Brilliant showing from Kennett in Cambridge
Waimate teenager Dylan Kennett had a brilliant opening night at the New Zealand Elite and Under-19 Track Cycling Championships in Cambridge.
The 19-year-old beat more experienced hands to win the 4000m individual pursuit.
Waikato-Bay of Plenty's Patrick Bevin was a surprise opponent in the final ahead of established endurance riders Aaron Gate, Myron Simpson and world championships bronze medallist Marc Ryan, who had only just got back on his bike.
The title didn't come to Kennett without a fight as he had to come back from a big early deficit to clock 4min 28.757sec and beat Bevin at the new Avantidrome.
Kennett was thrilled with his personal best in qualifying and his strong backup in the final as he had been busy in the buildup to the home championships.
He returned from a medal-winning performance in the team pursuit at the world championships in Colombia to race in Australia in an 85km madison before returning to New Zealand at the weekend.
"Given that buildup I am pretty happy. I had a big PB and the final was tough. We were both dying at the end but I was dying a bit less than him," Kennett said.
"It's been a big few weeks and it's great to get my first national title after the world championships."
Kennett also grabbed silver in the kilo.
Three-time world championship medallist Simon van Velthooven dug deep to continue his dominance of the men's 1000m time trial.
The big Manawatu sprinter dominated proceedings to clock 1min 01.998sec to win the time trial ahead of Kennett. "We are all feeling it a bit, as the worlds were our pinnacle event and most of us have not done much since returning. But this place is great and we want to put on a show for the fans," van Velthooven said.
"I was happy with that time for sure. I had nothing left. It was a bit slow tonight with so many time trials but I can promise people that they are going to see some exciting racing in the next three days."
Waikato's Jaime Nielsen retained her 3000m individual pursuit title in emphatic style clocking 3:36.973 to beat off the challenge from Olympic team-mate Lauren Ellis, of Mid South Canterbury.
World champion Ethan Mitchell also retained his New Zealand crown in the 250m time trial.
Mitchell, part of New Zealand's successful team sprint at Cali recently, dominated the field to win the 250m standing start time trial, to hold off his BikeNZ High Performance team-mates Matt Archibald and Sam Webster in a repeat of last year's podium.
He clocked 17.54 seconds to win by nearly half a second.
"To be fair this is my race. I am the starter in the team sprint and so I should be the fastest in this. It was a pretty good time and I knew Matt (Archibald) and Sam (Webster) would be firing so I had to focus on a smooth effort."