The first teams events were the feature of the third morning of racing at the 2012 RaboDirect Age Group Track Championships this morning at Invercargill's Stadium Southland Velodrome.
The Masters Men Team Sprint has set up and all-Southland battle with the defending champions Jerard Stock, Garry Smith and Michael White taking on Richard Eade, Scott Milne and Neil Familton after the two qualified with rides of 50.996 and 51.600 respectively. Canterbury's Russell Ownsworth, Andrew thomson and Steve Woods will square off against Auckland's brett Slater, Andrew McKay and Russell Scott for the bronze medal.
Meanwhile the Under 17 Girls Team Sprint will see Holly Edmondston and Olivia Podmore of Canterbury take the favourites tag with them into their ride over Southland's Libby Bayne and laura Heywood after the Cantabs set the quickest time by more than a second of 37.765. West Coast North Island's Ruby Perry and Kate Stewart will face Lydia Rippon and Holly White of Auckland for bronze with less than two tenths of a second separating them this morning.
The Under 17 Boys saw Auckland's Hamish Jeffries, Reon Sheath and Kurt Standen qualify in the top spot by just 0.231 seconds over West Coast North Island's Jordan Castle, Kyle Davie and Connell Leahy. Mid South Canterbury's Josh Connor, Brendon Whalley and Jack Ford will ride against East Coast North Island's Regan Gough, Corbin Mason-Smith and Luke Mudgway.
Auckland will start favourites in the Under 19 Women's Team Pursuit after Devon Hiley, Racquel Sheath and Georgina Wilson clocked 3:42.491 over their 3000 metres. Jennifer Muhl, Georgia Timpany and Sophie Williamson of Southland qualified second fastest with 3:45.022 while two Composite teams will ride-off for bronze.
The Under 19 Men's race final will be fascinating. Canterbury's powerful combination of Tayla Harrison, Dylan Kennett, Hamish Schreurs and George Tutton will start from the front straight as top qualifiers after they buried Tutton on the front as starter for 650 metres before bringing it home with the other three. Southland's combination of Liam Aitcheson, Tom Beadle, Josh Haggerty and Tom Vessey adopted more traditional tactics and were nearly as effective, stopping the clock at 4:22.985 - just 1.4 seconds shy of Canterbury.
The bronze medal ride will feature Otago's Max Beckert, Sam Friend, Mitchell Podmore and Luke Wieblitz against Waikato-BOP's Boris Clark, Hayden McCormick, Blair Treymane and Auckland's Hardy Michel.
Today was also Keirin day for the Under 19s. Morning heats saw Callum Saunders, Jeremy Presbury, Dylan Kennett, Chad Elliston, Tom Beadle and Daniel Ellison all win through to the Semifinal. Zac Williams, Jono Laycock, Harrison Perriam, Hayden McCormick, Boris Clark and Mitchell Podmore all joined them via the repecharges.
Saunders, Williams and Ellison won through to the 1-6 Final from the first semi final while Beadle, Kennett and Presbury joined them after a perfectly timed move in the second.
The Under 15 Points Race finalists were also confirmed following heats today. Six qualifiers from each heat won through with Michaela Drummond, Jordanna Hallam, Michaela Kerr, Georgia Cowman, Aly Doherty, Phoebe McCaughen, Emma Cumming, Jessica Read, Libby Arbuckle, Natasha Dickison, Isobella Smith and Emily Shearman to contest the Girls final tonight.
The Boys' final will contested by Brayden Stephens, Hamish Beadle, Tom Sexton, Noah Mason-Smith, Marcus Jones, Bentley Atkinson, Hayden Strong, Campbell Stewart, Sam Thorpe-Loversuch, Josh Carpenter, Joshua Smith and Josh Carlier. Sexton's ride was particularly with the Southland youngster being brought down by another rider as the bunch positioned itself for the final sprint. Knowing he had to re-join the race before the final five laps, he dusted himself off and gamely rode the final five with a broken race shoe and avoided losing a lap to qualify for this evening's race for the medals.
The four form riders in the Under 17 girls will square off tonight for the medals in the Individual Pursuit. Just 0.127 seconds seperated Holly Edmondston of Canterbury and Southland's laura Heywood in qualifying. The pair will face off tonight in the ride for gold while Auckland's Holly White and West Coast North Island's Kate Stewart.
Racing starts again at 6pm tonight with each of the finals from this morning's qualifying along with Time Trial for the Masters Women and Under 17 Boys and the Masters 1 Men Points Race.
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