National gold for McFarlane
THOMAS McFarlane of Leongatha has returned home from the 2013 Cycling Australia Junior Track National Championships with a gold medal in his back pocket.
McFarlane collected gold in the final of the Under 17 team sprint race on Friday night by crossing the line for Victoria just three hundredths of a second ahead of the New South Wales team.
At just 14 and entering the bottom age of the Under 17 category, there were no high expectations of medals for McFarlane, but when he and his two Victorian team members Ryan Schilt (Brunswick Cycling Club) and Gary Ramshaw (Caulfield Carnegie Cycling Club) finished second behind New South Wales in the qualifying race, they thought they were in for a show.
Needing to improve just marginally to win gold in the final, Thomas and his teammates were revved up and they crossed the line by about half a wheel.
Thomas didn’t even think he would make the Victoria “A” team of three for the sprint race but his times and performances earnt him a place as the lead-out rider. The race is three laps (750 metres) and the lead-out rider goes flat out for one lap then peels off. The remaining two do another lap before the second rider peels off leaving the last member of the team to complete the third lap.
“I thought I could improve my start in the final just enough to give us a chance to win gold and I was happy with my start.”
As the two teams crossed the finish line, McFarlane still was unaware who had won. But a fist pump by his teammate as he saw the big screen and the result confirmed gold had been won.
The strong Cameron Scott of New South Wales was flying home but couldn’t bridge the gap.
The average speed of the three laps was 55 km/h but in reality, if the start is taken out, it is more likely to exceed 60 km/h.
McFarlane has now claimed two gold and two silver medals at a national level, having won other medals at the championships in Melbourne last year in the Under 15 age bracket.
McFarlane competed in two other events at the championships, the 200 metres sprint event, winning his qualifying and making the last eight, finishing seventh overall.
He also competed in Saturday’s scratch race of 30 laps. With the pace flat out from the outset McFarlane and many of the other riders were dropped with several laps to go.
Victoria finished second overall in the championships featuring girls and boys in Under 15 and Under 17 age groups. New South Wales won overall.
Nine riders competed in Victoria’s Under 17 team, all competitors getting in the medals. Thomas’s father David was one of the team mechanics for the championships and was thrilled to see Thomas win a gold medal.
For McFarlane it is time to complete the track season with his home club, the Leongatha Cycling Club before a break and then the commencement of the road season.
Towards the middle of the year McFarlane will be gearing up for State and then National road titles.
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