There is no place like the home track for Southland and New Zealand track cyclist Tom Sexton.
The 17-year-old only returned from the World Cup meeting in Hong Kong two days ago, but had time to win the Open Division 1 points and elimination races at the ILT New Year Track Cycling Carnival at the SIT Velodrome in Invercargill.
Sexton secured the victory courtesy of two points on the final sprint to finish with 12 points, the same total as Connor Brown. The fast finishing Matt Zenovich claimed third place after winning the final sprint to finish one point back.
"It is feeling nice being back on this track," Sexton said.
"I'm in pretty good form at the moment, I am hoping to get a couple of good wins here."
The pursuit rider was quick to notice the difference between conditions at home and abroad.
"It was a lot different to here, the tracks here are so nice and smooth," he said.
"Over there in the team pursuit we found it quite hard with the track being a bit bumpy."
"We had to take it as it is and adapt to it."
The New Zealand team finished ninth in a tough field.
"We had a bit of a bad day," he said.
"A lot of teams sent their A-teams to try and qualify for the Olympics and World Championships, so it was quite fierce competition with most teams going quite quick."
He is using the carnival to build towards the upcoming nationals in Cambridge, where he hopes to gain selection in the New Zealand team for the Junior World Championships in August.
"After the New Zealand training camp and big buildup it has given me strength to work towards the nationals," he said.
"I want to go to the nationals in a couple of weeks and maybe try to get a win or two under my belt."
The teenager acknowledged there is a big difference between elite and junior levels.
"The under-19s are racing quite quick these days, but going to the elites is a big step up," he said.
"It is full on from start to finish."
In other results, Derek Tan won the Open Division 2 points race after finishing tied on 10 points with Emma Cumming.
Isabella Roulston won the under-15 girls' points race and scratch race, while Laurence Pithie won the boys' events.
Bradley Jenner won the under-17 Div 2 elimination and points races, while Emily Paterson claimed the Div 1 elimination for girls' and Corbin Strong won an exciting elimination race ahead of Hamish Keast in the under-17 Div 1 boys'.
Strong and Keast also finished first and second in the points race with 15 and 6 points respectively.
Jessie Banks won the under-17 girls' Div 1 points race finishing with 10 points, with Paterson taking second with 9 points.
Nicole Shields won the open Div 2 elimination race.
There are 95 riders competing in the New Year’s Track Carnival at the velodrome in Invercargill.
Photo and article courtesy Stuff