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Bike Manawatu Schools’ Riders feature at North Island Secondary School Champs

 PNBHS was eventually to take second place in the teams events competition at the conclusion of North Island Secondary Schools Cycling Champs.  Having won the competition in Jul in Cambridge, BHS have continued to display some good all round form across a number of the grades.  They were disappointed to finish fourth in the team time trial event and they were only beaten by one second for third by Christchurch BHS.  We certainly had high hopes that the boys were going to do it this time but it was not to be, said Howard Pinder, the BHS cycling coordinator. 

Hamilton BHS were the fastest team and they have dominated the schools team time trial event for 2012 winning also in Cambridge. 

The PN Intermediate Normal team, without their anchor man Campbell Stewart, still managed to come second in the Year 7/8 boys while PN GHS Junior A pulled off a composed ride to also take silver in the U16 girls grade. 

In the road racing, a number of boys and girls featured.  Matiu Kaihau finished third in the 51km U20 road race just ahead of fellow school mate Angus Findlay. The majority of U17 boys had decided to participate in the Novice Tour and James Hutton finished 39th.  Due to the size of the grades organisers were forced to break a number of grades into A and B races.  A larger contingent of boys were in the U16A race but most were down the order.  The best place getter was Cameron Howell who finished 29th.  In the U16B race Jake Jackson-Grammar and Patrick Rowan finished 4th and 13th respectively. In the U15A boys race best place finisher was Josh Kendall (6th) followed by Alex West (14th), and Nate Levin (15th).  The boys fared much better in the U15B race where Joel Yates finished 3rd from Jack Findlay (4th) and Jake van Lienan (5th).  Connor Wilkinson and Jamie Gillespie came in 7th and 8th respectively. Similarly, in the U14 grade Carlos Lopez-Lozano took first place while Chris Denholm came in 3rd.  For Carlos, this was his second win in this grade for 2011.  It is hoped that he can carry forward this good form into 2012 and beyond.  Also Chris Denholm rise is not to be overlooked.  At club level he is certainly proving himself and he could be a real prospect for the region in years to come.

In the U20 girls race Karthyn Young and Kelsi Ecles finished 21st and 23rd respectively.  In some controversy, Michaela Drummond was disqualified in the U15 girls race, for nothing untoward other than having entered in the wrong grade.  She should have entered in the U14 grade, not U15.  Many believe she was hard done by and a number certainly agree that commissaires applied the rules too rigidly.  Perhaps commissaires might have been justified had she been 16 and ridden in U15, but that certainly was not the case.  Michaela can walked away with some sense of satisfaction that she was easily able to beat girls 12 months older than her.     

There was lots of success on day three when the focus of attention shifted to the spectator friendly points racing at Manfield.  Angus Findlay, motivated by finishing fourth twice over the weekend, showed he was a force to be reckoned with by taking first place.  He was well supported by his team mates, especially Matiu Kaihau, when he relieved the mounting pressure on Angus from other riders, by taking value sprint points. Kate Stewart also blitzed her U17 female grade by taking her event while younger brother Campbell featured in his race by coming second.  Carlos Lopez-Lozano was another to feature in his race.

Overall Bike Manawatu can see constant improvement in the riders participating in events such as these.  As a region, it would appear also that it is unified in its development programme, in contrast to other regions, who are fragmented and often do not pool their resources.  “I would expect to see more growth in 2012”, said Matthijs van Wagtendonk.  “Our programme is delivering positive results which is outstanding for Bike Manawatu and the individual schools”.  “We certainly look forward to another successful year in 2012”.