Familiar faces made appearances on the podium during the second night of competition at the 2012 RaboDirect Age Group Track Cycling Championships in Invercargill tonight.
Led by strong performances across the age categories, Southland opened up a handy lead on the National Points Shield Points table, earning an impressive 26 competition points - the most of any centre in a single night of competition at the Elite and Age Group Championships this year.
Auckland and Canterbury continue to make strong plays for the symbol of track cycling supremacy with the Shield's home for 2012 only likely to be decided on Saturday's final day of racing.
The evening session opened with Masters Women Individual Pursuits. Fiona Southorn backed up her record-setting qualifying ride to take gold in the M2 Women category, beating Jacqui Dearlove in a hotly contested battle. Dearlove did all she could to go hard early and attempt to hold the New Zealand Para-cycling representative at bay. However Southorn would not be denied and earned a derved place at the top of the podium. Otago's Jan McCleland took out the bronze over Sam Kopae.
Erin Criglinton added yet another medal to her impressive career with a controlled win in the Masters 1, beating Kylea Gough in the final. Rachel Sime from Otago was also comfortable in taking the bronze over Nicola Stevens.
The Under 15 time trials both went down to the final heat. In the girls competition, West Coast North Island's Michaela Drummond performed under pressure to bump Emma Cumming of Southland into the silver medal position. Michaela Kerr took bronze. And in the boys after Campbell Stewart set the fastest time in the penultimate heat, Southland's Josh Carpenter delivered in the final heat to sneak passed the West Coast North Islander by just 0.09 of a second to snatch gold. Hamish Beadle earned the bronze.
The Under 17 Boys Individual Pursuit saw Jack Ford of Mid South Canterbury take bronze and Michael Culling come from behind in a brilliantly controlled ride to beat Connor Stead and claim the first of two golds for the night. Culling found himself behind early but easily wiped out the deficit over the final half of the race to win by over 2 seconds and record 2:20.768.
Auckland's Paige Paterson was again unstoppable in the Under 19 Women sprint events. Paterson's time of 36.165 for the 500m Time Trial earned her gold by more than 0.3 seconds over Alysha Keith of Otago and Victoria Steel of Canterbury.
No surprise to see Dylan Kennett take out the Under 19 Men 1000m Time Trial. The New Zealand record-holder clocked 1 minute 3.775 seconds for his four lap journey with Southland's Tom Beadle taking silver one a hald seconds back and Hamish Schreurs of Canterbury taking bronze.
The Masters Men Individual Pursuits saw another gold medal and national record fall at the hands of Bruce Jones. Cycling Southland's Mr Nice Guy was all business in the ride for gold after qualifying second this morning he turned the tables on Richard Justice to successfully defend his title. This morning's world record breaker Gary Humpherson earned a bronze by beating Les Candy in the 3rd/4th ride-off.
Masters 2 also saw Kerry Harford come from the second qualifier's spot to win gold over Andrew McKay with Peter Jenkins taking the third medal. And in Masters 1 it was an all Southland final with Garry Smith taking a comfortable 6 second victory over Derek Tan in the gold medal ride. Mid South Canterbury's Craig Domigan fought off Auckland's Brett Slater by less than half a second in a spectacular bronze medal ride.
The Under 17 Girls Points race proved a cracker with Canterbury's Holly Edmondston winning the final sprint and jumping into the top spot, confining Kate Stewart to silver and olivia Podmore bronze.
That man Culling was back in business in the Under 17 Boys Scratch Race. After a somewhat leisurley opening the race came alive in the final kilometre and Culling put the hammer down two laps from home and, try as he might, Connor Stead could not get around him and had to settle for another silver. Regan Gough grabbed the bronze.
Racquel Sheath timed her drive for the line perfectly to take out the Under 19 Women's Scratch title from Cassie Cameron and Georgina Wilson.
ANd in what proved to be a gripping finish to the night, Dylan Kennett took out his second gold of the evening in the Under 19 Men Scratch Race. With attacks off the front from the gun, this race contained action from start to finish - but with a quality field of heavy-hitters no breaks were able to stick. In a sprint finish it was always going to favour the expolsive pace of Dylan Kennett and after biding his time for much of the race, the Waimate star picked his moment and took the victory. Tom Beadle completed a great night with a second silver medal and Hardy Michel finished third.
You can follow the action live by clicking here where you will also find full results, race photos and video.
The 2012 champs continue Friday with a third day of qualifying. Racing begins at 10.00am.
Age Group Champs: Night 2 Highlights