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Locals dominate skate tour

Last updated 16:04 05/12/2012
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PETER McDONALD
On line: Ollie Jones leads the field in Saturday’s racing from Alexander Rd.

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Inline skating's annual Speed King Tour, held at the weekend, once again saw dominating performances from local athletes.

Hosted by Valley Inline Speed Skating, the long-established Upper Hutt-based club, the Speed King Tour attracted more than 50 skaters from around the country.

There was proven strength and talent in the senior grade competition with seven skaters on show who have represented New Zealand at world championship level, guaranteeing spectators at all venues plenty of fast action.

The Speed King Tour racing, which was held at three venues, featured road, hill and indoor events with each requiring different technical skills.

Locals Antony Nalder, 26, and Ollie Jones, 16 - the Oceania under-20 champion - dominated the sprint and distance events to take the first two tour places in the senior grade.

They repeated the double in the showcase men's Pacific Seals Power 500 event.

Another Oceania under-20 champion, 18-year-old Stephanie Challis - the only Valley inline skater in the senior ladies grade - took top honours in the tour and ladies Power 500 race.

Exciting new skaters Luke Williams, 13, and Georgia Hurley, 14, showed no fear mixing it with the more experienced opposition in the junior (under-15) grades.

Georgia finished the tour in third place after the full eight stages and took a few skaters by surprise with her skill and steely approach.

Luke was less lucky, becoming a casualty of one of the many crashes on the indoor track and being forced to withdraw from the final two events but only after he had done enough to show he has a good future in the sport.

Another skater who showed obvious potential was Hadley Beech, an 11-year-old who was competing in his final year in the juvenile grade.

He comfortably won his tour grade with his race-ready combination of speed, tactical awareness and good technical ability.

Olyvia Mayhew, 12, stepped up into the junior grade this year and used the tour to show she will have future success after competing well to finish second out of the 10 girls in her grade.

Olyvia's road and indoor time trial results, recorded in the junior grade, were good enough to have earned her third place in the senior ladies competition.

Fourteen-year-old Matt Bly put in consistent and solid performances all weekend while brother Ben, 8, Valley's only skater in the primary (under-9) grade, also did well although understandably his inexperience showed on occasion.

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Upper Hutt ended up holding all of the Speed King action with the event's last two stages transferred from Avalon Park's outside location to the Riverstone Recreation Hall.

Saturday's racing was at Alexander Rd and Kaitoke, including the hill climb and the Riverstone Hall.

- Upper Hutt Leader

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