25/01/2011 - The first 18 titles of the 2011 McLeay Jewellers Southland Track Champs were handed out to junior, elite and masters’ riders tonight at the ILT Velodrome. New Southland recruit Lee Evans took out the prestigious McLean Cup winning the Open Men’s 1000 metre Time Trial in a time of 1’07.639, beating Pieter Bulling home by just over a second with Sean Fox in third place.
Evans rode his kilo in Wellington colours but after the race confirmed to the crowd that he would be swapping his allegiance to Southland for the upcoming Elite Track Nationals at the end of February.
Earlier, Time Trial titles were won by Makayla Smith and Josh Carpenter (Under 15s), Laura Heywood and Michael Culling (Under 17s), Steph McKenzie (Under 19s), Jacq Dearlove (Master 2 Women), Erin Criglinton (Masters 1 Women), Ray Robinson (Masters 3 Men), Richard Eade (Masters 2 Men), Michael White (Masters 1 Men) and Sequoia Cooper (Elite Women). Cooper’s head-to-head battle with Kylie Young was gripping with only 0.05 seconds separating the two on the line.
New Zealand representative McKenzie, another who will don Southland colours for the first time at the Age Group Champs, was only 0.2 seconds outside her 500m National Record while Criglington also narrowly missed lowering her record mark.
The night concluded with Scratch Race victories for Hamish Beadle, Bronwyn Graham, Laura Heywood, Michael Culling, Neil Familton, Ray Robinson and Michael White.
Heywood’s performance in the Under 17 Girls race was particularly impressive, making her move 400 metres from home and blasting away to a spectacular solo victory. She continues to impress many with her rapid development after only taken up the sport 18 months ago.
Para-cyclist Phillipa Gray together with pilot Laura Thompson continued their rapid progress registering another personal best on the tandem over 500 metres.
Racing continues on Friday night with Sprint qualifying and finals along with Points and Scratch races before concluding over two sessions on Saturday.
The Southland Track Championships are the last chance for riders to push for selection in the Southland team to defend the National Points Shield at the RaboDirect National Track Championships in Invercargill from February 25th to March 5th. Full results are available here.