Listening to the rain and hail on the roof of the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome made us all very happy to be warm and comfortable inside, ready for a great day of inter-school’s racing at the annual South Island Secondary School Champs.
With more than 40 riders racing, and a good turn out from cycling power houses James Hargest College and Southland Girls’ High School, as well as a good handful of Southland Boys’ superstars, some Verdon speedsters, and with riders from as far as Columba College in Dunedin and Mount Aspiring College in Wanaka, it looked like the scene was set for an almighty Secondary School show down.
These championships are a great opportunity for up and coming riders to get a taste of racing in a fun setting, and it was fantastic to see some new riders stepping up to the challenge and proving to themselves that they can mix it up with the best of them.
The 500m Time Trials saw some great rides and some blistering times, with some huge performance increases compared to the same event last year. Particularly impressive were the U19 Boy’s super-stars of Jeremy Presbury (Hargest), Nick Kergozou (SBHS) and Josh Haggerty (SBHS) – all within a split second of each other.
Next up on the programme were the 500m Derby’s – with many grades requiring heats. The finals eventually rolled round and there were some phenomenal tussles with riders in most grades needing to fight right to the line before the win was secured. Kain Bowles (Hargest), who showed excellent form throughout the day, just nabbed the win from a fast finishing Mitchell Morris (Verdon) and a very consistent Samuel Miller (Hargest).
The U15 Girls race was just as exciting, with an in-form Maddy Gough (Hargest) just snatching the win from an incredibly strong Ellese Andrews from Mount Aspiring College, and Columba College’s Megan Foley.
The 2000m Scratch Races were equally as exciting, with some very close finishes. Emma Cumming (SGHS) took the win in the U17 girls race to make it a clean sweep for the day in that division, taking the overall U17 girls win. An impressive Kendall Kilpatrick (SGHS) – new to the track this year, showed excellent improvement and reward for her hard work in coming 2nd overall, from a well performing Sheree Horne (SGHS) in 3rd.
The small U19 Girl’s field was combined with the U17 Girls, with a strong Makayla Smith (SGHS) taking the win in the scratch race and overall from a rapidly improving Bronwyn Graham (SGHS). The U15 Girl’s scratch race was taken out in impressive fashion by Emily Paterson (Hargest), but it was Maddy Gough who took the overall U15 Girl’s gold for the day, from Ellesse Andrews and Megan Foley .
Samuel Miller took the scratch race the win in the U15 Boys, but it was Kain Bowles who took out the overall award, with Mitchell Morris in silver position and Miller with the bronze.
In the U17 Boys, Brayden Stephens took the win to edge out a fast finishing Hamish Beadle for the only time that day, with Beadle taking out the overall U17 Boy’s award from Stephens and Tom Sexton (Hargest).
The U19 boys division was extremely close, with Jeremy Presbury taking the overall win from Scratch Race winner Nick Kergozou and Josh Haggerty.
The day finished off with some fun Team Sprints before the prize giving.
The overall Team Trophy for Boys was won convincingly by James Hargest College, with the overall Team Trophy for Girls taken out in fine fashion by Southland Girls’ High School
A huge thank you to everyone who helped out to make the day possible, and congratulations to everyone who took part. Let’s do it all again next year!