Frenetic racing and big numbers marked the start of Cycling Southland’s Road and Track Club racing this weekend.
Friday night featured the sixth round of the Baxter and Neilson Junior Track Points Series at the ILT Velodrome, followed by the first roll-out for our more experienced senior riders in our new Senior Racing Night.
After an eight week break over winter, Saturday saw the first of the new season’s road races with 100 riders descending on Winton to stretch their legs and blow-out any cob-webs from the break. I have only been on the scene for five minutes but I am reliably told by those who have been involved in the club scene for a lot longer that this was one of the biggest fields ever assembled.
That support is heartening, but don’t think we are about to finish there. This Saturday will see the launch of our Recreational Rides, on the same course as our Club races. This is designed for those new to the sport or those who just want a quiet roll over some fabulous country-side. We will only be riding as fast as the slowest rider (which will likely be me) so check out cyclingsouth.org.nz this week for details. And yes, we will be starting early to let you get to Rugby Park in time for kick-off.
Friday night at the ILT Velodrome was just as large. The junior racing was fast and furious and shows how highly sought-after the Yellow Baxter and Neilson jerseys are. Remarkably both Under 17 Men and Women categories has to be split by count-backs with the top three in each age-group tied together at the end of night. Tom Beadle and Georgia Timpany took the honours courtesy of their Time Trial victories. The Under 15s were clear cut. Both Michael Culling and Sophie McMurdo kept their unblemished Baxter and Neilson seasons intact with comfortable wins. The Under 13 Boys continued an arm-wrestle that has swung back and forth all year between Hamish Beadle and Josh Carpenter. Beadle was able to but another couple of points on his rival in the overall standings with a narrow win on Friday. And if the points table wasn’t proof enough of how evenly matched the two are, on Friday their 250m Time Trial times were separated by one one-hundredth of a second. 22.72 seconds played 22.73. Congratulations also to Madeline Gough who rode well to claim the U13 Girls jersey. Mark in the last Friday of the month for the next exciting chapter.
The seniors then suited up to start their Friday Night series. Features of the night included Brehan Cairns drawing first blood in the 8km A-Grade Motor-Paced scratch race, covering the distance in 9’44. Karl Watson showed why he has such a fine future in the sport, holding off the rest of the A-Grade field for a debut win in the 2.5k Scratch.
I can’t wait for more of the same this weekend. Hope you can enjoy the ride with us.