Craft works to build NSW carnivals

The first NSW Christmas carnival since the mid-late 1980s will take place from January 1 to 3, 2009 in various Sydney suburbs, according to Sydney-based cycling promoter Paul Craft.

"Clearly, the plan is to expand the series into a much bigger event and within two years I intend to have a full 6-day carnival," said Craft. "If the Sydney series is going to compete against the already established Christmas Carnivals of Victoria and Tasmania it will need to be of a different nature and style to the events down south.

"I plan to run the Sydney carnivals as a series rather than individual events, with significant prize money for the overall classification in a similar fashion to the very popular European Six Days. I intend to explore the possibility of running the A grade on the same format as a 6-day with teams, points, laps and similar events.

"The concept of a Sydney Christmas carnival also has some significant advantages, mostly to do with location," continued Craft. "It should be possible for traveling competitors to stay at one central location with each velodrome less than a 30 minute drive away. The other significant advantage is the guarantee of racing! If the weather turns nasty we simply move that night's event to the Dunc Gray Velodrome. This is a major advantage as most competitive track cyclists are deterred by long distance travel when they can't be guaranteed a full program of competition."

This year, being the inaugural year of the event, will showcase the potential of the Sydney Christmas Carnival with a strong domestic field expected. "Since this is the first year, I requested only three sponsors, one for each carnival, and was stunned when I had the positions filled within 24 hours of the request. The Tempe carnival on January 1 is sponsored by Peter Bundy Cycles, the Lidcombe carnival on January 2 is supported by Avico Electronics and the Dunc Gray Velodrome carnival on January 3 has the backing of Australian track shoe manufacture Bont.

Racing at all carnivals starts at 6pm.

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