ARARAT - Local up and coming cycling star Thomas Hamilton dominated a class field to win the premier event at Saturday's Ararat Classic Track Carnival.
Hamilton, 18, held an unassailable lead for more than 40 laps of the elite men Aces 50-lap scratch race, before he stormed home ahead of Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sean Finning of Castlemaine, and two-time Aces winner Bendigo's Brendan Schultz.
It was only the second time Hamilton had competed in the prestigious event, his first being at last year's carnival where he placed third.
Earlier in the day Hamilton got his winning run started with victory in the Ararat Business Houses 2000-metre Men's Elite and 19 Wheelrace.
Darryl Patzel and Ararat's Greg Hogan led a bunch of five in the final laps of the race, before Hamilton and Sam Crone caught and overtook the group by the bell lap. In a tight finish Hamilton hung on and scraped across the line for first place.
Success at his hometown carnival capped a brilliant 12 months for Hamilton, who has decorations at state and national level, including the national junior team time trial record, and most recently second in the 2011 JM19 state road championships.
Continuing the Ararat and District Cycling Club's winning streak was Luke Pretlove, who took a win in the Ararat Farm Supplies 3000-metre motor pace and was runner up to Caleb Sinclair and Hogan in the John and Laurie Dunn 1500-metre handicap.
The women's Elite, 19 and 17 divisions ran combined races, and saw Imogen Jelbart of Bendigo, the 2011 Victorian Women's Omnium champion, salute in the 3000-metre motor pace event.
Jelbart led in the final lap, and held on to win ahead of Tayla Evans and National Track Champion Caitlin Ward.
In all of the combined events, Ararat's Zoe Nicholson finished ahead of her fellow under 17 competitor Olivia Nolte. The Mackays Jewellers 2000-metre wheelrace saw Nicholson and Nolte leading, before being chased down with three laps to go, as Jelbart scored another win with Lane Hammond and Ward behind.
The women's Sicilians Keirin was again a combined event, however saw Nicholson victorious in the W17 division, Jelbart claiming another victory in the Elite division, and Evans in W19.
The Men's KHS Contract Keirin was much anticipated, with the appearance of local gun Jaron Gardiner, world Junior 'Kilo' time trial champion and more recently the 2011 Victorian Senior time trial champion.
Unfortunately Gardiner was off form with illness and could only manage fourth place behind Zac Shaw (Colac), Jacob Schmid (Caulfield-Carnegie) and Mark Flood (Bendigo).
Another successful Ararat cyclist Caiden Hull, most recently third in the state 2011 junior road championships and a representative of Victoria at the National Track Championships, finished second in the Chalambar Hotel junior men's Keirin, behind Caulfield-Carnegie colleague Thomas Verleys-Donk.
Alice Culling of Ararat had a great day in the Junior Girls' 13 division, winning the 1000-metre wheelrace, 1500-metre scratch race and 750-metre handicap, while it was a great local victory in the Ararat Auto Electrical 750-metre wheelrace final, with Caitlyn Nicholson first followed by Jeziah Woods and Alex Van Opstal.
For helping to make it another successful year at the carnival, the Ararat Cycling Club thanked volunteers, Cyclesport Victoria officials, the announcer, and local businesses for sponsorship.