Victorian Christmas Carnivals

Ararat Carnival, incorporating the Ladies Diamond Stakes

Each Christmas, around Australia are various series’ of track events – the series is called a “Carnival ” and there is a Carnival in Tasmania and a Carnival in Victoria in this last week of December 2004. 

WomensCycling.net paid a visit to the Ararat Carnival event in Northwest Victoria, a good way towards the South Australia border on Tuesday. This event includes the Ladies Diamond Stakes – the richest track event for women in Australia. A handicapped event which sees the first 4 from 4 heats into the final. The prize at stake - $5000 of diamonds, provided by the Australian Diamond Company of Melbourne. 

There are plenty of other events on the programme – over 50 in total and at 10 events for the women and girls.

On a grey day, the competition was intense on the small, steep 250m outdoor track at Ararat. The Carnival atmosphere was friendly and although windy and chilly, the welcome was warm.

“Something Beautiful” Girls 1000m Mini Diamond Wheelrace Final

Darcie Hastwell took this event, sponsored by the Melbourne Diamond Company, she told WomensCycling.net that she “was pleased with how I went – I struggled yesterday.” “I waited and thought that Emma  (Lang) and Ellie (Blackie) were close, but then decided to kick for the line.”

1 Darcie Hastwell

2 Imogen Jelbart

3 Emma Lang


Women’s 1000m Handicap Final

Won easily by Carly McCoombe, from Bendigo, the 4 lap race saw Brodie Stewart from Queensland second and Sinead Cosgrove (NSW) third. Carly spoke to WomensCycling.net afterwards, she was “pleased with my result – normally Jessica (McKay) will take a long run home, but she didn’t today, plus I felt strong and so led through to the finish.”


Norm Christian Memorial Italian Pursuit

In this 3-per-team event which is a mixture of Team Sprint and Team Pursuit, the girl’s team beat the boy’s by over half a second.

Imogen Jelbart 1’09.98 Hamish Kelly  1’10.68
Natasha Langedyke Alex McKay
Ellie Blackie  Todd Satchell


Seppelts Champagne Stakes / Sicilian’s Café Bar & Restaurant

Heats – first 4 to final

Heat 1

In a time of 1’15.6, Tahlia Clayton, with a starting mark of 100m took victory in the first heat from Erin Peoples (80m), Nicole Holt (75m) and Aimee Howlett (85m).  Time 1’15.6

Heat 2

Bianca Rogers rode strongly from 10m to win from last year’s winner - Jessica Berry (also 10m), Tiffany Godfrey (30m) and Elizabeth Georgouras (20m)

Heat 3

The longmarkers were able to close the gap to what had become a bunch of riders before a crash with 2 to go took out Elizabeth Wishart, Maryam Rodgers and Jennifer Loutit. With the warning to stay high heeded by the riders, there was a chance to catch breath before the sprint for the line, which was won by Peta Mullins. Second was Kerrie Meares, third was Tess Downing and fourth, Skye-Lee Armstrong. Time 1’16.15


An easy victory for Kerrie Meares made up for what might have been considered a disappointing performance at Horsham yesterday. Erin Peoples was second and Bianca Rogers was third. Aimee Howlett was fourth. Meares’ winning time was 1’14.51


Ararat Amcal Pharmacy W17 1000m Handicap Final

In a show of speed which will ruin her handicap chances for the rest of the week, Chloe Hosking shot off the front of the field with 150m to go of this 4 lap race. Her winning time was a respectable 1’18.59. “I felt really strong – I sat in for most of the race knowing  that I could kick with about 200 to go. I was really excited and pleased that noone followed me”.

1 Chloe Hosking

2 Georgina Freeland

3 Netasha Pearse


The teabreak was brought forward as it began to rain, but an hour later, the track was dry again - despite the very cool evening drawing-in. Stories from regulars about searching for shade in the 38'C+ temperatures of last year seemed a world away as riders donned leg and armwarmers and spectators sat wrapped in their picnic blankets.

Layard Park Investments Omnium - Round 2

This event is a points race which is contested each day of the Victorian Christmas Carnivals. Bianca Rogers dominated the sprints, winning the first two and placing in the others. Second place went to Tiffany Godfrey and third place to Tess Downing. 

1 Bianca Rogers    11points

2 Tiffany Godgrey      9 points

3 Tess Downing        4  points

4  Tiffany Cromwell   4 points


Australian Diamond Company 2004 Diamond Stakes

Heats - first 8 in each to final

Heat 1 

In a relatively slow time of 2'39.32, Tahlia Clayton easily made her way into the final of this, the richest race for women in the Australian track calendar.

1 Tahlia Clayton

2 Aimee Howlett

3 Louise Bourke

4 Nicole Holt

5 Hannah Bush

6 Elizabeth Wishart 

7 Peta Mullins

8 Roz Bradley

Heat 2

A much faster time for this race and perhaps a show of form for later in the evening, Erin Peoples took the race from Kylie Howlett and Briana James. Heat time was 2'36.82. Scratch rider, Kerrie Meares had to work hard, 6 riders managed to stay away, meaning that only the first 2 from the bunch would qualify.

1 Erin Peoples

2 Kylie Howlett

3 Briana James

4 Melissa White

5 Jessica Berry

6 Tiffany Godfrey

7 Lira Mason

8 Kerrie Meares 



The final for this event, which gives its name to the Carnival, was run off with just two longmarkers - Jessica Berry on 15m and Kerrie Meares on scratch. With the rest of the field spread around the 250m oval at the start of the 6 lap race, it was a 'big ask' for Berry and Meares to even make contact with the others. Too big an ask, as it turned out.

Whilst the other finalists quickly grouped-up and Meares caught Berry, there was no hope that any more could be done - there was always at least half a lap from these two and the next riders on the track. 

With a blisteringly fast time of 2'32.04, Erin Peoples from Shepparton had time to look around before crossing the line for victory in front of local, Tahlia Clayton and Hannah Bush. Fourth placed Aimee Wright, another local, was also presented with a diamond at the end of the evening. The Australian Diamond Company from Melbourne provides certificated diamonds for the first 4.

Prizes were presented on behalf of business owner, Daniel Gunn by Roshini Balasubramanian.


1 Erin Peoples

2 Tahlia Clayton

3 Hannah Bush

4 Aimee Wright


Scratch Races

The evening for the  junior women and the senior women was rounded-up with scratch races. In the A grade race, sprint tactics - some 'cat and mouse' was used as the whole bunch slowed approaching the line with 2 laps to go. Georgina Freeland took the win in the end. There was less visible tactics in the B grade race, but the finish was just as exciting when visitor from NSW, Chey Howard won. 

W17 A Grade Scratch 

1 Georgina Freeland

2 Courtney LeLay

3 Netasha Pearse

W17 B Grade Scratch 

1 Chey Howard

2 Stacey Kramer

3 Kate Perry

Women's A Grade Scratch 

A consolation for Jessica Berry - last year's Diamond Stakes winner, as she took the A Grade scratch. Bianca Rogers went early, taking the sprints on the way, but was unable to stay out front - eventually finishing fourth.

1 Jessica Berry 

2 Tiffany Godfrey

3 Sarah White

4 Bianca Rogers


Women's B Grade Scratch

Elizabeth Wishart recovered from the crash earlier in the meet to take the B Grade race. Kylie Howlett - from the promoting cycling club was second and Erin Peoples rounded-off a successful day with third place.

1 Elizabeth Wishart   

2 Kylie Howlett

3 Erin Peoples


Women's C Grade Scratch

Continuing her successful day on her 'home' track, Aimee Howlett took the honours from Tahlia Clayton and Mellisa White.

1 Aimee Howlett

2 Tahlia Clayton

3 Melissa White





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