A great night's racing!
I managed to swing a couple of media passes to Revolution No.2 last night courtesy of a few photo sales and asking the right people the right questions, and I now have a swag more closeup racing photos and fan shots (Kerrie Meares, you are wonderful!). It very challenging conditions for photography at Vodafone, I like to get in close with at most a 70mm lens rather than shoot from a long way out with a long lens, and running my camera at 1600asa in the dark makes for a very unforgiving depth of field with any sort of reasonable shutter speed. My camera, even at 1600asa, gets quite grainy so 3200asa isn't a good choice, and I don't like using flash, it flattens things out too much. So I got a lot of miss-hits and blurry photos, but I did get a couple that may be worth selling, so that's good.
The racing was very good, I'm still somewhat bemused at the inclusion of the derney race, it's kinda pointless, which isn't to say it's easy (far from it!) but that it's really a bunch of motorpaced ITTs going on at the same time. The only way to make it interesting from a tactical perspective is to see what Graham Brown did, when his derney was too slow (!) he jumped from it to Alan Davis' derney, and then proceeded to leapfrog from derney to derney trying to make places. I'm not sure that's legal in that race, it's certainly a novel tactic and one that ultimately brought Browney unstuck as the effort took its toll and he DNF'd, but he earned the admiration of the very full crowd. Stuart O'Grady won that particular event, some were heard to say that he had the advantage of having the biggest derney and biggest derney rider to draft, it may have helped somewhat, but the result was a popular one and the crowd was thrilled.
The night was marred by a nasty almost all-in crash in the junior mens scratch race, one rider hooked up close to the front going for a gap as another came down into it, and they wiped out almost the entire rest of the field on the back straight. One unfortunate lad even went over the railing and almost into the crowd. Very luckily no-one was badly hurt but a lot of bikes were broken and the field for the rest of the junior mens racing was quite sparse.
Anna and Kerrie Meares predictably dominated the womens sprinting, they're a class above the other women that were there, that doesn't mean the racing was boring, it was fantastic seeing them when they really jumped hard and just how fast they are. Like watching Lance Armstrong win a Tour, but in about 30 seconds, not three weeks. A great exhibition and superb to watch.
Rochelle Gilmore had a pretty quiet night, she's one of the stars of women's track enduro but she didn't feature much, it's off-season for a lot of European pros and maybe this is just a bad time of year for her?
I had a friend in the Melbourne Cup on Wheels, big Stu Vaughan (the V-Train), the current masters world champion pursuiter and general track gentleman (until he kicks, and then everyone's in a world of hurt!) was off 170 metres with a reasonable group for the major race of the night, his quartet stayed clear of the big group of backmarkers for almost long enough, but then with a lap and a bit to go they were caught and no-one had an answer to Leigh Howard's sprint (not even Browney, despite some ... assertive ... riding near the front with 100m to go, would you like any mint sauce with your chops, Graham?) and Leigh was a deserving winner of his second MCOW.
There was loads of match sprinting and a couple of kerins, and the Jayco/VIS boys did well in them, Ryan Bailey seemed a bit off but still managed to win the sprints in his usual 'monkey humping a tennisball' style. It looks awful, but it's very effective. I felt a bit sorry for Shane Kelly, he's a great champion and still has a lot of speed, but he wasn't quite there and it must have been frustrating sometimes to have the kids blow past him. I hope he'll be at the Bendigo Madison again this coming March, watching him race is a joy, he's one of the best and a great ambassador for the sport. He's not far off masters and I hope that he's one of those people that races for the love of racing, and that he'll keep on for a long time yet.
All my photos are here.