28/07/2011 - Southland businesses will be operating at speed this Sunday as Cycling Southland’s Harrex Group-sponsored Corporate Pursuit is held for the sixth time. After last weekend’s Grading Time Trial the capacity field of 34 teams has been split into two divisions as each six-person squad lines up to battle each other over a full day of racing.
Cycling Southland’s Event Managers Julian Ineson and Sier Vermunt were delighted with the level of competition in last Sunday’s Time Trial. “It’s always something of an unknown quantity for the riders and for us as officials, particularly this year with the mix of new and experienced teams,” Ineson said. “We now know that Sunday’s Finals day will feature some of the closest racing we’ve ever seen with just tenths of seconds separating the teams at the top of both divisions.”
Vermunt agreed and believes the teams will go up another notch this weekend. “We see it every year, teams line up on competition days with the crowd cheering and the adrenaline pumping and they take huge time off their previous bests. We saw it in last weekend’s time trial and I know we’ll see it again on Sunday. This is literally anyone’s race,” Vermunt said.
The fastest 16 qualifiers from last weekend’s time trial enter Division One this weekend. Last year’s beaten finalist, the Police Five-Os will shoulder the favourite’s tag after registering 1 minute 17.461 seconds to take the top seeding. Fonterra’s Milking It secured second place with 1’18.369 while the Calder Stewart Rebels, a new addition to this year’s event, and Southland District Council’s Recyclists showed they will be right in the money with the third and fourth fastest times respectively, just half a second further back.
The other Division One teams (in order) are Southroads’ Slip Streamers, BNZ, Preston Russell Gangsters, HW Richardson Riders, SBS Bank, Jackson Plumbing’s Flying Plumbs, Waihopai Health Services’ Psycling Mad, WHK/Janet Copeland Law, Police Get Knicked, EIS, Harcourts’ Hurricanes and Cunningham Builders/Signature Homes’ Wheelie Good Builders.
Division Two will be also closely fought with less than a second separating its top five teams - ILT Heineken, Number 4RD, Finance Now, YMCA and the Southland Times’ Time Magicians. Finance Now showed what’s possible on the day taking an incredible eight seconds off their previous best. This shows that with the elimination format of finals day, anyone is a chance. The remaining teams in Division Two are Opus International Consultants, AWS Legal, St Thomas Aquinas School’s Wheel ‘Em In, Mitre 10 MEGA’s Big Is Good, Team ASA Stonewood, McIntyre Dick & Partners, Fonterra’s Creaming It, The Radio Network’s Classic Hitters, Mediaworks Southland’s Jocks of Hazard, PowerNet Cyclotron, Preston Russell Flyers, Eagles, Eagles & Redpath’s Soaring Eagles and Konica Minolta’s Next Generation.
As always, there will be a little extra edge in some battles for placing. The banking, accountancy, legal, building and media sectors are well represented. Perhaps the greatest grudge match will be between the rival radio networks with just 0.13 seconds separating the Classic Hitters and Jock of Hazard in Sunday’s Time Trial.
Cycling Southland is fortunate to have Harrex Group as a passionate sponsor of the Corporate Pursuit. CEO Nicki Morsink has felt the thrill of competing and knows what each competitor will be going through on Sunday. “The sense of teamwork and having pulled together to do their best will bring a smile to every face,” she said. “We are very excited to be working with Cycling Southland again this year and congratulate all of the businesses who have taken the challenge. I am sure the experience will be as rewarding and insightful as ours have been.”
So, all is in readiness for a great day on Sunday. Cycling Southland Chief Executive Nick Jeffrey believes this is one of the most enjoyable events of the year. “It’s always great fun. The crowd gets into it with costumes and banners and plenty of noise and you’ve got racing from 9.30 in the morning right through until after 4pm. We make sure it’s easy to come along – admission is just $2 for adults and children are free and it’s a great chance to see everyday Southlanders out there giving it a crack and loving every minute of it.”
The riders are not the only ones chasing wins on Sunday. There are ILT vouchers for the best supporters – the loudest and proudest - and a brand new Mountain bike from Wensley’s Cycles, in association with Specialized, which someone in the crowd will take home with them. A new addition to the schedule this year is the all-comers record attempts with four composite teams lining up in the lunch-time break to try and set new lows for the 1000 metres distance.
Racing starts at 9.30am at the ILT Velodrome.