Records tumble at Canterbury Velodrome re-opening

By Greg Johnson

Three new records have been set at the re-opening of Canterbury Velodrome in Sydney today to promote the venue's upcoming Sydney Thousand race. Kaarle McCulloch toppled Rochelle Gilmore's top velodrome speed of 74kph setting a new benchmark of 75kph.

Former Junior World Champion Mark French also claimed a record by shaving 0.16sec of Martin Vinnicombe's 22-year-old lap record at the venue - setting a new time of 18.62sec. French's effort secured the Victorian a $500 contract and guaranteed start in the upcoming Sydney Thousand to be held at the velodrome.

Olympic gold medalist Steve Wooldridge was unable to conquer Ben Kersten's highest recorded speed, set on an indoor, with Wooldridge hampered by the gusty conditions. Wooldridge did however manage to set a new outdoor record at 84kph.

"The track has been transformed over the past two months with considerable help from Canterbury Council," explained co-organiser John Scott. "Outdoor competition still has a lot to offer," added event manager Phil Bates. "I've seen huge crowds here in the past. The beauty is you have a railway line just 100 meters away."

The facility's $40,000 makeover, carried out specifically for the Sydney Thousand, includes cleaning and smoothing of the existing surface, new grandstand seats, safety rails and repair of a collapsed pier underneath the track's eastern end.

"Compared to other outdoor circuits I've competed on it's world class," noted French. The Sydney Thousand, which will be held on Sunday, October 29, is one of Australia's most historic cycling competitions. The event's first running attracted a crowd of 54,000 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1903.

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Images by Greg Johnson/

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