Right on the heels of a national award recognising the huge contribution made by Cycling Southland’s volunteers and officials, the local club tonight took the opportunity to salute its own team at the annual awards evening, held at Ascot Park Hotel.
With the addition of several new awards this year, the evening recognised the invaluable input from members of all ages and abilities, who help to keep the sport’s wheels turning year after year, which proved highly appropriate only days after Cycling Southland was named Club of the Year at the BikeNZ Road and Track Volunteer Awards in Auckland.
Cycling CEO Nick Jeffrey said, while no one did all the work for awards, it was always nice to see all hard work recognised.
“Locally, the UCI Juniors Track World Championships was the beacon of a massive year for Cycling in the south but, for me personally, the continued growth of the sport at grass-roots level was the most pleasing thing.
“Hosting an event the scale of Junior Worlds gets you the headlines and gets you the awards, but it’s the volunteers who turn up week after week to assist with club racing or coaching on the velodrome or stand on a wind-swept corner with high-vis vest and flag in hand who put us in the position to put our hands up with events like this.”
For its contribution awards, the Peter Grandiek Cup for contribution to masters cycling was presented to a tireless coach who is thought to breathe, eat and sleep cycling, Waine Harding, for his continued efforts in all areas of the club, including senior road racing, masters coaching and adult track session coaching.
Julian Ineson aptly took out the Tony Ineson Cup for contribution to senor cycling – named in his father’s honour – for his unwavering commitment to all things cycling, including event commentating, U19 coaching for track nationals and associated squads, as well as being the driving force behind the results, records and memorabilia displayed in the Velodrome and lounges.
The Laurie Tall Cup for contribution to junior Cycling was another strongly contested category with endless hours of weekly coaching, advice and assistance to juniors giving Dave Beadle the award. As part of the driving force behind this year’s hugely successful U17 squad, Beadle also volunteers hours of secondary school girls sessions each week – with the attendance numbers continuing to grow from strength to strength.
Special Contribution Awards were also presented to Marie Muhl (Masters Cycling), Robin Criglington (Senior Cycling) and Alan Strong (Junior Cycling) for their generous efforts.
The Senior Newcomers Award went to a deserving Luke Macpherson whose recent conversion to cycling has taken huge leaps and bounds to become one of the strongest riders in A Grade on a local scene, while also making a mark nationally. Macpherson placed second in the Tour de Lakes, had a top five finish in the Elites at the Club Road Nationals and features regularly in the Benchmark Series.
The inaugural Junior Newcomers Award was presented to Samuel Miller who had an excellent start to the Track in his first Track Nationals before securing a stand-out fourth place at the Club Road Nationals and taking out the Junior B Grade in the SouthPort Criterium Series.
Two new Off the Bike Awards were awarded to junior Caleb Hope for always helping out at junior sessions and race nights, while the Peter Kissell Memorial senior trophy went to Mike Cooper for his massive behind the scenes effort with timing systems and other track-related equipment since the Track opened more than seven years ago.
With a who’s who of top juniors and exemplary results to admire in the south, the Junior Rider of the Year went to Tom Sexton for an exceptional year on both the track and road, including an array of medals from the Track Nationals, bronze at the Club Road Nationals and first place in the SouthPort Crit Junior A Grade.
The Senior Rider of the Year title was shared between equally deserving master Erin Criglington, whose flurry of gold medals and national records on both track and road, and U19 Junior Worlds rider Jeremy Presbury, whose highlight was a private collection of golds at the Youth Olympics, meant it was impossible to separate the two.
The Elite Rider of the Year as another hugely contested title with Paralympian triple medallists, top road performers, Olympians and World Champs medallists all in the mix. But overall performances locally and at the recent World Champs meant a team sprint silver medal locked in the big man of the track Eddie Dawkins for the honour.
The final People's Choice Awards of the night were the "Muppet of the Year" awarded to U17 rider Matt Nunn for a wrong turn and miscommunication from a road marshall that saw him ride 150km to Gore instead of the Southland Road Champs circuit, while the Performance of the Year when to U19 high achiever Josh Haggerty.
The evening was topped off with guest speakers Academy Southland manager Jason McKenzie and cycling guru Steve Canny.
Jeffrey said with many more exciting international and national events pending on the calendar for both road and track events, including the WHK Corporate Pursuit in August, Yunca Junior Tour in October, a UCI Level 1 Festival of Speed, Oceania Track Championships and Tour of Southland in November and Southland Track Champs in December there were many more exciting achievements to be celebrated over the coming months. Once again it would be the flurry of willing volunteers and officials who would ensure these events ran smoothly so the riders could focus on their craft.