The Yunca Junior Tour of Southland is underway.  Day 1 saw riders from U13-U19 level take on the prologue time trial and Teretonga kermesse events in an event that will take the riders through 6 days of racing in 3 days.  After a day of GC lead-changes Kate Smith and Henry Levett currently lead the U19 categories.


Prologue time trial


Opening the 2017 Yunca Junior Tour of Southland on day 1 were the 2.6km prologue time trial to be completed by all riders across all categories, followed by the stage 2 kermesse that ranged from 2 laps for U13 to 10 laps for U19 men.  The prologue time trial took place on the Kermis Teretonga Raceway and gradually rose for the first kilometre before evening out and then descending subtly towards the finish line.

The U13 boys and girls were led by a very strong performance by Marshall Erwood who put 12 seconds into nearest rival Noah Hollamby over the course; stopping the clock in 4.09mins.  Jesse Willis was third fastest against the clock. Tyla-Mia Foster was the fastest of the girls in 4.28mins ahead of Caitlin Kelly and Ella Turnbull. 

Kate Smith took the U19 women’s race lead in stage 2, photo Eugene Bonthuys

Katie Batt rose to prominence in a reasonably close battle that saw her take the U15 girls prologue win 6 seconds up on Rosie O’Brien and Rhylee Akeroyd who finished 11 seconds adrift.  But it was in the U15 boys race that the first of the truly close battles took place between Mitchel Fitzsimons an Kaio Lart; with just 1 second separating the two at the finish.  Lart was the faster in 3.33 mins, but only just, with the top five of Lart, Fitzsimons, Luke Price, Jaxson Whyte and Michiel Van Heyningen separated by no more than 8 seconds.

Results were even closer in the U17 women’s prologue though as Emily Paterson, Sami Donnelly, Helena Rikiti, Ally Wollaston, Hannah Bartram and Henrietta Christie were all engaged in a tight battle to win the opening stage.  Paterson came out on top, but with Donnelly and Rikiti 1 and 2 seconds behind respectively in an enthralling battle that saw Wollaston and Bartram both stop the clock 4 seconds back.

More tension was on the cards in the U17 men’s prologue with Finn Fisher-Black just edging Laurence Pithie for the win, with a time of 3.21mins to Pithie’s 3.22mins.  Keegan Hornblow took third in 3.25mins, with the top 9 separated by no more than 10 seconds.

Michiel van Heyningen in action in the U15 boys race, photo Eugene Bonthuys

The U19 women’s race saw Kate Smith stop the clock in 3.42mins to better both Niamh Fisher-Black and Connie O’Brien by 5 seconds while the U19 men’s race saw Bailey O’Donnell take the win in 3.19mins ahead of Samuel Miller and Corbin Strong who both finished 3 seconds back.


Teretonga Kermesse


Staying on the Raceway, stage 2 saw the riders take on laps of the circuit this time and there were plenty of shifts in the overall lead.  In the U13 race Marshall Erwood doubled up with a second victory in stage 2 ahead of Jesse Willis and Kayne Borrie, with Tyla-Mia Foster first female and fourth across the line.

Katie Batt continued to defend her lead overall while Rhylee Akeroyd took the stage win, finishing ahead of Batt and Bee Townsend.  In the U15 boys race Michiel Van Heyningen took the stage win and with it the overall lead with a solo attack that saw him finish 30 seconds ahead of Mitchel Fitzsimons and Kaio Lart who placed second and third.

A bunch sprint decided the U17 women’s race, with Ally Wollaston taking top spot this time ahead of race leader Sami Donnelly and Helena Rikiti, while in the men’s race Sam Medlicott edged Logan Currie for the win, with the pair finishing 4 seconds clear of the bunch led home by Laurence Pithie.

Katie Batt took both TT and kermesse wins on day 1, photo Eugene Bonthuys

Sophie-Leigh Bloxham took the bunch sprint win in the U19 women’s race, out-pacing Tayla Lumsden and Jessie Banks in the finish, while finally in the men’s race Henry Levett took the stage honours and with it the overall lead, with Corbin Strong second at 2 seconds back and Bailey O’Donnell third.  


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