Botha, Dakin score records at national championships

Road, Track & Cyclocross
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Tokyo Olympians Bryony Botha and Sam Dakin have shone early at New Zealand Track Cycling National Championships at the Grassroots Trust Velodrome in Cambridge.

Botha broke her own New Zealand record in winning the elite women’s 3000m individual pursuit, clocking 3:17.827, overtaking fellow high performance teammate Sami Donnelly in the final and going on to record the new national mark.

It was 0.6s inside the previous record set in winning the gold medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022. She went through the opening 1000m in 1:10 and 2000m in 2:13, riding with outstanding consistently with all 12 laps between 15.8 and 16.1 seconds.

Dakin set a new personal best in sprint qualifying, lowing his flying 200m time to 9.735s, the only rider under the 10 second barrier. His time also broke the New Zealand Championship record of 9.763s. His time was just 0.12s outside Sam Webster’s national record.

Dakin went on to dominate the competition, beating Patrick Clancy in two straight rides in the final. He followed this on Sunday with victory in the final of the keirin, proving too strong to finish ahead of Liam Cavanagh and Kaio Lart.

In other elite racing, Southland’s Nick Kergozou prevailed in the sprint finish to win the scratch race ahead of James Gardner and Daniel Bridgwater, with Hannah Bayard claiming the women’s scratch race ahead of Belle Judd and Georgia Simpson.

Rebecca Petch won her first elite national title, claiming the women’s keirin final ahead of Mya Anderson and Sophie de Vries.

Kyle Aitkin claimed the men’s individual pursuit final, edging Kergozou in an exciting final. The pair were locked after 2000m with Aitken edging to a 0.3s lead at 3000m and came home the strong to win in 4:19.749 for the 4000m, two seconds clear. Bailey O’Donnell held off Oliver Watson-Palmer for the bronze medal.

O’Donnell earned his first elite national title, winning the elimination final over Hayden Strong with the ever-present Kergozou third.

Shaane Fulton proved too powerful in the women’s elite sprint, winning the final over De Vries in two straight rides, with Anderson claiming the bronze over emerging BMX star Leila Walker.

The competition, which includes Para cyclists and age grade riders, continues until Thursday.

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