The records kept tumbling on the final morning of qualifying at the Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Invercargill today.
It was the chance for the sprinters to shine, with four New Zealand records broken at the ILT Velodrome.
New Zealand’s Natasha Hansen, the former Cantabrian now living in Southland, not only celebrated a new national and allcomers record in qualifying, but heads into the sprint final tonight where she will meet Australian Stephanie Morton, after both won their semifinals in two straight rides.
Auckland’s Sam Webster, like Hansen, set a new national and allcomers record in qualifying and forced his way through to the final where he will meet the Commonwealth Games kilo gold medallist, Scott Sunderland (Australia).
Keirin champion Simon Van Velthooven set things alight in the early stages with a New Zealand record performance, clocking 10.217 in qualifying, inside his previous best of 10.35. Australian Andrew Taylor went quicker at 10.181 – to be close to the previous quickest time on the track of 10.154 set by compatriot Mark French.
The starter in New Zealand’s team sprint combination, Ethan Mitchell set a personal best 10.287 to continue his strong form, with Eddie Dawkins clocking 10.232.
It took to the second last rider to set the morning alight when top kiwi sprinter Webster set a stunning 10.106s, which broke the record Van Velthooven had set early, as well as the all-comers record for the track.
Young kiwi sprinter Katie Schofield from Dunedin set the tone in the women’s sprint qualifying with a personal best 11.790, which was her first time under the 12 second barrier.
The big move came from world junior sprint silver medallist Stephanie McKenzie from Auckland who set a superb 11.616, faster than her medal winning performance in Moscow and under the previous New Zealand record held by Hansen.
But Hansen answered the call when she produced a sensational 11.366 which lowered the national record as well as the allcomers record for the track.
The 2010 team pursuit world champion Ashlee Akuninoff (Australia) produced a strong 3:38.649 to claim the win in the fourth event of the women’s omnium, the 3000m individual pursuit. She led home compatriot Amy Cure, the 2010 junior world champion and record holder who clocked 3:39.984.
Co-leader in the competition overnight, Joanne Kiesanowski (NZL) felt unwell today and accordingly did not have a strong performance, finishing sixth fastest to slip down the overall leaderboard behind the two Australians with two events remaining tonight.
Hawkes Bay rider Westley Gough produced a world class time of 4:19.720 to be fastest in the 4000m individual pursuit.
Shane Archbold (4:25.840) was second fastest and has extended his lead in the competition to five points over Gough with Jason Allen (4:27.496) third on 15 points.