While proven stars Eddie Dawkins and Natasha Hansen sprinted to the top of the podium, Southland teenager Corbin Strong upset more experienced rivals in an exciting points race on the second night of finals at the Vantage Elite Track Cycling Championships in Cambridge.

Strong, a member of the champion team pursuit squad at the junior world track championships last year and the SIT Southern Performance Hub, won the double points final sprint to cement the 30km points race win at the Avantidrome.

Both he and 2017 pursuit world champion Jordan Kerby put two laps on the field to claim the additional 40 bonus points and it was Kerby, who recently switched allegiances from across the Tasman to New Zealand, who held a narrow three point margin going into the 12th and final sprint.

However Strong produced a withering burst of speed to win the double points sprint with Kerby back in fourth to give the young Southlander the title with 70 points.  Kerby finished second on 65 with Southland’s Tom Sexton third on 38.

Earlier Hansen broke the championship record in 10.888s to top qualifying in the elite female sprint ahead of fellow Vantage Elite teammate Olivia Podmore. The pair worked through to the final with Hansen winning in two straight rides.

“We had the world cup a couple of weeks ago but I’ve had no racing since, so I wanted the racing to mentally prepare myself for the worlds in a couple of weeks,” said Hansen. “I can take some confidence out of today and hopefully build on that. I felt that I executed the races well.”

Fellow Southland rider Dawkins, a star of the recent World Cup in Cambridge, was fastest in qualifying in 9.801s with fellow team sprint mates Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster clocking 9.841 and 9.889 respectively in an impressive showing of power sprinting.  Dawkins was pushed to a deciding race over Mitchell in the final with Webster third.

“It was great to be able to get back to sprinting the way I used to, with confidence. I don’t care if it is long or short but just committed fully,” said Dawkins.

“I sent the final to three rides which was unnecessary but it was good to be under the pump and have to work under pressure but I came away with a great result. Today showed the strength of the top three boys ahead of this year’s world champs in Poland.”

Vantage Elite New Zealand rider Michaela Drummond took out a tightly fought women’s omnium by 10 points from Holly Edmondston and Jessie Hodges.

Drummond won the scratch race and elimination and was second in the Tempo and Points to finish on 155 points ahead of Tempo race winner Edmondston on 145 and Points race winner Hodges on 144.

“It was an awesome win. It was hard fought because we were going 1-2 for most of the events,” said Drummond. “I was only two points ahead of Holly coming into the final points race. I wanted to get extra points at the start and then watch for Holly near the end of the race in terms of taking a lap. “

In the Under-19 action it was again the Subway Performance Hub riders who made their mark with Grassroots Trust Waikato Bay of Plenty’s Ally Wollaston winning both the individual pursuit and points race titles. Southland’s Emily Paterson (SIT Southern Hub) showed her outstanding versatility in winning the keirin final as well as finishing third in both the individual pursuit and points race.

Southland’s Conor Shearing (SIT Southern Hub) took out the Under-19 keirin while Canterbury’s Laurence Pithie claimed the omnium honours in a tussle with Waikato’s Kiaan Watts (Grassroots Trust Waikato BOP).

In Paracycling action, the 2016 world champion Emma Foy (Northland) teamed with pilot Hannah van Kampen to win the B/VI 3000m tandem final, with Auckland’s Byron Raubenheimer and Sarah Ellington winners of the C1-5 individual pursuit finals.

The championships continue until Sunday.

Tom Sexton triumphs in the points race after a terrific battle against Jordan Kerby, photo: Dianne Manson

Results, day 2:

Female, Elite: Sprint qualifying: Natasha Hansen (Southland) 10.888, 1 (Championship Record); Olivia Podmore (Canterbury) 11.106, 2; Tess Young (Waikato BOP) 11.462, 3; Shaane Fulton (Tasman) 11.529, 4. Gold medal: Hansen bt Podmore 2-0. Bronze medal: Tahlay Christie (Waikato BOP) bt Young 2-1.

Omnium, Scratch: Michaela Drummond (West Coast NI) 1, Holly Edmondston (Mid South Canterbury) 2, Lauren Ellis (Mid South Canterbury) 3.  Tempo race: Edmondston 9 points, 1; Drummond 3, 2; Ellis 2, 3. Elimination: Drummond 1, Edmondston 2, Jessie Hodges 3. Points: Hodges 42 points, 1; Drummond 37, 2; Edmondston 29, 3. Total: Drummond 155, 1; Edmondston 145, 2; Hodges 144, 3.

Under 19: 2000m individual pursuit, gold medal: Ally Wollaston (Waikato BOP) 2:23.163, 1; Sami Donnelly (Canterbury) 2:27.650, 2. Bronze medal: Emily Paterson (Southland) 2:28.935, 3; Ella Wyllie (Auckland) 2:31.398, 4.

Keirin final: Emily Paterson (Southland) 1, Tyla Green (Southland) 2, Ava Morrow (Canterbury) 3.

Points race (10km): Ally Wollaston (Waikato BOP) 20 points, 1; Eva Parkinson (Waikato BOP) 15, 2; Emily Paterson (Southland) 9, 3.

Male, Elite: Sprint qualifying: Eddie Dawkins (Southland) 9.801, 1; Ethan Mitchell (Auckland) 9.841, 2; Sam Webster (Auckland) 9,889, 3; Callum Saunders (Waikato BOP) 10.021, 4. Gold medal final: Dawkins bt Mitchell 2-1. Bronze medal: Webster bt Saunders 2-0.

Points Race (30km): Corbin Strong (Southland) 70 points, 1; Jordan Kerby (West Coast NI) 65, 2; Tom Sexton (Southland) 38, 3.

Under-19: Men Omnium, Scratch: Michael Richmond (West Coast NI) 1, Navarh Brotherston (Southland) 2, Laurence Pithie (Canterbury) 3. Tempo Race: Pithie 10 points, 1, Kiaan Watts (Waikato BOP) 4, 2; Griffyn Spencer (Canterbury) 3, 3. Elimination: Pithie 1, Watts 2, Spencer 3. Points: Pithie 27 points, 1; Watts 15, 2; Kyle Hoskin (West Coast NI) 12, 3. Total: Pithie 143, 1; Watts 125, 2; Spencer 113, 3.

Keirin final: Conor Shearing (Southland) 1, Sebastian Lipp (Canterbury) 2, La’chlan Robertson (Southland) 3.


Women C1-5 3000m Individual Pursuit: Sarah Ellington C2 (Auckland) 3:54.193 (factored), 1; Anna Taylor (Waikato BOP) 4:12.544, 2.

Women B/VI 3000m Tandem Finals: Emma Foy (Northland)/Hannah van Kampen (East Coast NI) 3:27.259, 1; Amanda Cameron (Waikato BOP)/Nina Wollaston (Auckland) 3:39.118, 2.

Men C4-5 4000m Individual Pursuit, Final: Bryon Raubenheimer (Auckland) caught Nick Blincoe (Auckland).


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