Invercargill Ready for Influx of Track Cyclists
Invercargill is gearing up for a busy few weeks of track cycling, starting with the Cycling New Zealand Schools National Track Championships, at the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome on Tuesday.
This leads to the International season that pedals into action the following week with the Oceania Track Championships at Invercargill, with both events being hosted by Cycling Southland.
The schools’ event has attracted over 150 riders from 46 schools and incorporates the South Island Schools Championship. This is the second National Schools Track Championships following the inaugural event in Cambridge last year.
The under-14 boys and under-16 girls have the largest fields, with 22 and 20 riders respectively, ensuring some exciting racing. There is an international element to the event, with nine riders from New South Wales competing, after taking part in the annual Yunca Junior Tour road cycling event in Southland.
Keeping the Australians at bay will be a key task for local school, James Hargest College, which has 23 riders competing, the largest of any school. Local riders looking for success in the under-20 events will be the SIT Southern Hub pairing of Emily Paterson and Conor Shearing, who represented New Zealand at the UCI Junior Track World Championships in August.
Paterson walked away with a silver medal in the team’s pursuit at the event, with Shearing’s performances in Germany earning him the call-up to the Vantage New Zealand elite team to contest the Oceania Track Championships starting on 16 October.
James Hargest will face tough competition from Cambridge High, the top school at the North Island Schools Track Championships, in their quest for the top school award. Cambridge’s team is led by senior students Mya Anderson and Maddi Douglas, the latter coming off success at the School Road National Championships where she won both the road and points races in the under-20 grade. Not to be outdone, Anderson won the top rider award at the North Island Schools Track event in July and will be in good form heading into the Oceania event next week.
Multi-national record holder Jenna Borthwick will wear the colours of St Margarets College (Christchurch) in the under-17 girls grade before she too represents New Zealand at the Oceania event.
In the under-17 boys grade, Jack Carswell (Cambridge High), Hamish Coltman (St Peters Cambridge), Ryan Macleod (Papanui High) and Mitchel Fitzsimons (Southland Boys) will be the riders to watch after all four had solid showings at the Vantage Age Group Track National Championships and throughout the National Track Series.
Cambridge sister duo Seana and Caoillin Gray will be looking to replicate their North Island titles in the under-15 and under-13 grades, having both won cross-country honours at the National Schools Mountain Bike Championships in Dunedin at the weekend.
The event will run on Tuesday and Wednesday this week with South Island Schools titles awarded alongside National Schools titles at the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome in Invercargill.