Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Club National Road Championships in Wanganui last week. This, the premier event in NZ for the age group road riders, was well represented by the green jerseys of Bike Manawatu.
In the road races, held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, good fields and very hard racing was the order. Friday’s races were marred by accidents mainly due to a slippery decent before the uphill to the finish. Mark Findlay and Michaela Drummond stamped their authority on the U17 men’s and U15 women’s races respectively with strong wins, outsprinting the leading groups.
Other notable rides on Friday were Josh Kendall and Robert Stannard who finished in the lead bunch of U15 boys. In the same race, Campbell Stewart was odds on to take a place on the podium before being crashing heavily in the sprint. Elizabeth Stannard took 6th place in the U/15 girls, and Grace Castle road strongly to finish 13th in what was a very strong field which averaged less than 3 km/hr slower than the U19 women. Emily Shearman, riding well above her age, showed her determination, finishing only a few minutes down on the second group.
George Roberts (31st), Andrew Bengston (36th) and Takumi Clark (44th) all road well in what was a tough race with a large field. Jordan Castle turned a few head swith his top ten (10th) finish in the same race. A nasty crash early on saw Jonty Hapeta carried away in an ambulance. We’re hoping he’s OK and back on the bike again soon.
In a field of 25 U17 girls, Ruby Perry road well for 12th place, just 40 seconds down on the winner. Kate Stewart looked very strong and a good chance for the podium, but unfortunately was involved in a crash on the final decent. She did well to get up and finish 13th.
With Womens Masters 3 and 4 combined, we had strong representation in the race. Podium positions for Sue McMaster 2nd (Masters 4 Women) and Jocelyn Goodwin, (2nd in Masters 3 Women) were other highlights of the day.
Other notable rides were from Geoff Russell 34th in Master 4 Men, and Katherine Stannard who was 6th in the Masters 3 Women.
The following day (Saturday), in what was the biggest field and fastest (average) race of the championships, just over half the Mens U19 field finished. Miguel Dib finished a creditable 9th battling the Pure Black team all day.
In a quick Masters 2 Mens race, Steve Stannard finished 2nd after a long two man breakaway with Aaron Strong. Strong was too strong for Steve, on the last lap, but he still finished 4 minutes ahead of the bunch. Richard Day rode a creditable race to finish 25th.
Pat Edwards was the sole Bike Manawatu rider in Masters 3 men, finishing 25th in a hard-fought race.
Rachel Southee was in the sprint for the win in the U19 womens race, but managed only 8th against a top notch field of sprinters. She’ll be a great chance in next years Open Womens race. In the same race, Kelsie Eccles and Kathryn Young finished 18th and 16th respectively.
Suzanne Charles road strongly early in the Masters 2 Womens race, but suffered a slow leak making the going tough. She hung on to finish solidly in 4th.
The afternoon’s highlight event, the Masters 1 Men was the Gordon McCauley and Karl Murray show. A little over half the riders finished with two of our riders, Mark Waterland and Kevin Laskey, finishing strongly in the chasing group two minutes back.
The final day was the Elite and Masters 5 men. In typical fashion, Barry Gilliland rode strongly to finish just outside the top ten (11th).
Kudos to Wanganui Cycling Club for organizing a superb event. Next year’s Club Nationals are in Hawkes Bay, so let’s see another good turnout for Bike Manawatu then.
Report by Steve Stannard.