By Greg Johnson
Tasmania's month-long National Grid Christmas Carnival Series gets underway on December 23, 2006 at Rosebery's athletic carnival, with the post-Christmas cycling action commencing on Boxing Day, December 26, with Latrobe's two-day carnival.
"It's going to be fantastic," said president of the Sports Carnival Association of Tasmania (SCAT), Grant Atkins. "I think in total the riders, right across the board, are up on last year slightly, so that's good.
"We've been pushing a policy of trying to let the rest of Australia, out in those big cities, know it's a great series down here and I think that's starting to work."
The Christmas Carnivals' reputation has spread throughout the world of track cycling, and the races have featured riders and training squads from the USA, UK, many European nations and also Japan.
The annual event's growth is reflected in the corporate support from local and multinational businesses - including that of title sponsor National Grid. The United States-based firm, which has interests in mainland-based utilities, provides the island state with electricity from the mainland and has increased its ongoing support of the Christmas Carnival Series. "[They are] the third biggest utility provider in the United States - they've got a annual budget of US$64 billion, I understand," said Atkins. "We're very fortunate to have them; the sponsorship we've picked up this year is good."
To learn more about the 2007 Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals, click here.