Two riders from both ends of the spectrum picked up their fourth gold medals on the penultimate day of the Vantage Age Group Track National Championships in Invercargill.
Multiple Masters world champion Erin Criglington from Southland picked up her fourth medal and third gold of the championships, while Timaru’s Jaxson Whyte also won his fourth medal in the under-17 competition at the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome.
Criglington, riding in the combined 35 to 49 years age group, took out the scratch race final in a tight sprint finish over another world champion Masters rider, Penny Pawson (Auckland).
The pair and Southland’s Nicola Stevens managed to put a lap on the field, with Criglington edged Pawson in the sprint finish.
It is a typically busy time for Criglington, who manages life as a mother of two children, a fulltime career, one of the country’s leading cycling commissaires and an outstanding Masters rider.
“You do it because you love what you do and you get it all done. My parents help out a lot,” she said.
The key to her win was to mark Pawson when she made her move.
“I knew it would be a hard race and that Penny would go at some stage. I saw something in blue flash out of the corner of my eye. Lucky myself and my teammate Nicky Stevens got on and the three of us put a lap on the field. It came down to the final sprint. I had to bide my time and managed to hold off Penny to win.”
Whyte has developed into a highly promising young rider from a traditional cycling stronghold in New Zealand.
He positioned himself well in the U17 boys points race to pick up points in each of the first three sprints, covering his rivals before cementing the win by taking the final double points sprint to claim his fourth title.
“I knew I had picked up some points in the earlier sprint so it was a matter of covering those riders and knowing where they were sitting. It turned out to be good positioning,” said Whyte.
The Roncalli College rider said he used the likes of Mid-South Canterbury Olympians Hayden Roulston, Shane Archbold and Marc Ryan as role models in his cycling development.
In other finals, Canterbury’s Maddison Lowry only managed one scoring sprint in the under-17 girls points race, but it was the double points final sprint to won the title by just one point from Auckland’s Bee Townsend.
Waikato BOP took out the boys under-17 team pursuit final over Southland; Whanganui’s Jack Overweel won the 500m time trial; Palmerston North’s Harrison Craw took out the under-15 Derby while Christchurch’s Amelia Sykes won the under-17 sprint honours.
Day 3 Results:
Male, Under-17 3000m Team Pursuit, Gold Final: Waikato BOP 3:24.091, 1; Southland 3:26.362, 2. Bronze Final: Auckland 3:28.011, 3; WCNI 3:36.693, 4.
Points Race 10km: Jaxson Whyte (Mid South Canterbury) 20 points, 1; Oliver Watson-Palmer (WaiBOP) 11, 2; Joel Douglas (Auckland) 10, 3.
500m time trial: Jack Overweel (WCNI) 34.764, 1; Jaxson Whyte (MSC) 34.957, 2; Jaxson Russell (WaiBOP) 34.974, 3.
Masters 4 Keirin Final: Graeme Litt (Canterbury) 1, Dean Longhurst (Canterbury) 2, David Stott (Otago) 3. Masters 3: Peter Ashworth (Auckland) 1, Stephen Woods (Canterbury) 2, Russell Scott (Auckland) 3. Masters 2: Manu Robson (WaiBOP) 1, Clark Wilson (Canterbury) 2, Bryce Shapley (WaiBOP) 3. Masters 21: James Jubb (Southland) 1, Brett Roulston (Southland) 2, Craig Domigan (MSC) 3.
Under-15 Derby: Harrison Craw (WCNI) 1, Ryan Hansen (WAIBOP) 2, Noah Hollamby (MSC) 3.
Female, Under 17 Sprint qualifying: Amelia Sykes (Canterbury) 12.057, 1; Ruby Spring (Auckland) 12.073, 2; Ciara Kelly (Southland) 12.693, 3. Gold Final: Sykes bt Spring 2-0. Bronze Final: Kelly bt Seana Gray (WaiBOP) 2-0.
Points Race 7.5km: Maddison Lowry (Canterbury) 10 points, 1; Bee Townsend (Auckland) 9, 2; Amelia Sykes (Canterbury) 8, 3.
Masters 1-3 Scratch Race: Erin Criglington (Southland) 1, Penny Pawson (Auckland) 2, Nicola Stevens (Southland) 3.
Under 15 Derby: Mackenzie Barnett (WaiBOP) 1; Caitlin Kelly (Southland) 2, Caoilinn Gray (WaiBOP) 3.
CAPTION: Jaxson Whyte in action in winning the U17 Points Race at the Vantage New Zealand Age Track Championships at Invercargill. (Credit: Eugene Bonthuys)