Date: Monday, 13 December 2010
Posted by: Cycling Southland

What a week. Cycling Southland’s ILT Festival of Speed ended on Thursday night, capping three incredible night’s racing. Our aim was to showcase elite track cycling as a sporting and entertainment spectacular in our world class facility. The hundreds of Southlanders who took their seats at the ILT Velodrome last week are in a far better position to comment than I, but we’re pretty satisfied with the end result.

A huge amount of work went into the event and to get the support we received from the Southland public was fantastic. As always, we are indebted to both the Invercargill Licensing Trust and the ILT Foundation for their on-going and unwavering support and for the assistance of BikeNZ and its High Performance Programme.

The feedback from the riders was outstanding. They loved every minute of it and loved the atmosphere, which they see regularly in the US and Europe and can now enjoy here at home. The more they enjoy the event, the better the racing is and the better the spectacle is for the crowd. At this time of year most riders are focused on registering times, or on making teams, so to give them three nights where they can have some fun, put on a show and enjoy the racing is important.

We’re also really heartened by the feedback from our international riders who have raved about the ILT Velodrome and to hear BikeNZ Track Coach Tim Carswell say Tuesday night’s Madison was in his eyes the greatest field ever assembled is pretty staggering.

It’s vital we put New Zealand on the world track cycling map with a view to our hosting of the Junior World Track Championships in 2012. I think we’ve raised the bar a fair bit, but we won’t leave it there. The challenge for us is to take more steps up through 2011, starting with our New Year Carnival on January 15th and 16th.

We capped last week with our end of year prize-giving evening on Friday. After watching the country’s best compete with international riders during the week, it made perfect sense to also recognise our top Club performances during the year in the same week.

We also introduced three new awards for Contribution to Junior, Senior and Masters Cycling. So often the focus is on those who cross the line first. These three awards are designed to recognise the huge numbers who contribute so much to our organisation through the year.

And we have made a point to award these in the name of some gentlemen who themselves have given lifetimes of service to Cycling Southland. We are delighted to advise the inaugural winners of the Laurie Tall Cup for Overall Contribution to Junior cycling was Dave Beadle. Waine Harding claimed the Tony Ineson Cup for his contribution to senior cycling and Erin Criglington was the first name etched on the Peter Grandiek Cup for her services to masters cycling.

My personal thanks to each for their outstanding and invaluable work.

Nick Jeffrey

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