National records fell to the young and not so young on the opening evening of racing at the 2012 RaboDirect Age Group Track Championships in Invercargill tonight.
New marks were set in the Under 19 Men's and Women's Individual Pursuits and the Masters 1 Men Time Trial.
But perhaps one of the most remarkable stories came from a Wellington rider with over 70 years of life experience. Gary Humpherson completed his 500 metre time trial in a time of 41.856 - just 0.002 seconds off the Best Performance ever by a rider in the 70 to 75 year age bracket.
The current world best is 41.854, set by American Thomas O'Rourke at the 2011 World Masters in Manchester. Humpherson came with a whisker of setting a new benchmark tonight in Invercargill.
West Coast North Island's Cassie Cameron and Otago's Alysha Keith battled all the way over their 2km journey in the Under 19 Women's Individual Pursuit. Keith had set a new national record in qualifying earlier in the day but Cameron lowered that mark in her ride to gold and a hard fought victory by just a tick over half a second. Auckland's Racquel Sheath took the bronze.
Then not more than 10 minutes later hugely impressive Waikato-Bay of Plenty star Hayden McCormick set a new low in the Under 19 Men's IP. He went within a couple of tenths of a second of the record in qualifying and then backed up to record 3:20.249 and claim gold over a gutsy Tayla Harrison. Dylan Kennett, the former holder of the national record took bronze over Liam Aitcheson.
The third national record of the night belongs to New Zealand male sprint coach Justin Grace. The former World Masters champion set a new standard for the Masters 1 (35-44 years) 750m Time Trial - dipping under the 50 second barrier to record 49.085. Defending champion Michael White took silver a second and a half back, with Southland's Garry Smith taking bronze.
Elsewhere, Olivia Podmore of Canterbury took out the Under 17 Girls Time Trial from Holly Edmondston and Kate Stewart. Russell Scott defended his Masters 3 Time Trial title from Richard Justice and David Going in an Auckland 1, 2, 3 while Canterbury's Andrew Thomson powered to victory in the Masters 2 Men's Time Trial from Steve Woods and Neil Familton.
The Under 15 Derbys went the way of Michaela Drummond of West Coast North Island, from Canterbury's Natasha Dickison and Southland's Emma Cumming. While Campbell Stewart made it a WCNI double, beating home three Southlanders in the Boys' final. Hayden Strong took silver with Josh Carpenter taking bronze.
The Under 19 Sprint titles stayed true to form with Paige Paterson of Auckland and Dylan Kennett claiming the golds. Victoria Steel of Canterbury took the Women's silver and Southland's Kate Dunlevey the bronze. The minor Men's medals went the way of Zac Williams (silver) and Chad Elliston (bronze), both of Auckland.
Mid South Canterbury's Frances Smith timed her move to perfection to take the Under 17 Girls 5km Scratch title from Kate Stewart and Olivia Podmore while the Under 17 boys points race went all the way to the final sprint. Southland's Michael Culling looked to have the race under control until Connor Stead of Canterbury broke free of the bunch two laps from the final sprint. With Stead claiming line honours and getting to 10 points, it meant Culling had to beat the rest of the field home in second to sneak in front of the Cantabrian. He duely delivered and finished on 11 points to claim yet another National title. East Coast North Island's Regan Gough took the bronze medal by a solitary point, ahead of a gutsy Jack Ford who did his best to take a lap on the field but ended up just failing and paying the ultimate price.
The evening ended with some great Masters Men endurance races. Kerry Harford of East Coast North Island took out the M2 Points race from a fast finishing Grant Toomey of Southland and Auckland's Andrew McKay. Auckland's Russell Scott successfully defended his M3 Points title with Southland's Bruce Jones and Waikato-BOP's Les Candy sharing the podium.And Justin Stott of Otago left the chasing bunch in his wake, solo-ing to victory over the last two kilometres of the Masters 1 Men 10km Scratch Race to take gold from Craig Domigan and Derek Tan.
Action continues at the Velodrome on Thursday from 10am with Individual Pursuit qualifying for Under 17 Boys and Masters grades along with heats in the Under 19 Men and Under 17 Boys scratch races and Under 17 girls points race.
For full information including live text commentary updates, full results and daily image galleries click here.