Cycling Southland tonight paid tribute to a large list of contributors on and off the bike at the annual Awards evening, held at Ascot Park Hotel.
The evening recognised volunteers, new-comers and the first ever Rider of the Year awards.
The Laurie Tall Cup for contribution to junior cycling was awarded to Sier Vermunt for his tireless work as Event Director for the hugely successful Yunca Junior Tour over the past two years. Under Vermunt’s directorship the Yunca Tour has grown to one of Australasia’s largest with more than 180 riders 18 years of age and under competing in the three-day tour last year.
Robin Criglington took out the Tony Ineson Cup for contribution to senior cycling, recognising his service throughout the year at Cycling Southland’s senior club races while National track champion and record holder Bruce Jones was a popular winner of the Peter Grandiek Cup for Contribution to Masters Cycling.
Emma Cumming headed a strong list of riders to take out the New-comer of the Year. Cumming, in her first year in the sport, won two medals in the Under 15 girls’ category at the recent Age Group Track Nationals in Invercargill.
Special awards for volunteer contributions were also given to senior club convenor Waine Harding, outgoing junior convenor Dave Beadle and to Graeme and Julie Irvine for their work with recreational riders throughout the year.
The first annual Cycling Southland Rider of the Year awards were chosen from a shopping list of performances, all worthy of recognition. In the end the judges could not split the overall efforts of Laura Heywood and Michael Culling, who jointly won the Junior Rider of the Year. Junior Worlds representative Jeremy Presbury took out the Senior Rider of the Year while Natasha Hansen claimed the Elite Rider of the Year in a star-studded field, which included fellow-Olympian Eddie Dawkins, Matt Archibald, Tom Scully, Cameron Karwowski, Pieter Bulling and Steph McKenzie.
The evening also featured an address from High Performance Sport New Zealand’s Simon Jones and saw a number of other prizes including two People’s Choice awards – the Performance of the Year and Muppet of the Year Award.
Ray Robinson took “Elmo” home as Muppet of the Year after turning up for the Gore to Waikiwi classic without his race shoes. He proceeded to ride the race with rags stuffed in the back of a borrowed set which were four sizes too big and in the process pulled muscles which saw him off the bike for a number of weeks.
Meanwhile the crowd selected Tom Sexton’s medal-winning ride in the Under 15 Boys’ Points Race at the Age Group Track Nationals. After falling Tom fought off officials and medical staff to rejoin the race and fight his way to the finish to earn a spot on the podium.
Cycling Southland’s Chief Executive Nick Jeffrey said the awards will become a fixture on the local cycling calendar. “These awards took on a life of their own. Initially we were just looking to get together as a club and enjoy a good night out. Then we decided to award a few trophies and it was hard to know when to stop.”
“These nights are important, as they are for all sporting organisations. So much work goes in to deliver the results that catch the headlines and often it’s not until you have a night like this when you can take a breath and reflect on all that’s been achieved by our riders.”
With the Junior World Track Championships being held in Invercargill in August, Cycling Southland should brace for an even larger reason to celebrate this time next year.