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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Simon Fitzpatrick wins Burnie Gift in a photo finish

Simon Fitzpatrick wins Burnie Gift in a photo finish

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Simon Fitzpatrick wins Burnie Gift in photo-finish 

By JORDAN ABELL

The Advocate
Jan. 1, 2015

A PEP talk from his coach before the biggest race of his life proved to be just the catalyst Victorian veteran Simon Fitzpatrick needed.

The 30-year-old held off the fast-finishing backmarker and pre-race favourite, Jacob Despard, to win the time-honoured South Cape Cheese Men's Burnie Gift (120m) last night.

GIFTED WINNER: Victorian veteran runner Simon Fitzpatrick holds up the Burnie Gift trophy after yesterday’s thrilling win. Detres, 

Fitzpatrick led the other five finalists from the outset before 2013 winner Despard (4.5m) came storming home.

The pair crossed the line simultaneously and it was up to the judges to pick the victor in what was a photo-finish.

After a nervous minute's wait, Fitzpatrick was crowned champion by one hundredth of a second in a time of 12.78s.

His coach Adrian Mott had come runner-up in two previous Burnie Gifts, including a narrow loss to Despard two years ago.

"He's back in Melbourne and I spoke to him about the final and he said 'just make sure you beat him this time for me' so [there was] no pressure, but I'm really excited and pumped and delighted," Fitzpatrick said.

"I thought I was a chance [of winning] and probably going into the final, it was Jacob that I was most worried about.

"It's hard when you're kind of out there by yourself, but you just do what you can and you hope for the best.

"[I'm] pretty stoked. I haven't won any 120m before so I'm really, really happy."

A short to middle-distance runner normally, Fitzpatrick has triumphed twice on the hallowed turf at Stawell in his home state.

However, he said those feats pale in comparison to winning Tasmania's richest footrace, with a winner's cheque of $9000.
"Definitely the highlight - easily the highlight [of my career]," he said.

"I've been doing aths for a long time so it shows if you persevere sometimes you can get some surprises like this."

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Gift win best yet for Vic sprinter

By Phil Edwards
The Examiner
2nd January 2015


Burnie Gift winner Simon Fitzpatrick. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS


VICTORIAN sprinter Simon Fitzpatrick is $9000 richer after recording the biggest win of his career by taking out the prestigious 2015 Burnie Men’s Gift at West Park yesterday.


The 30-year-old Fitzpatrick, trained by Adrian Mott, was the frontmarker off a mark of 9.5metres and beat Hobart teenager Jacob Despard in a thrilling finish by the narrowest margin of th of a second, after both runners crossed the line in a virtual dead heat.


"This is easily the highlight of my career," Fitzpatrick said after his win.
"I’ve had a couple of successes at Stalwell over 400 and 550 but it is all about the Gift.


"This is my third time in Tassie and I love it and I’m stoked."
The 18-year-old, Despard, who was the backmarker off 4.5m, won the Devonport Gift on Tuesday night and was desperately unlucky to be pipped on the line denying him a second Burnie Gift title after he won the race in 2013.


New South Wales teenager Bradley Lehman (8.75m) was third.


Fitzpatrick’s winning time was 12.78 seconds.


"It was a lot closer than my win in the semi against Luke Stevens but I had really no idea because it is hard when you are out there by yourself," Fitzpatrick said about his close victory.

"You do what you can and hope for the best and I’m pretty stoked - I haven’t won any 120m before because I’m more of a 400-800 runner so I’m really happy."
Fitzpatrick said he came to the carnival series to run the Devonport 200m, which was cancelled earlier in the week due to bad weather.
"Sometimes you can get something when you’re not expecting it so I’m stoked.
"My coach lost to Jacob two years ago so I spoke to him back in Melbourne and he said ’just make sure you beat him for me this time’."

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