After a successful inaugural year, the National Track Series is back for 2019, beginning with round one in Invercargill from 31 May-2 June.
The National Track Series was implemented in 2018 to provide a platform for young riders to further develop their tactical and technical awareness on the track, and access relevant and practicable educational, coaching and tactical/technical workshops off it.
Seventy riders have entered the first round at SIT Zero Fees Velodrome, with an even split of males and females. This is almost double the amount of entries from last year, an indication of the success of the last year’s series.
Cycling New Zealand Athlete Development lead Graeme Hunn said the series plays an important role in the development of young track cyclists.
“For some riders, this is one of few opportunities to learn to race on an indoor track outside of national championships. The more racing opportunities our riders have, the better they will become.
The strong emphasis on workshops and coaching throughout the weekend means our athletes and coaches will continue to grow as a result of this initiative.”
Local riders account for almost a third of entries, including endurance riders Emily Paterson and Conor Shearing, who will represent New Zealand at this year’s Junior World Championships in Germany, sprinter Sophie-Leigh Bloxham, who attended the same event last year, and nine other riders from the SIT Southern Performance Hub including current Oceania junior keirin champion, Tyla Green.
Seven of Paterson and Shearing’s peers headed for Germany will also make an appearance this weekend, including road and track star Ally Wollaston, who collected five gold and two bronze medals at the Vantage Elite & U19 National Championships in February, Hub riders Sami Donnelly (Upper South), Olivia King (Grassroots Trust Waikato BoP), Eva Parkinson (Grassroots Trust Waikato BoP), Lachlan Dickson (Barfoot & Thompson Auckland), Keegan Hornblow (Upper South) and Taupo’s Kiaan Watts, a member of the 2018 Junior Worlds team.
The series also provides an important build-up for the 20 riders selected to battle it out with their Australian counterparts at the Oceania Championships in October, also taking place in Invercargill. This will be an exciting time for Iocal riders Green, her sister Natalie and Navarh Brotherston, who will all have the opportunity to race their first international meet on home turf.
The race programme includes both sprint and endurance events, including standard races as match sprints, tempo and scratch, as well as other formats including snowball points and Madison eliminations.
Racing begins on Friday night and goes through the weekend until Sunday noon. Entry is free and spectators welcome. The series continues at the Avantidrome in Cambridge for rounds two and three in mid-July and mid-September.
CAPTION: Grassroots Trust Waikato BoP Performance Hub’s Ally Wollaston and McKenzie Milne compete in the Madison race at the 2018 Subway Series. (Photo credit: Dianne Manson).