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Cycling great Danny Clark, 63, has confirmed that he will be a starter for the 117th edition of the Austral Wheelrace.
Clark is a four time world champion on the track and silver medallist from the 1972 Munich Olympics. He is also one of the most successful riders in six-day racing in the 1970s and 1980s, winning an amazing 74 races.
Clark is well entrenched on the Austral Wheelrace honour roll – with victories in 1977, 1986 and 1990 – all of which came from the scratch mark, and is very excited to be competing again at the 117th Austral Wheelrace.
“The Austral is Australia’s greatest race on the track. It’s a fantastic event. I have so many great memories.”
“My favourite memory was the final stages in 1990. I was hopelessly out of position with 2 laps remaining. Stephen Pate was in front of me – but he was going too slowly. I just couldn’t wait. The computer in my brain was telling me that I had to go. I just gave it 110% and was lucky enough to win.”
Despite such as a decorated history in the Austral, Danny is cautiously optimistic about his chances of a record equalling fourth victory.
“A lot depends on my mark. There are just so many fantastic riders between the scratch and 75 metre marks. And most of them are 40 years my junior.”
“I could be living in dreamland, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m in reasonable condition. I’ve just got back from a few months in Italy, where I’ve been riding 4-5 hours per day, and I’ve also been racing once per week on the track.”
“However, the wet weather in Queensland where I’m currently living makes it difficult to get time on the track. We’ll have to wait and see how my road miles convert to speed on the track. I guess we’ll see at the Austral”
The 117th Austral Wheelrace takes place at Hisense Arena on Saturday December 20th.
Tickets are available via Ticketek.
Clark was just 17 when he won silver in the 4000m individual pursuit at the 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games. Two years later he won silver in the 1000m time trial at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Despite fracturing a finger in training, he was beaten by just 0.43 seconds in the final by the Danish world champion Neils Fredborg.
Between 1968 and 1973, Clarke won 13 individual national track championships (he was the Australian champion 32 times during his career). In 1973 he won all four individual titles he contested: the 1000m time trial, the 1000m sprint, the 16km and the 4000m pursuit. This had never been achieved before.
Later in 1973, Clark turned professional, and distinguished himself on the European and Australian circuit. Regarded as one of the world’s finest six-day riders, he won four world professional championships; the Kieren Sprint in 1980 and 1981, and in motor-paced events in 1988, and 1991 at the age of 39 years and 21 days, the oldest cycling world champion in the history of the sport. He also won five silver (two Kieren, two motor paced, one point-score) and two bronze medals (motor paced and point-score).
Competing in Europe in 1987, he won a record nine of the 11 major six-day races in which he competed. He demonstrated his tremendous all-round ability that same year, winning the International Omnium Classic, a major European event, and became the first rider ever to win all four sections of the event: individual pursuit, flying kilometer, elimination, and point-score races. In 1988 he added two more European titles to his collection and became the only rider to win five consecutive six-day track events.
Further reading: “Where are they now – Danny Clark”