‘Perkins’ is a famous name in Australian cycling; back when I was a boy, Daryl Perkins was a top performer on the tracks, winning medals at national and Commonwealth level.
He passed those good genes down to son Shane, who recently took individual sprint bronze in London behind Messrs. Kenny and Bauge.
Perkins has been a major force on the world track sprint, team sprint and keirin scene for a number of years, despite the fact that he’s still only 25 years-old.
An Australian junior champion in the sprint and kilometre; he also took world titles in the sprint and keirin as a junior.
Since then he’s won multiple Australian titles, World Cups, the Commonwealth sprint title – in Delhi – and senior world titles in the team sprint and keirin.
His Australian team sprint squad went in to the Olympics as reigning world champions, having taken the title in Melbourne, back in the spring and had high hopes of a medal – but it wasn’t to be.
We spoke to him after the dust had died down from London and he’d travelled to Japan for the keirin circuit.
Three rides in the team sprint at the Olympics, instead of two at the Worlds?
“You have a very short time for recovery between the rounds at Olympics; from memory we had 45mins between the first round and semi final and 30mins between the semi final and finals.
“So it makes things very interesting for recovery between efforts; you have to be sure that all three riders can come back up, in order to have the best chances to win by the finals.”
Australia went into London as world champions, qualifying third – but you finished fourth – not what you’d have liked?
“We won the world championship with the best time of the meeting in the finals and had high expectations coming into the Olympics.
“We knew we had to lift it in order to follow the performance from the worlds.
“We left the best rides we had out on the velodrome in London; it just wasn’t to be this time round – but ‘2012 world champions’ till has a nice ring to it!”
What do you think about Hines’ ‘dive’ in the team sprint?
“Sport is sport, sometimes things happen and it’s not for me to comment on as I wasn’t riding the bike.
“Maybe he can comment on his own performance with the right story this time round – he’s had plenty of time to get it straight!”
Do you feel a little jealous of the GB team’s facilities and preparation?
“They might be jealous of ours if they saw what we have!”
Matthew Glaetzer on your team sprint squad – he’s only 20?
“He’s a very promising individual and has come up to a high level very early.
“We should see some good things from him in the future!”
In the individual sprint you qualified in 9.987 – how does that compare to your best and were you happy with it?
“It is very close to my personal best considering the virus I had prior to the Olympics; I was pleased that I could still manage that time!”
The US rider, Watkins was a bit of a surprise.
“Jimmy has stepped up a lot in the last months and it’s a great credit to him and his coach.
“Great to see America still has the goods on the track after Marty Nothstein dominated American sprinting for so long.”
Gregory Bauge – if you rode the semis against him again, what would you do differently?
“Nothing – I left my best rides on the track.”
How did you rate Phillip, the Trinidadian?
“He has a lot of talent and I think we will see great things in the coming years.
“It’s great to see the lesser rated countries in track sprinting coming up to compete with the rest of the world.”
Were you happy with bronze?
“It’s my first Olympics and I was riding all 3 events – team sprint, sprint and keirin – having caught a virus in the build up.
“I’m very pleased with bronze!”
Were you happy with your keirin campaign in London?
“Yes I was the only competitor who competed in the Team Sprint and Sprint to make the final of the Keirin.
“I was running out of energy at a rate of knots by the last day; although I left everything I had out that track for the final!”
What’s your opinion on the rules getting ever tighter – no contact; coming off line; and the rest?
“My understanding is that they are trying to even things out for everyone by tightening the rules up.
“Just like the rule for equipment, now everyone is an even playing field.”
Did you take any lessons away from London?
“Because I was very sick in the lead up, I had to move to another room the night before team sprint and wasn’t sure if I would be riding at all.
“I learned a lot about myself mentally as this was my biggest event thus far in my career; it would have been easy to just fall down in a heap and give up, but that isn’t part of my makeup!”
What’s the next goal?
“Rio – that’s the long term goal, can’t wait!”
World Cups apart, is there still a ‘track scene/circuit’ for a sprinter to follow?
“We do have some races throughout the season to attend although mostly in Europe.
“But if you’re lucky enough to be invited to Japan you can race for six months or so in the off season on the keirin circuit.
“Fortunately, I’m one of the lucky ones to be here this year.”