Another successful year of achievements was celebrated by members of the cycling fraternity at the Cycling Southland annual prizegiving awards last night.
The celebration continued the run from the recent ILT Sports Awards when Pieter Bulling was named senior Sportsperson of the Year, Erin Criglington was named Master of the Year for the second consecutive time and Allan Dunn was named Administrator of the Year for his 20 years of dedication to running the annual Tour de Lakes event.
Cycling Southland president Lindsay Jordan said for the second year running since the North Island velodrome opened, Southland had held its own in terms of continuing to produce top class junior riders, while keeping the track busy with schools and community groups during the day.
For its contribution awards, the Peter Grandiek Cup for contribution to masters cycling was presented to a club stalwart Nick Harris, who has been instrumental in the coaching and support of the centre’s extremely strong masters riders who were instrumental in results at the March Track Nationals.
Robin Criglington and his dedicated and loyal commitment to assist with both road and track cycling was recognised when he took out the Tony Ineson Cup for contribution to senior cycling for his voluntary services each week signing in and collecting rider fees at every weekend race, along with registrations and payments at track events and being the lead-out car every year on the Tour of Southland.
The Laurie Tall Cup for contribution to junior cycling was another strongly contested category with the winner Gerald Paterson being responsible for the weekly training and development of the under 15 squad in preparation for Track Nationals and other key events.
The Junior Newcomers Award was presented to Nepia Ruwhiu who debuted on the track at the Southland Champs putting in some fine finishes against what is considered the strongest field in the under 17 boys. He went on to represent the south at the Track Nationals and just missed the podium when he finished fourth in a composite team in the team sprint.
Under 15 Newcomer of the Year was awarded to Keegan Knipe after his stellar debut at the Southland Track Championships with four golds, followed up with a silver and bronze at the Track Nationals.
The Senior Off the Bike Award for the Peter Kissell trophy was awarded to Danielle Ralph who has single-handedly taken on a myriad of supporting roles associated with road racing, major tours, track and results duties. Her new-found roles include road and track timing systems, event organisation, administration, road management and now she has the Yunca Junior Tour management role.
The outstanding results among a raft of top juniors made for another exceptionally tight battle with key nominees of Hamish Beadle, Sam Miller, Tom Sexton, Bradly Knipe, Kain Bowles, Ellesse Andrews Brayden Stephens, Hayden Strong, Emma Cumming, Hamish Keast and Corbin Strong, seeing Cumming taking out the coveted Junior Rider of the Year title for the second consecutive year. The Southland Champs were again a showcase for Cumming with five gold medals in individual events and three silvers at the National Champs. She then cemented her spot in the Cycling NZ under 19 team to travel to the ITS Cup in Adelaide, along with selection for the Junior Worlds Track Championships in Kazakhstan in October.
The Junior under 15 rider of the Year went to Emily Paterson who secured four golds at the Southland Champs, followed by two silver and a bronze at the Track Nationals, along with double gold in the Southland Road Champs time trial and race events.
The Most Improved Rider of the Year was award to Brad Knipe who achieved blistering times for gold in three Southland Champs events and gold and bronze at nationals. Selection for the New Zealand under19 team to attend the ITS Cup in Adelaide followed, along with selection for Academy Southland’s Pathway to the Podium programme and selection in the national team for the upcoming Oceania Track Champs.
The Senior Rider of the Year title went to double rainbow jersey-wearing world master Erin Criglington for the third year running after defending the 2000m individual pursuit at the World Track Champs in Manchester, along with adding the points race title to her credit. She then went on to claim five further golds at the Track National Champs and remained undefeated at the Southland Champs.
The Elite Rider of the Year was another hugely contested title, a who’s who of talented Southlanders in the mix with Eddie Dawkins, Matt Archibald, Tom Scully, Pieter Bulling, Tom Scully, Cam Karwowski, Matt Zenovich and Josh Haggerty. But the achievement of cementing himself as the “strong man” in the New Zealand men’s pursuit team that secured gold at the World Champs in Paris saw Bulling take the accolade. After gold they followed up with two bronze medal rides at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the World Champs in February. Gold is definitely the colour they are eyeing in Rio.
Special Contribution Awards were also presented to Nicola Stevens and Fergus Canny for their commitment and dedication coaching new riders, NCEA school programmes, community groups and Learn to Ride in Schools, and Cycling NZ and ILT Sports Awards double-capped Administrator of the Year Allan Dunn for his unwavering, 20-year commitment to running the annual Tour de Lakes.
The evening was topped off with guest speaker and world title holder, power lifter Sonia Manaena sharing her story, which is being made into a New Zealand movie next year.
Jordan said the loss of the Cycling NZ High Performance programme to Cambridge, including so many of our own elite riders nearly two years ago was always going to be a reality.
“But we have continued from strength to strength with ongoing development of elite riders for the future and it’s shown again in the results we put up – from retaining the National Points Shield for the record eighth consecutive year to the number of national representative team rider selections from our under 17 and under 19 riders. It’s been exceptional.”
“The year of achievements and highlights will continue forward as we prepare for our Yunca Junior Road Tour, ILT Junior Track Carnival and the 2016 Oceania Track Champs here in October, along with our landmark SBS Tour of Southland in November and our own Southland Track Champs in December. There’s still plenty to enjoy and celebrate ahead.”