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A Volunteer in our ranks is nationally recognised…..there could be others waiting.

Well done Matt van Wagtendonk on your award from the BikeNZ BRT Award ceremony in Christchurch last weekend. Matt has received the Volunteer Long Service Award for his services to the promotion and growth of cycling in our region over a number of years.

Matt and his family arrived here around 2004 from memory and immediately he got himself involved with cycling helping out at club level racing both Saturday road and Feilding track. His sons Sjord and Luuk were very keen, able  young riders and have also contributed in many ways over the years both on and off the bike. Janneke was a long time committee member of Feilding Club and an original Board member of the present club.Young Mees also tried cycling but he wisely preferred golf.

Matt was president of the Marist Cycling club for many years, he has been the main organiser of our Novice Tour and has been the manager and of the Saturday club races and Wednesday night time trials for a number of years. At the same time he became a commaisiare and took on that role at various events. One of Matt’s main achievements has been the development and growth of Schools Cycling in our region. He has coordinated and introduced structured riding and racing for schools to the point where Bike Manawatu has one of the strongest schools cycling programmes in the country. The results coming through are no coincidence and Matt has a huge part to play in that. Typically low profile Matt declined an invitation to the Awards evening in Christchurch in favour of helping to run the Bike Manawatu Secondary School Champs in minus 2 degrees frost last Sunday.

So well done fella, richly deserved.

The said Secondary Schools Champs (year two version) were highly successful once again. Although numbers were down slightly, the calibre of riding was very high particularly in the Boys and Girls Under 17 grade. The day started with a 3.0km dash up the Ulysess Road hill, then a time trial in the late morning and finally a very tight, spectator friendly criterium course around the CBD of Ashhurst. The overall winners and medallists certainly deserved their accolades on what was a very cold but fine sunny day. It was great to see riders competing from outside the region, including Wellington.The organising group is hoping that this too will grow.So well done to Matt, John Arbuckle, Ross Castle and all their able crew on a great event once more.

Onwards and upwards to the North Island Champs in Cambridge in a couple weeks at end of term.


Paul van Velthooven