Anna Meares, Matthew Glaetzer and Jack Bobdige steered South Australia to the top of the rankings on the final night of racing at the 2012 Subaru Cycling Australia Track National Championships at the Adelaide Super-Drome.
Meares and Glaetzer were crowned national keirin champions while Bobridge gave the locals something else to cheer for when he added a third gold medal to his week's tally with a colossal performance in the men's points race. Isabella King claimed the elite scratch race title for WA while in the under 19 events New South Wales won the Madison and Victoria won both the junior men's team sprint and the junior women's sprint.
Annette Edmondson (SA) was named the elite Champion of Champions for her gold medals in the individual pursuit, scratch and points races. Her win in the individual pursuit, where she recorded the fastest time ever ridden on Australian soil (3:30.586), was named the 'Ride of the Series'. The junior Champion of Champions prize went to Queensland's Taylah Jennings who won three individual and one team gold medal.
Meares' win in the keirin brought her career tally of Australian track titles to 29 but she had to fend off a late charge from Sydney's Kaarle McCulloch to secure the victory.
"I'm not after the easy win, I'm after the win that's going to make me better," said Meares who also won team sprint and sprint gold medals this week. "And that hurt like hell. The old lactic acid isn't anyone's friend, is it?"
Meares grabbed the wheel of the derny pace bike from the start and used it to full advantage, powering away from her rivals as the bike left the track. She surged to a massive lead and McCulloch, who was caught in traffic, had to firstly pass four others before she could try to close the gap. She made up ground quickly but Meares held on to win by mere centimetres.
"When I saw I'd drawn one and Kaarle had drawn six, I thought that was a good opportunity to put some distance between us and make her work really hard as well," explained Meares of the draw that put her at the bottom of the track and McCulloch at the top on the start line.
"I realised the gap was significant, but not enough to withstand a good run from Kaarle, so I had to really commit otherwise I was going to find myself in the position where I was going to be run down," she said. "This is the most level event for the two of us to come head-to-head, you saw that, I won it by half a tyre. (But) I'd rather almost lose than almost win."
But the pair will soon reunite for the team sprint in which they have won the world title for the past three years.
"I'm actually really excited, I feel like I've taken a great deal of confidence from these championships," said Meares. "The plan that Gary (West - coach) has for me is working and that goes a long way when you're out there on your own - sometimes that trust or backing is all you have.
"I will be leaning on that for sure," Meares added.
McCulloch had no regrets after collecting one gold and three silver medals at the championships.
"I wasn't quite expecting the gap to open up that quickly, but I bided my time and I went as hard as I could, but I guess I just needed five more metres of track," said McCulloch. "But I am happy with how I rode today as I think it was probably one of the first keirin championships where I had a little bit of patience.
"Plus, I was a good deal off her at the 200m mark and I almost got her, so I have to be pretty happy with the speed in my legs right now," she said.
Men's Points Race
Jack Bobridge was under attack from all quarters in a fast and furious men's 40km points race but prevailed to claim his third win of the week.
The pace was on from the start of the 160 lap marathon, with Bobridge, Jackson-Leigh Rathbone (NSW) and West Australia's Michael Freiberg in amongst most of the action early.
Bobridge grabbed sprint points at every opportunity and jumped into the key move of the race that came with 70 laps remaining, when he joined Rathbone, Sean Finning (VIC), Mitchell Mulhern (QLD), Jack Beckinsale (NSW) and Bradley Robson (WA) in a break that gave the sextet a lap on the field and a valuable 20 point bonus.
Jackson Law (NSW) then countered with a lightning fast solo effort and before the bunch had a chance to respond he had lapped them and collected 20 points. In the remaining laps, Bobridge, Law and Rathbone continued to pile on the sprint points with Bobridge cementing an unassailable lead with 20 laps to go. However Law and Rathbone were neck and neck for silver and the two battled all the way to the fininshing line where Rathbone edged Law on the line to take the five points but Law's three points for being second across the line in the final sprint was enough to give him a one point buffer and the silver medal.
The final result gave Bobridge gold on 52 points, eight ahead of Law on 44pts with Rathbone in third palce on 43pts.
Nineteen-year-old Matthew Glaetzer thrilled the crowd with a display of power and control that belied his years to claim his maiden senior keirin crown.
"It's massive, I didn't expect it to be honest," said Glaetzer, who burst on to the international scene at 17 when he won the sprint/keirin double at the junior world titles. "I just went out there and tried to execute my perfect race to win and it came together."
Glaetzer unleashed a withering burst of speed that left the rest of the field, including reigning world champion Shane Perkins, scramblingfor position in his wake.
At the bell lap Glaetzer was still in front with Perkins boxed in by the NSW duo of Andrew Taylor and Mitch Bullen. Spurred on by his hometown fans Glaetzer, a former pole vaulter, lunged at the line to clinch the win from Taylor with Bullen third. Perkins finished fourth.
"I knew I had to get to the front, put myself in a position to win and make it really hard for the others to come around," said Glaetzer, who teamed with Glasspool and Nathan Corrigan on Friday night to win the team sprint title.
"I expected Perkins to charge, and when I spotted him near the back I thought if he's going to win this, he's going to have to hit and get to the front.
"Then I saw him attack and responded pretty hard to make sure I kept front position, which I did." added Glaetzer.
Women's Scratch Race
West Australia's Isabella King timed her run perfectly, attacking the field just prior to the bell lap, to sprint home for gold in the women's scratch race.
King and team mate Sarah Kent set much of the early pace, with Kent and Tasmania's Amy Cure involved in a number of attacks throughout the race. But none stuck and with all eyes on the in form Annette Edmondson (SA) King chose the right moment to pounce.
She rode clear of the field and then held off a fast fininshing Edmondson on the line.
"I didn't know if Nettie or I got it or not, so when I realised, I just threw my hands up, I am so happy," said King. "Nettie is a such a good rider so I knew I had to go early as I wouldn't be able to get around her in the last half.
"And I was a bit angry from the last few days as I haven't performed like I wanted to so I just used all that anger tonight," King added.
A crash with 300 metres to go brought down Canberra riders Rebecca Wiasak and Sally Bowman with the latter sustaining a broken collar bone.
Under 19 Men's Madison
In the under 19 Madison the New South Wales duo of Tirian McManus and Jack McCulloch survived a late fight-back by New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) pair Caleb Ewan and Nathan Bradshaw to grab the gold.
McManus and McCulloch, the younger brother of sprint star Kaarle, scored points in the first five of the six sprints contested, and of those won maximum points in the first and third sprints, to establish a solid six point margin over Ewan and Bradshaw.
The pace lifted in the last 40 laps of the 120 lap event and NSWIS moved to within two points of the lead with only one sprint remaining.
West Australia's Linfield attacked with five laps to go and Victoria also challenged to dash the NSWIS hopes of a snatching victory.
McManus and McCulloch scored a winning tally of 16 points, while Ewan and Bradshaw placed second on 15 points. The bronze medal went to Queensland's Owen Gillott and Jesse Kerrison who claimed 13 points.
Under 19 Women's Sprint
In the under 19 women's sprint Victorian Caitlin Ward defeated West Australia's Allee Proud to claim the gold medal.
Ward breezed through qualifying and accounted for Korea's Jihae Park in the semi finals in straight heats, before also overcoming Proud in straight heats.
"Its the biggest week of my season, and I have worked hard for this and although I am drained and tired, the idea of winning a medal just took over," said Ward. "I am not very good at sprint matches, I usually stuff them up, so my coaches were in my ear today telling me to control the race.
"So all I could think of in the race was control, don't stuff it up, control, control, control. I think I did that pretty well tonight," added Ward.
Ward's team mate Tian Beckett defeated Park in the bronze medal match up.
The 2012 Subaru Cycling Australia Track National Championships were staged from Thursday January 26 to Sunday January 29 6 at Adelaide's Super-Drome. Complete results can be found on the Cycling Australia website