There were 16 starters on the track but Alysha Keith made
it a one-horse race when she won the feature event at the
Seddon Park velodrome on Saturday.
Heats decided the top 16 to contest the 1500m race and they
set off in six groups.
Keith, in the third group, started conservatively by drafting
behind fellow markers, but with three laps to go she threw
caution to the wind, launching her attack.
With a lap and a-half to go, it seemed certain Keith would
not be beaten. However, Brad Evans made a valiant attempt to
ride Keith down with Nick Kergazou hot on his heels. This was
a crowd-pleaser but Evans eventually had to settle for
Keith made her mark at the national track championships in
February last year. In the individual pursuit, she broke the
New Zealand record, which was bettered shortly afterwards,
but took silver. She won gold in the omnium, silver in the
500m time trial and bronze in the points race to catapult her
into the national junior squad.
Success followed at the world junior championships, with
silver in the team pursuit. At the Oceania Games, she was
part of the New Zealand elite pursuit team that gained
silver, and she picked up silver in the points race. A good
all-rounder, Keith now looks forward to the national omnium
championships in Invercargill in two weeks.
The junior title on Saturday was secured by 15-year-old
Lachie McGregor, who had earlier won the scratch and
McGregor is another talented junior who is in the New Zealand
under-17 development squad. Later in the evening he raced the
Benero Cup points race with the senior men and was a
meritorious fourth, the majority of the field not handling
the hot pace.
Brad Evans dominated category 1 by winning the scratch,
elimination, keirin and points races. In doing so, he picked
up the coveted Benero Cup for the final race of the evening,
the points race.
Stu Crooks won the B grade scratch race while Kate Ward won
the under-15 scratch and elimination races. Evans wrapped up
a huge weekend of racing by winning the 50km, eight-lap Todd
Memorial race on the Wingatui circuit yesterday.
A large category 1 field of 18 ensured it was going to be
difficult for anyone to break away. However, with features
such as corners, undulating terrain, railway crossings and a
head wind in some directions, there were some attempts.
Crooks and Geoff Keogh were the first duo to chance their
arm, being swallowed up after a lap. The next threat came
from Evans, Tim Chapman and 16-year-old Keegan Girdlestone,
who held the bunch at bay for two laps before being chased
Glen Todd broke on his own on the last lap but the sprinters
came through with 200m to ride, and Evans had too much speed
for brothers Joe and Tim Chapman.
A large category 2 field stayed together but junior Daniel
Cresswell let his legs do the talking for a close win over
Wayne Evans, Paul Hoskin and Ross Gamble.
Christchurch's Phoebe McCaughan won the sprint in category 3
from Columba College pupil Anna McDonald and Jan Brosnahan.
Masters rider Lorraine Stewart outsprinted Columba pupil
Olivia Kennedy in category 4, with Columba teacher Julie
McMahon taking third place.
There was a large turnout for the inaugural event, organised
by club president Todd, in memory of his grandfather,
Douglas, who was club president when he died in 1972. Glen
Todd's father, also Doug, presented the trophy, revealing all
three generations have served as president.
- Jan Brosnahan.