The 2015 edition of the Baxter&Neilson junior track series recently concluded at the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome in Invercargill. The series, which is decided over eight meetings from the end of July to the end of November, is run with the aim of developing junior track racing in Southland, and caters to riders from the under 13 age group up to the under 19 age group.
Riders take part in three events per meet, with one timed event (either a flying lap or a TT/kilo) and two bunch events, which can include scratch, elimination, or points. At the end of the series the rider with the highest points total takes out the title, but there is also a very strong focus on participation and development throughout the series, with riders being motivated to constantly improve their personal best times in the timed events while learning more about the tactical side of the bunch races as well. Over the years the series has been a breeding ground for some top local talent including the likes of Tom Scully.
In the under 13 girls division, Rhylee Akeroyd had been virtually untouchable since the first meet, scoring 46 points, with Jody Syme taking second on 30 points, ahead of Jasmine McLeod in third. The under 13 boys saw Quinn Naylor deliver an equally impressive performance over the course of the season, finishing with 46 points. Cody Harvey finished in second on 24 points, having pushed Naylor over the much of the season, with Morgan Borrie taking third place on 15 points.
In the under 15 girls division, Emily Paterson was unbeatable all season long, scoring the maximum 48 points, with Lucy Dawkes second on 28 points, with Camryn Akeroyd finishing third on 19, in spite of missing out in the final three events of the series. The competition was much closer in the under 15 boys division, with Josh Miller eventually taking the series on 37 points, just four points ahead of Hunter Gough in second, with Kegan Knipe taking third on 16 points.
In the under 17 girls division Madeleine Gough took the win on 39 points, with Tayla Lumsden taking second on 28 points. Nicole Shields’ late season surge saw her tie for third with Nicole Marshall on 17 points. In the under 17 boys division Corbin Strong took a hard-fought win over Kain Bowles, with Strong scoring 36 ahead of Bowles’ 30, with Mitchell Morris a solitary point back in third.
The under 19 girls division saw a draw between Ella Harris and Emma Cumming on 12 points each, with both riders taking out two meets each. The under 19 boys saw some tough competition, but Tom Sexton managed to build up a comfortable margin over the course of the series, taking the win on 43 points, ahead of Hamish Beadle in second on 30 points, and Jack Pedler in third on 16, only one point ahead of Bradly Knipe and Magnus Tuxen Rosing in joint fourth.