Strong performance proves good form

Corbin Strong
Corbin Strong
Southland teenager Corbin Strong gave further evidence of his emerging talent with a courageous win in the omnium on Saturday at the national track championships in Cambridge.

Strong (19) was recently named as the young member of the elite team for next month’s world championships where he has cemented a place in the team pursuit after outstanding form over the summer.

He added to this when he edged out his heroes Aaron Gate and Campbell Stewart to win the points race on Friday, then accounted for fellow world championship-bound teammates Nick Kergozou and Regan Gough to win the four-discipline omnium.

Strong was caught in a crash early in the points race, the final disciple of the omnium, but returned to win three of the final five sprints to take the race and the overall title. He earlier won the tempo and elimination races.

He finished on 149 points ahead of Waikato’s George Jackson on 130 and Nick Kergozou on 127.

“Unfortunately, I got caught in a crash early in the race and it definitely hurt a bit for the next few laps but I managed to push on and pick enough points to get the win, which I was pretty happy with," Strong said.

"Yesterday’s win in the points race was great riding against the likes of Campbell Stewart and Aaron Gate who are guys I have really looked up to ... and I am learning heaps from them every day.’’

His world championship teammate Eddie Dawkins produced a trademark display in crushing a strong field to win the keirin final.

After drawing the back marker, he moved up mid-race and then took charge two laps out to win from Jordan Castle, of West Coast-North Island, and fellow Southland rider Bradley Knipe.

“It shows that the training we are doing is able to produce power and speed. I tried to make that race as much as it is at the world champs, making it fast for longer, and it worked out great," Dawkins said.

“There are lots of good feelings about where our sprint group are at physically and mentally looking to the worlds. It is very positive.

“We have played around with a few things and got some varied results. You turn over 10 stones and only three have gems in them but you have to turn over 10 to get three. It is now time to do the little things right and trust in what we have done."

The elite team sprint honours went to the Southland trio of Nick Kergozou, Tom Sexton and Conor Shearing.


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