By Rod Morris
Despite not adding to his tally at the Latrobe Boxing Day Carnival, Launceston's Will Robinson will carry a slender lead into today's Silverdome Carnival in Cycling Tasmania's Rider-of-the-Season award.
Now in its fifth season of operation, the award recognizes the best performing riders at all track carnivals over the summer months. Four carnivals have been held to date with events at Launceston, Devonport (x2), Burnie, Hobart, Rosebery, Mersey Valley and St Helens still to come.
Robinson - a winner of the equivalent award at junior level - has tallied 16 points, which includes two wins and two second placings and leads by just one point from Latrobe's Nathan Clarke. Clarke jumped into second place after scoring a third position in the 8000 m A Grade Scratch at Latrobe on Boxing Day.
Outright third is Burnie's Aaron Jones, while Devonport teenager Jarrod Harman is in fourth, but only three points behind Robinson.
The award carries a sliding scale of points in all handicap finals and all graded scratch races. Invitational and specialty races such as keirins, derby's and eliminations are not included in the award.
Previous winners of the award include Jame Carney (2001-02), Michael Johnson (2002-03) and Ben Price in each of the last two seasons.
Improving Ulverstone teenager Sarah Cure leads the women's series, although she has only 2-points to spare over Devonport's Emma Smith and newly crowned Latrobe Wheel champion, Emma Heynes.
In the junior award, Ulverstone's Luke Ockerby has stretched his lead to 6-points after a moderately successful Boxing Day Carnival. Ockerby has won six races already this summer and has placed in two other events to tally 35-points.
His closest challenger is Andrew Smith, who added to his score by winning the Under 17 Wheelrace at Latrobe on Monday. Scottsdale's Ben Grenda is handily placed in third, courtesy of four scratch wins from each of the four carnivals held so far.