CARNIVAL king Glenn O'Shea revealed how his coach Matthew Gilmore helped inspire him to create Tasmanian sporting history yesterday.
The 23-year-old Adelaide-based Victorian completed an unprecedented clean sweep of wheelraces from all four Christmas carnivals by taking out the Burnie Wheel and admitted he was humbled by achieving something that greats like Sid Patterson and Danny Clark never managed.
``The first time I started coming down here I made one final but eventually I got a bit better, won a couple, and to get four in one week is pretty special when you see the names of those who have raced here over 100 years,'' said O'Shea, whose $6000 prize took his winnings for the week to more than $18,000.
``I was in the sheds before having a joke with Matthew Gilmore, whose name features a few times, and you only have to look at the names over the last 20 years to realise how big it is - Pate, Aitken, Danny Clark, Gilmore - it's a who's who of Australian cycling.''
Having won the wheelraces at Latrobe, Launceston and Devonport this week, plus as many A-grade scratch races, the reigning omnium world champion and 2012 Australian male track cyclist of the year had his heart set on completing the sets at a windswept West Park, but said it wasn't easy.
``My legs were not good this morning and I upped a gear for the final but it was still pretty tough because it's always a hard ride here.
``There was a really strong bunch at the back and we were really flying and I had to pick myself up for the chance of making history.''
Leg 1O'Shea, who has missed just two series since first taking part in the Tasmanian carnivals in 2005, joined fellow scratchmen Kenny De Ketele, Luke Ockerby and Shane Archbold in systematically reeling in all the frontmarkers over the 3000-metre event.
With half a lap to go only Kiwi sprinter Archbold looked to threaten him, but the trademark O'Shea burst of speed and one-armed celebration yielded the inevitable result in 3:22.54 with Archbold second and Victorian Matthew Ross third, riding off 130m.
``I think it's my fourth time at Burnie and I've never had much success here, so that's pretty special,'' he added.
``I know it's the start of a new year but that caps off a really good 12 months for me. I've won a world title, got an Olympic silver medal and won Ghent (six-day race).''
Asked if this put him ahead of Launceston's former world champion and Olympic silver medallist Gilmore, O'Shea added: ``I've still got about 20 six-days to go to catch him.''