Teen sprinters bring home silver medals
JOHN ALEXANDER AND IAN HEPENSTALL
Marlborough's emerging teenage stars, Callum Saunders and Quinn Karwowski, won silver at the national track cycling championships in Invercargill yesterday.
Part of the Tasman under-19 team which also included Nelson's Cameron Ford, the duo finished runnersup in the under-19 750m team sprint final behind Auckland.
The winners clocked 47.420sec for the flying dash, Tasman finishing in 48.779.
Earlier in the championships, Karwowski was edged out two races to one for the bronze medal in the under-19 sprint by Auckland's Chad Elliston, Zac Williams from Auckland the gold medal winner.
Karwowski's older brother, Cameron, a former Marlborough rider now representing Southland, also won silver yesterday in the 30km madison race with team-mate Pieter Bulling, Auckland's Aaron Gate and Myron Simpson taking gold.
BikeNZ riders sprinted their way to seven national records at the event. All the records fell to sprinters and as a result the outstanding men's squad are expected to lead the way when the New Zealand team is announced today for next month's world championships in Belarus.
Following Saturday's world class men's keirin, the Auckland combination of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and ring-in Simon Van Velthooven clocked 44.445 to take the final over hosts Southland (Tom Beadle, Matt Archibald, Eddie Dawkins).
It completed an outstanding four days of quality sprinting, which Mitchell believes will set up the group for success at the world championships.
"It has been the best nationals that I have been part of. To come here in such good form from the world cup in Mexico and then leading on to the world championships hopefully, it's been a really good stepping stone."
The other records last week went to Otago's Katie Schofield in the 250m time trial, Van Velthooven in the 1000m time trial, Archibald and then Webster in the sprint qualifying and it was finished last night with Olympian Natasha Hansen beating her own record in the 200m sprint time trial and then teaming with Southland compatriot Stephanie McKenzie to break the record in the team sprint.
It was a fitting final effort for Hansen who had struggled for top form earlier in the week.
"On reflection I should have had a good break after the Olympics but we were unsure just what we had in front of us this year," Hansen said.
"It has also been emotional for me with the first nationals here since the death of my best friend."
Hosts Southland came from behind to pip Auckland in the women's 3000m team pursuit in 3:31.610, just 0.2 seconds ahead of the northerners who had led until the final two laps.
Mid South Canterbury won their first elite title in the men's 4000m team pursuit with Olympians Marc Ryan and Shane Archbold laying the platform as they overtook Southland in an impressive performance. Their lineup also included Andy van der Heyden and Waimate's Dylan Kennett, who was presented with the trophy as junior track rider of the year.
Brilliant Auckland Olympian Gate was the standout performer in endurance racing.
He teamed up with good mate Simpson to win the spectacular men's madison over 30km to go with his victories in the individual pursuit, scratch race and points race to complete an emphatic championships.
- The Marlborough Express