Date: Monday, 20 September 2010
Posted by: Cycling Southland

Two weeks ago I wrote about being caught in the middle of Christchurch’s big shake. That surreal feeling returned on Saturday morning as news of the collapse of the Stadium’s court structure spread like wildfire throughout the south.

That feeling turned to one of disbelief upon viewing the destruction first hand. It is truly remarkable that no one was killed. Structures can be replaced, people cannot. The lack of injury is nothing short of a miracle.

The other remarkable thing about this tragedy has been the way Nigel Skelt and his Stadium team have swung into action. Although they have been totally shattered that this cornerstone of their lives and of Southland sport has been brought to its knees, they immediately focussed on the job at hand and on the logistical nightmare that the coming days, weeks and months will present.

The Stadium may be down, but the team behind it is already up off the canvas. This augers well for the challenges ahead. It is our responsibility as the Southland sporting and wider community, to unite positively to ensure this jewel in our crown returns stronger than ever.

We hosted our first ever Starter Team’s Racing Night at the ILT Velodrome on Friday night, where 40 newbie racers charged all over the track for two great hours of entertaining racing. (For the record the Edge Roofing and Spouting team snuck in front of the ILT/Heineken team by a solitary point on the table to earn a first up victory.)

To return just over 12 hours later to witness the devastation was incredulous.

Bruce Ross was hosting a track session in the Velodrome at the time. Just 15 minutes earlier he had run through his standard briefing, “in the unlikely event of an emergency ...” Again it shows why organisations can never fall complacent about safety procedures. So it proved on Saturday.

Now we wait for the thaw. I know you will join me in hoping and praying it is fast and incident-free. The ILT Velodrome will remain closed through today up until Tuesday lunchtime at the earliest.

They say things like this happen in threes. Earthquake, Stadium ... I don’t want to think about what the third might be.

To happier matters, congratulations to all of our newbie racers in Cycling Southland’s inaugural Starter Team’s Race Night on Friday. 

This new initiative was designed to give newcomers the chance to race against riders of their own ability and try their hand at a number of different events. Lining up with around 15 others in a Scratch, Points or Elimination race is a challenge our riders relished.

This event is a concept we will develop further to make it as easy as possible for beginners to develop in the sport of track cycling. Having spoken to a number of riders over the weekend, each was surprised with how they backed up after a strenuous night on the bike. Shows what a great low-impact activity biking is, doesn’t it?

Nick Jeffrey
Chief Executive

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