Its timing, a week after the main Tasmanian Christmas carnivals, has traditionally meant the Hobart Bikes and Spikes Cycling and Athletic Carnival (to be held in 2006 at the New Town sports ground on Saturday January 8) has been a sort of distant cousin to the north coast carnivals.
In recent years, however, the Hobart carnival has been enjoying higher attendances, with a crowd estimated at 2000 for the 2005 edition back in January. For the 2006 event, increased prize money means there'll be even more reason to turn up, for both riders and spectators. There's over $18,000 to be won, with the Parmic Fire Protection Wheelrace being worth $4000 and the Eyelines Gift running event $3000. The A grade scratch race will also be worth $1000.
Carnival Organiser Ray Quarrell and his committee are determined to lift the status of the carnival to that of the major north west coast carnivals. The Hobart Athletic Club is now a member of the Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania with the Association also committed to raising the profile of the carnival.
This year three cycling events the scratch, derby and wheelrace will be part of the National Star Series Award, which will encourage cyclists to compete at the carnival.
At this point entries for the carnival have not been finalised but it is anticipated there will be a number of scratch riders competing. It’s believed scratch riders Todd Wilksch from Victoria and Tasmanian Darren Young have entered and it is anticipated American Jame Carney will also ride.
The Sports carnivals Association is endeavouring to have riders stay over for the carnival despite the gap of seven days from the New Years Day Carnival at Burnie.
There is however no doubt the number of cycling entries will be up on previous years and southern patrons can expect to see great carnival action.
For more on the Tasmanian Christmas carnivals see the SCAT website.