NEW DATES ANNOUNCED
Tasmanian Summer Sports Carnivals
December 26 - January 2
CARNIVALS EXPAND TO RECORD EIGHT DAYS
The Tasmanian Christmas Sports Carnivals received a tremendous boost today with the revelation that they will be expanded into a record eight-day format for 2014-15.
The program will feature four closed circuit cycling street races (criteriums) in a concerted bid to make the overall track and road schedule more attractive to top-rated interstate and overseas bike riders.
The carnivals will enter new territory and now embrace seven municipalities – Meander Valley, Launceston, Latrobe, Central Coast, Devonport, Burnie and Kentish.
Criteriums will be held in Westbury, Ulverstone, Burnie and Sheffield. (schedule attached).
The eight-day series will kick-off on Boxing Day ( Friday, December 26) with a 30-lap evening criterium at the beautiful village green circuit in Westbury. It will be followed the next night by the traditional Launceston track cycling carnival at the Silverdome.
The Launceston meeting, acclaimed as best carnival of the series in 2013-14, will be celebrating its 30th anniversary and will again feature athletics and wood-chopping events.
The time-honoured track meetings at Latrobe, Devonport and Burnie, with a history dating back to the 1880s, will again figure prominently in the carnivals’ format.
But the 127-year-old New Year’s Day meeting at Burnie will no longer herald the conclusion of the series. Sheffield will host a lunch-time town criterium on Friday, January 2, in a festive grand finale-style celebration designed to appeal to families and other holiday-makers.
INTERSTATE & OVERSEAS
The carnivals’ promotions director John Craven said the expansion of the format into an eight-day sports extravaganza was deliberately aimed at taking the heat off the Burnie New Year’s Day meeting in terms of retaining interstate and overseas cyclists in Tasmania.
“There has been a tendency in the past for some riders to skip Burnie and head back to the mainland for other events,” Craven said. “We are endeavouring to persuade cyclists to concentrate totally on Tasmania during the post Christmas Day-New Year period.
“We are saying to the competitors: ‘Have Christmas Day at home with your families, but head over to Tasmania on Boxing Day for eight days of
terrifically rewarding and enjoyable competition in a pristine and friendly environment.’
“We must not lose sight of the niggling fact that the January-early February cycling program in mainland Australia is crammed with quality events, including track carnivals in Bendigo, Ararat, Horsham and Wangaratta, the Bay Series Criteriums, the Australian road titles in Ballarat, Tour Down Under, the Herald Sun Tour, and now the new Cadel Evans road race in Geelong.
“The Tassie carnivals can either roll over and give up or embrace the competition and use it to advantage.
“We will invite teams and individual riders to come to Tasmania to race the carnivals, but also use the magnificent local terrain to train on in preparation for the major mainland events.
“Jack Bobridge, the world individual pursuit record-holder, adopted this approach last year and later declared he had never felt better when he lined up for the Australian road championship a week later.”
Craven has been negotiating with councils, public authorities and potential sponsors for several months in putting together the expanded schedule. He will be in Tasmania during the next two weeks for further meetings.
“It is exciting to have overwhelming backing from the three new municipalities, Meander Valley, Central Coast and Kentish, in the carnivals’ program,” Craven said. “They will give the series a fresh injection of enthusiasm.”
Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania president Mike Gunson said SCAT was in complete support of the innovative format.
“The tourism opportunities in this expanded program are enormous for Tasmania,” Gunson said.
“It’s important to attract the competitors to Tassie for the eight-day series, but what about their families, friends and associated spectators? They can watch some great sport, but also visit our countless tourist attractions.
“All this is part of revitalising the carnivals’ culture. If we sit still and bask on past highlights we are doomed. Our enthusiasm for these changes is sky-high and we will make them work.”
John Craven (0408 558 469)
Mike Gunson (0408 544 806)
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