Wellington’s George Jackson sprinted to victory ahead of James Cuff and Finn Fisher-Black in the open men’s Laykold Cup 10km scratch race on Sunday. The Laykold Cup is the premier event on the capital’s track cycling calendar and is the highlight of a full programme of races for all age grades held at the Wellington Velodrome in Hataitai.
Despite having been close before, this was Jackson’s first Laykold Cup victory, and although now based in Waikato, he specifically targeted this event, intent on adding his name to the list of winners.
The race began quickly, with some riders keen to stretch out the field and get away from the bunch. However, with 10 laps to go, the remaining riders in contention rode at cruising speed until two laps to go, when the pace increased dramatically. Jackson’s sprint could not be matched, and although initially Angus Claason was challenging, as they were side by side through the southern corner, he faded and had to settle for fourth place, as Cuff and Fisher-Black overtook him. Rounding out the top five was Gideon Burke, a regular local rider.
The race for the master’s Stayers Cup race also came down to a sprint finish, with Jono Leonard taking the win ahead of Mark Coburn and Jamie Hodgkinson. Despite quality endurance riders making up most of the numbers in the race, the speed dropped significantly after a moderately quick start and became closer to a group match sprint than a scratch race. With a few laps remaining, Jason McCarthy and Huib Buyck, not wanting the race to be decided by a sprint, attempted to get away. However, they were quickly pulled back allowing Jono to comfortably win the sprint.
Grace Saywell defended her open women’s Poneke Plate winner’s title in a relatively small women’s field. The bunch split very early and the race had a similar appearance to multiple individual pursuits occurring at the same time. In the end, Grace’s superior fitness got her to the line ahead of fellow Wellington riders Bridget Olphert and Zoe Perry who finished second and third, respectively.
Overall, a total of 55 riders were in attendance, including 17 visitors, and with a number of grades and plenty of prize money up for grabs, the support races for the day were often just as exciting as the main events. Notably, Glenn Catchpole had a great day racing in B grade, picking up wins in the points race and wheel race, while Charlie Stagg took wins in multiple U13 races, although Millie Donald was never too far behind.
This year included a ‘rider of the day’ award, which was decided by the officials. Race official Tony Pepperell noted it was difficult to pick. “Zoe Perry as an U15 riding in the Poneke Plate, Boston Bright and Chenuka Rajapaks’ clean sweep of the U17 and U15 Boys races respectively, and Ari Evans’ third place in the A Cat Wheelrace were all highlights,” said Pepperell. However, they decided it was hard to go past Jackson’s Laykold Cup win and impressive rides in the support races.