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Australian duo Kelland O’Brien and Leigh Howard took the overall win at Six Day Melbourne after a crash took out their rivals.
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O’Brien and Howard had trailed from the opening night, but a skilful Madison performance on Friday (February 8) saw the pairing go two points clear of compatriots Sam Welsford and Cameron Scott.
There was plenty for the Melbourne crowd to celebrate as home favourites Annette Edmondson conquered the women’s competition and James Brister sealed the sprint classification.
O’Brien and Howard took the race on in the Madison Chase after Welsford and Scott led the competition for the previous two nights.
The latter team looked dominant in the Madison TT, but in the final Madison of the night O’Brien tore away in the opening minute and immediately gained a lap to make up their deficit.
O’Brien and Howard steadily racked up sprinter points, before a collision between Welsford, New Zealander Shane Archbold and America’s Shane Kline left Welsford bruised and bleeding.
He was able to carry on, but Howard streaked clear in the final sprint to take the two point lead and secure the overall victory.
O’Brien said: “That was a very exciting Madison – it was pretty exciting for us.
“We didn’t even know what was going on, we just had to give it everything.
“It’s a shame for the other guys who had a fall, but we’re very proud of the result and we’re glad they’re okay.
“It was an unreal event, the Six Days are great. I didn’t know if I had another three days in me to be honest. Three days was perfect.
“And the Melbourne crowd is a home crowd for us, it’s so special to be in front of them.”
Howard added: “It was a crazy final. We knew we were in for a tough last Madison and I think it was noticeable that we were saving energy, we took it very easy in the first part of the night.
“That was very strategic because we knew it would go down to the wire.
‘It almost backfired – Cam and Sam picked up quite a few points in the previous race, which made the chase even harder.
“We were pretty spent but we got over the line by two points.”
O’Brien and Howard finished the event on 254 points, followed by Welsford and Cameron Scott on 252, with Shane Archbold and Aaron Gate in third on 219.
In the women’s competition, Annette Edmondson was a cut above the rest as she dominated the racing.
Edmondson and Alex Manly sealed another Madison success in the opening race of the final night, finishing first and second.
Welsh rider Manon Lloyd was then able to fend off a wave of Australian attacks to take scratch race victory.
Edmondson and Manly topped the contest with 268 and 240 points respectively, followed by four more Aussie riders – Amy cure, Macey Stewart, Georgia Baker and Kristina Clonan. Lloyd came in seventh.
Edmondson said: “It was really tight racing.
“I’m happy with the form and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.”
She will now turn her attentions to the track World Championships in Poland later this month, taking a major boost after she won six of the eight races in Melbourne.
Young sprinter James Brister took his first Six Day crown.
His consistency shone through at the climax of the three-night event, as he was fastest again in the time trial and just missed out to Azizulhasni Awang in the head-to-heads.
He ended his competition on 141 points, followed by Russia’s Shane Perkins 20 points behind.
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The Six Day Series is heading to Manchester between 22-24 March 2019. See some of the world’s best riders including Olympic and World Champions.