Southland’s Eddie Dawkins set a new national record to top qualifiers for the men’s sprint on the second day of the UCI Festival of Speed at Invercargill this morning.
It is the first time New Zealand has hosted a Tier One event which begins the qualifying process for the 2016 Rio Olympics, attracting riders from six nations against a strong Kiwi contingent.
Dawkins, who won the men’s keirin final in spectacular fashion last night, clocked 10.002 seconds, agonisingly close to be the first rider to break the 10 second barrier in this country.
He did break the national record of 10.058 set by Auckland’s Sam Webster in the national championships earlier this year.
Four Kiwis and four Australians qualified for the afternoon elimination rounds with Olympic bronze medallist Shane Perkins leading the way for the visitors in 10.112 to be second fastest ahead of New Zealanders Matt Archibald and Webster.
Meanwhile Mid-Canterbury’s Lauren Ellis extended her lead in the women’s omnium after winning the individual pursuit in 3:41.698 ahead of fellow Olympians Jaime Nielsen and Rushlee Buchanan, who retain second and third placings respectively.
World champion Aaron Gate extended his lead in the men’s omnium after finishing second in the individual pursuit in 4:30.082 behind promising Australian Tirian McManus (4:27.263) with Dylan Kennett third (4:30.938). Gate has 10 points after four rounds ahead of Australian Miles Scotson 13, Pieter Bulling (NZL) 20 with Kennett and McManus tied on 21.
The scratch race and time trial wrap up the omnium competition.
The UCI Festival of Speed continues this afternoon, with the four-day Oceania Championships beginning on Tuesday.
Sprint qualifiers: Eddie Dawkins (NZL) 10.002, 1 (NZ Record); Shane Perkins (AUS) 10.112, 2; Matt Archibald (10.123, 3; Sam Webster (NZL) 10.213, 4; Jacob Schmid (AUS) 10.244, 5; Simon van Velthooven (NZL) 10.279, 6; Mitchell Bullen (AUS) 10.329, 7; Andrew Taylor (AUS) 10.413, 8.