Balmy conditions resulted in some fast and furious action at the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome for the 2014 Southland Track Championship cycling at the weekend.
The event is a key fixture on the Cycling Southland calendar as the region's top riders vie for selection for the NZ Age Group Track Champs at Southland in March.
A 128-strong field from as far afield as Northland turned out for a huge schedule of racing, totalling approximately 17 hours over three sessions.
Friday night's action kicked off with the individual time trials and the combined Elite and under-19 men's field provided some powerful rides and several personal bests, which continued to be a feature of the weekend.
However, it was Jeremy Presbury, 18, in his first year of Elite racing who took top honours and the McLean Cup in the 500m time trial final by just .062sec from Tom Beadle, while under-19 Nick Kergozou continued to show great form in third.
Southland's newest recruit from Mid-South Canterbury, Fabian Wybrow, also18, took fourth and the elite bronze with just .900sec separating the top four riders.
The elite men's field proved to be exceptionally strong across all events with most riders featuring in medal placings over the weekend, including Southland's Presbury, Beadle, Wybrow, Joshua Haggerty, Karl Watson, Ben Stewart, Mathew Zenovich and Angus Swartz being joined by Daniel Rafferty and Alex Hooper (Tinwald), Greg Potter (Counties Manukau), Daniel Newmann (Christchurch).
Southland sprinter Stephanie McKenzie took out the elite women's gold from BikeNZ team-mate and Otago rider Katie Schofield, while Auckland's Paige Paterson was third.
Under-17 rocket Emma Cumming remained undefeated across all events, taking out the time trial from her Sheree Horne and Aly Doherty - who fiercely contested gold and silver positions over the weekend.
Masters Worlds rainbow jersey wearer Erin Criglington continued her form to hold off all challengers in Masters 1 events.
A special feature was the return of paracycling events, including three special guests from the Japanese paracycling team, who spent the week in a training camp at the velodrome leading up to the event.
New Zealand Paracycling performance head coach Brendon Cameron said it had been great to have the Japanese team in the south for the week and share their training sessions for the final couple of days.
Meanwhile, Cameron made some piloting changes to his women's tandem duos, which saw Kylie Young partner Phillipa Gray and break two New Zealand records, while Laura Fairweather teamed with Emma Foy.
Gray and Young took gold and the record in the tandem 1000m time trial in 1:09.810 from Foy and Fairweather 1:10.755. Then on Saturday Gray and Young set another record - all subject to BikeNZ ratification - in the tandem 3000m individual pursuit.
The c4 paracyclists Kate Horan and Fiona Southorn rode with the Elite women's time trial events resulting in a third record for Horan when she clocked 40.632sec.
The team selection for the 2014 age-group track championships, being held in Invercargill from March 5 to 9, will be named this month.
- The Southland Times