The finish line camera captures Simon van Velthooven (top) and Eddie Dawkins’ dead-heat in the Elite Men’s Sprint at the ILT Festival of Speed in Invercargill tonight.
In the end they could not be separated.
Remarkably, Night Two of Cycling Southland’s ILT Festival of Speed finished in the most dramatic circumstances possible with Eddie Dawkins and Simon van Velthooven being declared joint-winners of the Elite Men’s Sprint title following an unprecedented dead-heat.
A near capacity crowd at Invercargill’s ILT Velodrome was treated to high drama as two of New Zealand’s Commonwealth Games medallists squared off in the last race of an action-packed programme. Having been relatively untroubled through the qualifying rounds it looked as though van Velthooven had stolen the title from Dawkins as he crossed the line narrowly in front of the home town hero. However, upon review, the comissaire team disqualified van Velthooven for straying onto the blue Cote d’Azur on the inside of the track as he crossed the finish. This sent the crowd into a frenzy and in a wonderful display of sportsmanship Dawkins and van Velthooven lined up for a second time, with the crowd’s roar of “RE-RACE, RE-RACE” ringing in their ears.
Second time round it was even closer and in the desperate lunge for the line the race was declared a dead-heat.
Earlier in the day Sam Webster set the qualifying alight with an electrifying burst to set a new National Record, beating Eddie Dawkins previous mark, set at the Elite Nationals earlier this year. Fellow Aucklander Stephanie McKenzie also lowered the U19 Women’s 200 metre sprint record in the same session.
In the Elite Women’s Sprint, Sydney’s Cassandra Kell surprised crowd favourite and National Record holder Natasha Hansen to claim the win.
Night two also featured the start of the Elite Men’s Omnium and the early running was made by two young riders we have heard a lot of recently. Myron Simpson grabbed the gold arm-band after the opening Flying 250m event but his Madison partner Aaron Gate took it off him after the 10km Scratch. However Simpson didn’t have long to wait until he re-claimed the lead, beating the Devil to win the Elimination and take a one point lead over Gate at the halfway point of the competition.
Tasmania’s Laura McCaughey also underlined her unquestioned talent in the Women’s Endurance field, winning both the Points and Elimination races.
The ILT Festival of Speed concludes with finals night on Thursday and will include entertainment from Lipstick and more from Stunt BMX legend Paul Langlands and friends.
Tickets are still available from Stadium Southland for just $10 for adults, $5 for students and Family Passes for $20. One spectator will also win a weekend for two in Adelaide at the Tour Down Under in January to watch Lance Armstrong’s last professional race outside of the United States.