National titles come in a rush for physio
Southland’s Neil Familton has been enjoying the view from the top of the podium at the national age-group track cycling championships.
The Invercargill physiotherapist has been competing in the championships since they were first contested in the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome seven years ago, but had never won a national title until this week.
In the space of two nights he has added two gold medals to his mantelpiece, with victory in the M3 7.5km points race on Thursday before adding the individual pursuit title in New Zealand record time last night.
‘‘I’m stoked, you plan and train and try and execute it and it went according to plan,’’ said Familton, who was the physio for the 1987 World Cup-winning All Blacks team.
Familton and Auckland’s Richard Justice both broke the New Zealand record during qualifying for the individual pursuit, with Familton getting the edge in the gold medal final.
Familton said he was lucky to have worked with two quality coaches.
He had been mentored by former Tour of Southland winner Doug Bath until December before approaching Stu MacDonald about a more track-specific programme.
‘‘Everything has lined up quite nicely, but there’s been a lot of hard work gone into it. It certainly hasn’t been by chance. It’s certainly pretty cool, a sweet sensation.’’
Familton, who will contest the scratch race and ride in a Southland team in the team sprint, now believes he may be hitting his cycling prime.
‘‘I’m lucky that this is my first year in a new age-group. You’ve always got the advantage of being the young boy around. It will be interesting to see what happens with Cambridge and whether that attracts a few more masters riders into the events. It will be all on for the next two or three years.’’
The ride of the night came in the M17 scratch race with Hayden Strong turning in a courageous solo performance when he broke free and managed to hold off the chasers for the final 12 laps.
Mid-South Canterbury’s Reon Park backed up from his win in the M1 20km points race the night before to defend his title in the individual pursuit, while Erin Criglington claimed her third title of the week with the Southlander winning the W1 scratch race over 4km.
Cambell Stewart, who was second to Strong in the scratch race, added a third title in the M17 grade, winning the sprint final against Hamish Beadle.
The championships continue today with sessions from 10am and 6.30pm and finish tomorrow afternoon.
M17 sprint: Campbell Stewart (WCNI) 1; Hamish Beadle (Sld) 2; Joshua Scott (Can) 3.
M3 2000m individual pursuit: Neil Familton (Sld) 2.30.484 1; Richard Justice (Akl) 2.31.243. 2; Colin Caxton (Akl) 2.30.612 3.
M2 2000m individual pursuit: Gary Groves (Akl) 2.24.100 1; John Stewart (WCNI) 2.24.841 2; Craig Scott (Can) 2.26.842 3.
M1 3000m individual pursuit: Reon Park (MSC) 3.31.524 1; Brendan Akeroyd (Sld) 3.38.625 2; Stu Crooks (Ota) 3.45.734 3.
W15 Derby: Sophie Bloxham (WCNI) 1; Shaane Fulton (Tas) 2; Jessie Banks (Can) 3.
W1 and W2 scratch: Erin Criglington (Sld) 1; Nicola Stevens (Sld) 2; Kylea Gough (Sld) 3.
M15 2km scratch race: Jamie Leitch (Akl) 1; Corbin Strong (Sld) 2; Thomas Garbett (WCNI) 3.
W17 5km scratch race: Michaela Drummond (WCNI) 1; Emma Cumming (Sld) 2; Christine Lambley (Can) 3.
M17 7.5km scratch race: Hayden Strong (Sld) 1; Campbell Stewart (WCNI) 2; Brayden Stephens (Sld) 3.
The Southland Times