Bike Manawatu riders dominated the results table at the Levin track carnival last Sunday (11 Dec). Mikayla Drummond, Campbell Stewart, Kate Stewart and Matiu Kaihau were the pick of riders across the grades. Mikayla, Kate and Campbell, showing early season form, were totally dominant in their respective grades but Matiu was made to work for his eventual title from PNP rider Lee Evans. Lee certainly had the legs over Matiu in the short distance events with great leg speed. But Matiu had the strength and endurance which Lee could not match in the longer distance events. In the U17 grade, Connell Leahy, Levin Cycling, displayed good confidence and fitness to take most of the races in his grade.
Levin’s carnival was a first for many years and some were recollecting when the last time Levin hosted a carnival. The attendance numbers were good and event organisers displayed great flexibility to create good competition in the grades.
Also making a timely guest appearance was NZ track rider Gemma Dudley, home for a short period before participating in more international competition in the New Year. Her presence added another dimension to the carnival but given she was required to ride with a combined elite grade of U19, elite and veteran male and female. Her individual performance was overshadowed by faster and stronger men and it was difficult for many to see how good she really is. It’s not often that a world class athlete turns up to a grass roots event and her presence was welcomed and appreciated.
With the numbers of riders attending the Levin carnival, it does hint that track is showing some growth, particularly in the Manawatu and Levin. Perhaps there is some connection with NZ riders success on the track internationally but Bike Manawatu should be congratulated for their efforts in generating renewed interest in track cycling.
Looking ahead and based upon the performance of a number of riders, WCNI could have a very strong age group team at U15 and U17 levels to compete at NZ Track Nationals in Feb/Mar 2012 in Invercargill. Even though the selectors have not named the age group team, some riders are assured of being selected based upon present form.