School cyclists are converging in numbers in Christchurch and Cambridge this weekend for both road and track championships.
The Skoda South Island School Road Championships will be staged at Ruapuna Park motor racing circuit over the weekend, while the Skoda North Island School Road Championships will be based at Lake Karapiro on Saturday and Sunday.
Many of the riders will make a quick switch with the Skoda National School Track Cycling Championships at the Avantidrome in Cambridge on Monday and Tuesday.
In total nearly 900 riders representing 164 schools will compete over the three events, as cycling continues to grow in participation.
The North Island event begins with the Team Time Trial at 8am on Saturday over 9km and 16km courses with the Road Races from 10.30am over distances from 26.6km to 55km and the criterium from 8am on Sunday at Karapiro from 5km to 11km. There are 503 riders competing from 70 schools.
The South Island road event comprises the time trial over 3.5km and team time trial over 15km on Saturday from 10am and the road racing from 10am on Sunday around the Ruapuna Park circuit, with distances from 10km to 38km. There are 173 riders taking part from 45 schools.
Several outstanding prospects will be having their last tilt at collegiate kudos on the road. In the North Island, Lewis Bower (Westlake), Jack Carswell (Cambridge HS) and Oliver Watson-Palmer (St Peters Cambridge) are expected to be prominent in the senior boys along with Florence McNabb (Nelson Girls) who will also be a threat on the track next week.
In the South Island road event, Michiel van Heyningen (Christchurch Boys), national track squad rider Jonathan Fish (Waimate) and Adam Bidwell (Marlborough Boys) will be strong chances in the boys along with Rhylee Akeroyd (James Hargest) in the senior girls.
The action reverts to the track for the combined Skoda North Island and National School Championships at the Avantidrome.
There are over 200 riders competing from 49 schools on Monday and Tuesday, with the riders taking a break on Tuesday while the Tokyo Olympic track squad train.
There is bound to be an exciting battle in the senior girls racing with Christchurch’s Amelia Sykes (Avonside High School) resuming her battles with Waikato’s Seana Gray (Cambridge High School).
Sykes won the under-17 individual pursuit, time trial and sprint at last year’s Vantage national age group track championship although Gray got the upper hand in the scratch race.
Both riders also featured on the podium at the recent Vantage national age group road championships in Rotorua.
Auckland Grammar’s Nate Boness was another to impress at last year’s age group track event winning the under-15 time trial, scratch and points race, and now steps up in age group.
Others to watch include Bonnie Rattray (Baradene College) who won the under-17 road time trial; Jaxson Russell (Cambridge High) who was the under-17 sprint winner last year; Harrison Craw (Palmerston North Boys) who won the under 15 Derby race and joined with his brother to win the team sprint; South Canterbury’s Jaxson Whyte (Roncalli College) who won the under 17 points and was second in the pursuit; Auckland’s Ruby Spring (St Kentigern College) who won the under-17 pursuit and part of the winning team sprint; and the Southland sisters Ciara and Caitlin Kelly (Verdon College) who won three national age titles on the track last year.
Racing begins at 1pm on Monday and 8am on Tuesday at the Avantidrome.