By Paul Verkuylen in Launceston
For Mark Jamieson, the Tasmanian Christmas carnivals probably haven't come at the best time, but for the Tasmanian local he is just happy to be riding in front of family and friends. "My family and friends don't get to see me race much. I am not in the best of form but it is good to come out here and race."
The young Olympic hopeful is in the middle of a big training block that has seen him doing some tough training on the roads in his home state."I have been doing two to three hours before each days racing," he explained. "We did 140km in the hills yesterday."
Jamieson, who is focusing all his energy on getting a spot for the Olympics, was pleased to see such a huge crowd in Launceston, and believes that having Shane Kelly in the field is a big draw card.
The last time Kelly visited the carnivals Jamieson was just 11 years old - a child with aspirations of one day representing his country on the bike. "I was here when Kelly set the lap record back in 1996. Back then I was just a kid, but I remember shaking his hand and having a bit of a chat," he said. "It was an inspiration to see him do that back then [break the lap record]."
Jamieson must have taken inspiration from one of his heroes as shortly after Kelly took the Kierin final, he lined up in the scratch race, going on the win the event by lapping the field. "I have been to world and Commonwealth games but nothing beats the atmosphere of the Christmas carnivals," he explained.