Kirstie James pipped her teammate Holly Edmondston by the narrowest of margins in record times on the opening day of finals at the Vantage Elite & U19 Track Cycling National Championships in Cambridge.
Meanwhile former Olympic and multi world champion rower, Hamish Bond claimed his first national title on the track in winning the 4000m individual pursuit, after a stunning national record in morning qualifying which was among the top-10 fastest times in history at sea level.
James claimed her first national individual pursuit title by just 14/1000ths of a second in a remarkable final of the 3000m individual pursuit at the Avantidrome. James and Edmondston’s fellow Vantage Elite track teammates Rushlee Buchanan and Bryony Botha fought out an equally exciting ride-off for the bronze.
James’ winning time of 4:28.311 was a new personal best and broke the national all comers record, with Edmondston a whopping 12 seconds under her previous best in claiming the silver.
“I am really pleased to back it up and go faster in the final. In qualifying I went too hard in the middle section and blew up a little bit. The evening ride was more consistent,” said James.
“I had no idea what Holly was doing. I was just riding to my schedule and that is the fastest ride I could have done.
“I am so proud of us four team pursuit girls in the finals, with Rushlee fighting back from her morning ride and Holly tonight riding a world class time. It shows that as the competition grows between us that we all benefit and collectively hopefully we will go faster.”
The excitement also extended to the men’s 4000m individual pursuit final where Bond edged out 2017 individual pursuit world champion, Jordan Kerby in the final.
Bond, who has switched his attentions to the track after two years pursuing the time trial on the road, clocked a superb 4:12.436 to top qualifiers, going under the previous national record by a second.
In the final, he was behind midway through but rallied to win in 4:14.516 over Kerby with Kennett riding an excellent 4:13.728, a fraction outside his old national record, claiming the bronze medal over Tom Sexton.
“I had to really grit my teeth to get one over Jordan. Being an ex-world champion, he was a really good scalp to beat in a final,” said Bond.
“I always had a really good kick at the end of the race in rowing and it is similar in the pursuit in cycling. In those last few laps you think you are in top gear but there is a secret sixth gear where you shut your eyes and grit your teeth and muscle out a few laps at the end. That was the case tonight.”
In Para cycling action, Nicole Murray (Waikato Bay of Plenty) won the 500m women C1 time trial in 39.875 ahead of Nikita Howarth (40.623) while Nick Blincoe won the men C1 1000m time trial in 1:09.907 over fellow Aucklander Byron Raubenheimer.
Northland’s accomplished Para cyclist Emma Foy and pilot Hannah van Kampen took out the B/Vi women tandem in 1:07.811 while Mitchell Wilson (Waikato Bay of Plenty) and pilot Jackson Ogle won the men tandem in 1:03.996. Both winning times were national records.
“Today was a solid day for the Para cycling contingent as they build for World Champs in five weeks’ time,” said Laura Thompson, Para cycling national development manager.
“The results were on target given the latest training block with two notable and pleasing New Zealand records set in the Tandem time trial races.
“The riders are on target and will continue to build before the World Championships.”
In other racing, Olivia Podmore won the 500m time trial over Vantage New Zealand elite teammate Racquel Sheath and Grassoots Trust Waikato BOP Performance Hub rider Tess Young, with team pursuit star, Nick Kergozou claiming the 1000m elite men’s time trial over Zac Williams and Campbell Stewart.
In Under-19 action, Southland’s Emily Paterson, a member of the SIT Southern Performance Hub prevailed in the 500m time trial in 36.633s. Later in the day she showed her versatility to finish runner-up to Grassroots Trust Waikato BOP Performance Hub rider, Ally Wollaston in the scratch race.
Southland’s Conor Shearing, another Hub rider, took out the under-19 1000m time trial, while yet another hub rider, Kiaan Watts, out-sprinted Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Performance Hub’s Lachie Dickson to win the 10km scratch race.
The championships continue until Sunday.
Results, day 1:
500m time trial: Olivia Podmore (Canterbury) 34.339, 1; Racquel Sheath (Waikato BOP) 35.331, 2; Tess Young (Waikato BOP) 35.736, 3.
3000m individual pursuit, gold medal: Kirstie James (Southland) 3:28.311, 1; Holly Edmondston (Mid South Canterbury) 3:28.325, 2; Bronze medal: Rushlee Buchanan (Waikato BOP 3:31.330, 3; Bryony Botha (Auckland) 3:31.792, 4.
500m time trial: Emily Paterson (Southland) 36.633, 1; Olivia King (Waikato BOP) 36.984, 2; Tyla Green (Southland) 37.567, 3.
Scratch race: Ally Wollaston (Waikato BOP) 1, Emily Paterson (Southland) 2, Olivia King (Waikato BOP) 3.
1000m time trial: Nick Kergozou (Southland) 1:00.757, 1; Zac Williams (Auckland) 1:01.561, 2; Campbell Stewart (West Coast NI) 1:02.228, 3.
4000m individual pursuit, gold medal: Hamish Bond (Waikato BOP) 4:14.516, 1; Jordan Kerby (West Coast NI) 4:16.290, 2; Bronze medal ride: Dylan Kennett (Waikato BOP) 4:13.728, 3; Tom Sexton (Southland) overtaken.
1000m time trial: Conor Shearing (Southland) 1:03.079, 1; Reuben Webster (Waikato BOP) 1:04.023, 2; Laurence Pithie (Canterbury) 1:04.416, 3.
Scratch race: Kiaan Watts (Waikato BOP) 1, Lachlan Dickson (Auckland) 2, Keegan Hornblow (Tasman) 3.