By Rod Morris
The Latrobe Carnival, the opening event of the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals series, may return to two days in 2006. Latrobe Bicycle Race Club (LBRC) secretary Dennis Chugg said yesterday, the possibility of a return to two days had been flagged at committee level and there was increasing interest. Now in its 109th year, the Latrobe Carnival has been a one-day affair for approximately the last 12 years, but for many years prior to that was conducted on the afternoon of Christmas Day and all of Boxing Day.
Mr Chugg said there were a number of once-traditional events that his club had been forced to delete from the programme because of commitments to other events. "The Patron's 2000 m Handicap and 1000 m Lightning Handicap for cyclists are no longer and for runners, we no longer have the 70 sprint or the old "two-mile" (3200 m) race," he said.
Mr Chugg said the possibility of returning to a two day carnival would include Boxing Day and December 27, now that the Launceston International Criterium is no longer held. "The day after Boxing Day is now spare on the Carnivals calendar and the LBRC is seriously considering taking up the option of running over two days. Also if we went back to a two day carnival, we could re-introduce the Calcutta on the Latrobe Wheel. The Calcutta was always a big affair and held on Christmas Eve and I for one would like to see it return."
Mr Chugg also said the current situation where A Grade riders are subjected to an 8000 m and a 16,000 m scratch race within two hours of each other could be alleviated if the LBRC went back to two days. The LBRC had been under pressure last year to include more than two races for junior riders. It bowed to that pressure this season and offered the youngsters three races each.
Going to two days would give the club more scope to look after senior, junior and female riders, as well as adding more running races to the programme. "Prize money shouldn't be an issue as the club has an attractive array of current sponsors and I'm sure we could adequately look after all of them if we added new events to the programme," he said.
The LBRC is expected to make a decision at its first general meeting in 2006.
The Tasmanian Christmas carnivals series started yesterday with the Latrobe carnival. For a full report from the day's racing click here.