Peloton Watch
  The Austral: Shane Perkins  
  December 12th 2014  
  The Austral Wheelrace is the oldest track race in the world. The first edition in 1887 was run at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The 117th edition will be held at Hisense Arena on December 20, 2014. In the lead up PelotonWatch will be bringing you interviews with former winners, podium finishers and challengers for the 117th title.

Below 2009 Austral winner, 2011 Keirin World Champion, 2012 Team Sprint World Champion, 2010 Commonwealth Sprint Champion and 2010 Olympic Sprint bronze medallist talks what the Austral means to him.

PelotonWatch: What does the Austral mean to you?

Shane Perkins: Having grown up watching it as a youngster down at the Northcote velodrome I saw first hand the crowds that it brought and prestige of winning it. It was always an exciting night of racing to watch. As I become involved in cycling myself as a rider I started to learn more about the history of the Austral. So to have such fond memories from childhood & knowing the history of the great race it certainly means a lot to & the sport of cycling.

PW: Looking back what was it like to win and where does your Austral win rank?

SP: It's certainly an honour to be part of the winners list of some very great cyclists including Shane Kelly, Danny Clarke, Steven Pate, Gary Neiwand, Sid Patterson etc. the Austral win certainly meant a lot to me having grown up watching it, it was one I wanted to win in my career.

PW: Handicap races are one of the few opportunities for sprinters and enduros to race against each other. What do you like most about handicap races?

SP: It's a very exciting race to be in & watch. Everything happens so quickly you really need to pick your time to go & position yourself well, which is very difficult given the handicap marks & the pace at which the race happens.

PW: What would you say to encourage people to come down and watch?

SP: The world's oldest track race held at Hisense Arena in one of the biggest sporting hubs in Australia being Melbourne across from the MCG. The Austral is part of history not to mention to be able to watch athletes that you would normally only get to see on TV at the Olympics or Commonwealth Games! We have medallists from World Championships, Commonwealth Games & Olympic Games. Great opportunity to not only see Australia's best and brightest talents but the worlds best on home soil! You could say it would be un-Australian not to go! See you all at Hisense on the 20th!
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