HOMETOWN hope Isaac Buckell believes he will be all the better for a top-six finish is last year’s Bendigo International Madison.
The 18-year-old will line up for his second start in the prestigious 160-lap race and will again be partnered by his Australian junior team-mate Godfrey Slattery.
They will be against a quality field, spearheaded by the Australian Commonwealth Games pairing Sam Welsford and Kelland O’Brien, and Jordan Kerby and Nick Yallouris, and a host of international riders.
Buckell said their bold showing in the 2017 race had given him and his Victorian Institute of Sport team-mate Slattery plenty of motivation for this Sunday’s feature race.
“We were in the mix a fair bit in the sprints – it was full on as a madison always is,” Buckell said of last year’s encouraging effort.
“It was pretty exciting to get to ride with the big boys. It was full on and the crowd and the atmosphere was just awesome.
“The crowd was the best part, and the racing was great.”
Buckell was confident the pairing had learned valuable lessons the first time around, which should hold them in good stead for the 2018 version of the great race.
“We do a lot of madisons on indoor tracks, which are 250 metres and a lot steeper, so you ride them differently to what you do on an outdoor track that is 440 metres,” he said.
“So we did learn a lot last year, especially tactics wise.”
What they lack in experience compared with their more seasoned rivals, Buckell and Slattery certainly make up for in class.
In August, the duo won a bronze medal in the madison at the World Junior Track Cycling Championships in Italy.
Both were part of the Australian team which finished sixth in the team pursuit.
Working in their favour is a thorough understanding of each other’s strengths and intricacies.
“We have ridden together in every state team since under-15s,” Buckell said.
“We’ve raced with each other, against each other and ridden a lot of madisons together, so we know each other are doing.”
Those results capped a huge 12-months for Buckell, who won two gold medals at the under-19 national track championships in the Victorian team pursuit squad and madison.
He also contested the mountain bike world championships in Cairns off a limited preparation due to his extensive track commitments.
In a first for the madison, Buckell and Godfrey will join their 14 rival teams on Friday night to take part in a 60-lap event to open the carnival.