as I have one sitting here beside me.

  3. SeniorCyclist says:

    I’m not sure about you, but it wasn only a couple of years ago I was in juniors and racing. I found when burnie had all three races within an hour and a half, it was exhausting and no crowd to race infront of. Launceston carnival was my favourite and still is because of the atmosphere when everyone is there getting ready for the mens wheel, as a junior it was the only racing experience like it for me and still is the best carnival. I agree however with the number of races dropping off. Sad to see.

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