Inexperience did not deter the Mid-South Canterbury under-17 pairing of Jonathan Fish and Jaxson Whyte on the final night of the Vantage Age Group Track National Championships in Invercargill.
They dominated the under-17 Madison final over 10kms, the two-person points race with one rider in play at all times, swapping with a hand-sling by the two riders.
Timaru’s Jaxson Whyte, who has been a standout performer at the championships, paired with Waimate’s Jonathan Fish who was experiencing the complicated and often chaotic madison race for the first time.
They won three of the four sprints and were second in the other to win with 23 points, from Southland on 11 and Auckland on seven.
“I was not looking forward. I thought I would be taken out, said Fish. “But it was great even though it was my first madison,” said Fish. “I knew vaguely where we were in terms of the race because Jaxson had taken out the sprints so I knew we had good points.”
Whyte, who was riding just his third madison, said the pair went hard from the start to break up the race because of their inexperience.
The win wrapped up a successful championship with a mix of the leading under-15 and under-17 emerging talent with Masters riders 35 years and over.
“The age group nationals continue to showcase our young talent while putting forward some new faces. The development of skills in all age groups is encouraging as we look to prepare athletes for future international competitions,” said Cycling New Zealand’s Graeme Hunn.
Combining the men’s Masters grades for the points races made for excitement, with a full field resulting in a race of constant attacks as riders chased points to secure placings within each grade. The Mid South Canterbury pairing of Craig Domigan and Hamish McDonald won the final double-points sprint to take the gold in Masters 1 and 2 respectively.
“It was pretty special to take golds in the final race of the night,” said Domigan who ended the championships with a medal in every individual event he entered.
He said the amalgamation of the two clubs in Timaru has been beneficial for the development of the sport.
“There is now a single focus around making better bike riders and the success here from both our junior and masters riders is a testament to the great work been done down there.”
In other races, the Manawatu twins Harrison and Ta Craw combined to win the under-15 boys team sprint for the West Coast North Island team, while Auckland won the under-17 girls team pursuit in a new national record.
Auckland’s Nate Boness won all four sprints to dominate the under-15 points race, while the female Under-15 race was a close affair won by Caitlin Kelly with three points separating the top four riders.
The closest finish came in the men’s Masters team sprint won by Auckland with just 0.3sec separating the top three.
The other Masters points races were won by Auckland’s Penny Pawson and Peter Ashworth. Pawson won all four sprints in her victory in the women’s 1-3 category while Ashworth won three of the four as well as putting a lap on the field to win the men’s 3 and 4 category race.
Waikato Bay of Plenty took the overall points shield for the four days of competition, which also marked the final event for well-known cycling administrator, Bruce Ross who retires after more than 50 years of service for Cycling Southland, the host association for the championships.
Male, Under 15 500m team sprint: West Coast North Island (Harrison Craw, Ta Craw) 35.685, 1; Waikato BOP (Frankie Wright, Ryan Hansen) 36.290, 2; Southland (Finn Edwards, George Manson) 36.669, 3.
Under 15 7.5km Points: Nate Boness (Auckland) 25 points, 1; Frankie Wright (WaiBOP) 11, 2; Kane Foster (WaiBOP) 5, 3.
Under 17: Waikato BOP (Jared Mann, Jaxson Russell, Kyle Aitken) 49.926, 1; Mid South Canterbury (Jonathan Fish, Jaxson Whyte, Ferguson Sail) 50.040, 2; Waikato BOP Black (Matt Davis, Oliver Watson-Palmer, Hamish Banks) 50.217, 3.
Under-17 Madison 10km: Mid South Canterbury (Jonathan Fish, Jaxson Whyte) 23 points, 1; Southland (Marshall Erwood, Ronan Shearing) 11, 2; Auckland (Edward Pawson, Joel Douglas) 7, 3.
Masters 3-4 Points: Peter Ashworth (Auckland) 40 points, 1; Neil Familton (Southland) 31, 2; Stephen Woods (Canterbury) 30, 3.
Masters 1-2 Points 15km: Hamish McDonald (MSC) 15 points, 1; Justin Stott (Otago) 12, 2; Craig Domigan (MSC) 9, 3.
Masters 1-4 750 Team Sprint: Waikato BOP 50.086, 1; Southland 50.211, 2; Canterbury 50.410, 3.
Female, Under 17 500m team sprint: Auckland (Ruby Spring, Sophie de Vries) 37.094, 1; Southland (Ciara Kelly, Alana Breen) 37.658, 2; Waikato BOP (Jessica Shuler, Seana Gray) 37.911, 3.
Under 17 3000m team pursuit: Auckland 3:41.878, 1 (NZ Record); Canterbury 3:44.160, 2; Southland 3:51.686, 3.
Under 17 Madison 7.5lkm: Southland (Ciara Kelly, Jasmine McLeod) 18 points, 1; Auckland (Bee Townsend, Sophie de Vries) 11, 2; Canterbury (Samantha Walker, Maddison Lowry) 8, 3.
Under 15 7.5km Points: Caitlin Kelly (Southland) 12 points, 1; Jodie Blackwood (Auckland) 11, 2; Caoilinn Gray (WaiBOP) 11, 3.
Under 15 500m Team Sprint: WaiBOP (Caoilinn Gray, Mackenzie Barnett) 39.430, 1; Southland (Caitlin Kelly, Lucy Griffin) 40.239, 2; Northland (Geraldine Leef, Renee Harrison) 41.209, 3.
Masters 1-3 Points: Penny Pawson (Auckland) 25 points, 1; Erin Criglington (Southland) 11, 2; Leanne Dalley (Southland) 9, 3.
Masters 1-4 500m Team Sprint: Southland (Ruth Whelan, Erin Criglington) 38.400, 1; Southland Red (Nicola Stevens, Leanne Dalley) 39.718, 2; WaiBOP (Julie Graddon, Erin Gray) 49.413, 3.
CAPTION: Mid South Canterbury riders in action – Hamish McDonald in Masters and Jaxson Whyte in the U17 Madison at the Vantage New Zealand Age Track Championships at Invercargill. (Credit: Eugene Bonthuys)