Tales from Ben Kersten's corner, January 3, 2006
One of Australia's fastest men on two wheels, Sydney rider Ben Kersten is back in Tasmania for the Christmas carnivals. Winner of the Devonport wheel race in 2004, Kersten is looking to ramp up his preparations for the Commonwealth Games while sampling the tough conditions the Apple Isle has to offer. Cyclingnews will catch up with Kersten throughout the National Grid Christmas Carnivals to get his thoughts on a week in Tassie.
I guess I could complain about Launceston - but I had a pretty successful night, so...but I think having 11 races in one programme is asking a little too much. And again, having nine races in an hour and a half is a little too tough.
But you can't get much better response from a crowd, I think; we had a full house of about 4000 people and everyone of them was responsive and into it. They knew all the riders and there wasn't any negativity towards the riders - they just cheered for everyone, which is what you want to see. I reckon the back straight bar helped that along as well - it's just a shame the riders couldn't jump the fence and have a few!
That Madison - oh my god, that was a fast Madison! We've got some really good quality riders in Australia at the moment, and just watching them go round made me think twice about going endurance this year! I'd rather come last in a sprinter's race than do that Madison!
A busy programme in Launceston, and not as much money on offer - but you can catch that up at one of the wheelraces...I don't think I'll be able to do all those events next year; I almost caused myself an early death!
Seriously though, I didn't know how I'd go after such a busy night of racing - the morning after I went out for a ride in the rain, and 30 minutes later the legs started coming back - I came out here and felt like I didn't miss too much form, however.
I guess the first day in Devonport was the same as my first day in Latrobe - a bit of bad luck and I missed some finals through a series of unfortunate events. I think we'll call that day Lippety Snickets...yeah, I guess it's like Latrobe, where you have the legs, but you can't predict whether your heat can get to the final, and if you make it whether you cooked it too much to get there.
Day one in Devonport I had the legs - I had a good derby, with plenty of acceleration but by the end of the night I ran out of petrol and missed all the major events. It was a pretty disappointing day in all, but that's the Christmas carnivals for you, and tomorrow's another day!
See Ben's first Tassie diary entry - The curse of Latrobe