Date: Friday, 08 February 2019


Southland sprinters staked an early claim in the elite sprint competition with two championship records on the second morning of the Vantage Elite & U19 Track Cycling National Championships at the Avantidrome in Cambridge.

Vantage New Zealand Elite team rider Eddie Dawkins set a new mark of 9.801, lowering the previous time by Sam Webster in 2015. Webster qualified third, with Mitchell, the remaining member of the multi world champion sprint trio, slotting between them to head the elite men’s sprint competition. All three went on to qualify for this evening’s semi-finals along with Grassroots Trust Waikato BOP Performance Hub rider Callum Saunders who came from behind to beat Southland’s Bradly Knipe in a tight quarterfinal tussle.

In the women’s equivalent, Vantage New Zealand teammate Natasha Hansen lowered her previous championship record by 0.005 seconds, topping qualifying ahead of Canterbury’s Olivia Podmore and the Subway Performance Hub pairing of Tess Young (Grassroots Trust/Waikato BOP) and Shaane Fulton (Tasman/Upper South) -  the latter riding her first year in the elite ranks. Hansen, Podmore and Young progressed through to the semi-finals, while Fulton was upset by Tahlay Christie (Grassroots Trust/Waikato BOP) in the quarters.

The elite women’s omnium has been dominated by members of the Vantage Elite New Zealand women’s endurance squad with Michaela Drummond and Holly Edmondston taking one race apiece so far. They sit atop the leader board on 78 points going into the final two races, Mid South Canterbury’s Lauren Ellis, who has recently returned to the track after the birth of her first child, sitting in third.

In Under 19 action, impressive young endurance rider Ally Wollaston, part of the junior world championships silver medallist team pursuit combination, produced a 2:21.995 in the individual pursuit to lower world record holder Ellesse Andrews all comers record set in 2017. Wollaston will race her teammate from the world championships, Canterbury’s Sami Donnelly, in the gold medal ride. SIT Southern Performance Hub rider Emily Paterson will face Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Performance Hub rider Ella Wyllie in the bronze medal match up.

The first two rounds of the under 19 men’s omnium produced some thrilling racing, with Canterbury’s Laurence Pithie sitting atop the standings on 76 points after the scratch and tempo races, followed by the Subway Performance Hub pairing of Kiaan Watts (Grassroots Trust Waikato BOP) and Griffyn Spencer (Upper South/Canterbury).

SIT Southern Performance Hub rider La’chlan Robertson went clear in the first heat of the under 19 men’s keirin to guarantee a spot in tonight’s final along with Sebastian Lipp, Haydn Muter, Angus Claasen and the Subway Performance Hub pair of Conor Shearing (SIT Southern) and Sam Upton (Barfoot & Thompson Auckland).

Paracycling competition continued on day two with the qualifying of the individual pursuit competition. Waikato Bay of Plenty’s Anna Taylor and Auckland’s Byron Raubenheimer qualified fastest in the women’s and men’s c1-c5 category, while Emma Foy (Northland) and pilot Hannah van Kampen (East Coast NI) replicated their impressive performance from yesterday’s time trial, setting a blistering pace to storm home over the kilometre in 3:27.294 in the blind/visually impaired tandem competition.

The championships continue until Sunday.

CAPTION: Natasha Hansen of Southland in her quarterfinal match up at the Vantage Elite & U19 Track National Championships (Photo credit: Dianne Manson) 

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