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New Year Track Chit Chat with Ian Gray

Following the Xmas break Trackies have had a lot of racing with 3 meetings. The first was the Elite/U19 Selection meeting at Wanganui in which we saw some good racing and nearly all Bike Manawatu Track riders performed with distinction.

The riders that stood out were, an excellent 3:39 3000m pursuit by Campbell Stewart on a windy track, and 11.61s and 11.67s by Liam Brown and Campbell Stewart respectively in the flying 200m. Joel Yates on his first ride on the track this season acquainted himself very well in the U19 men pursuit team and looked very fit, taking strong laps. Congrats to all riders who made the WCNI team for the Elite/U19 Nationals in Cambridge.


Club Racing Last week:

Another good night of racing and undoubtedly the most exciting race was the 8 lap U15’s handicap. At the announcement of the handicaps the riders eyes suddenly lit up when $10.00 was to be given to the winner.

The race turned to be a race to the finish for the front markers. James Gardner made a good pace from the front mark to lead for most of the race. An improving Kyra Craine who started 60m behind James with some determined riding slowly pulling him back to catch James just before the 200m line on the last lap. Kyra went straight past him and took a lead of 30m and James look beaten. Suddenly James looked forward to the heavens and got a surprising surge of energy again, when a flash of $10.00 went through his mind; he accelerated and managed to catch Kyra, pass her and battled victorious onto the finish line!


WCNI Carnival Sunday 11 January at Feilding:

With a  lot of riders away at the HUB tour in Hawkes Bay, only 20 riders turned up but we saw some very good racing.

The most pleasing factor of the day was the good improvement in form shown by several riders of which Sophie Leigh-Bloxhorn, Michaela Drummond and James Cuff stood out. It was good to see James perform after a disappointing day at Wanganui the previous Sunday. Also Samara Fenn showed the first positive signs of improvement this season.

In the Feilding Wheel Race Liam Brown received an armchair Handicap and won convincingly.

An unknown master rider Harry Kent from Wellington turned up and rode very well. after  talking to him following the Carnival Harry Kent (Jnr) is the son of one of New Zealand’s greatest track riders of the late 1960s, early seventies.

Harry Kent (Snr) goes down in history as been the first New Zealander ever to win a medal at the World Track Championships. He won gold in the Kilo at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1970 and 3 weeks later took silver in the kilo at Leicester in England.

He was named twice as NZ track rider of the year in 1969 and 1970 and won 3 NZ kilo titles and the sprint title in 1971.

He was also a pretty accomplished road rider taking the fastest time 3 times in the PN-Wellington 100miler as well finishing 2nd in the 1968 Tour of Southland, plus taking sprint ace and KOM titles.

It is of interest to note in Peter Lamps, Good Sports column on Monday 12 January in the Manawatu Standard, he reported on the death at 78 years old of Barry Kitchen (Feilding) and said he was one of New Zealand’s top track cyclists (which is correct) and he won a national ¼ mile title (which is not correct).

Barry indeed was a top sprinter and his national record includes: silver medal junior sprint in 1955 at Cooks Gardens Wanganui, bronze in both the junior sprint and 5 mile at English park Christchurch 1954 and bronze in 1000m tandem with PN rider Kevin Bowater at memorial park PN in 1958.