Following a successful Junior Track Nationals for WA, it was time for the Elite & U19 WA State Team to step into the Anna Meares Velodrome. Our team was led by newly appointed WAIS cycling head coach Matthew Crampton.
The first day of competition saw WA off to a good start with Cycling Australia Podium Potential Athlete Matthew Richardson clocking a new PB (9.995) in the flying 200m Sprint to qualify 4th fastest. In the Women’s U19 Scratch Race, Dharlia Haines, who was suffering from the effects of a cold, finished just off the podium in 4th place in what was a gutsy ride.
Day two of Nationals was highlighted by Oliver Bleddyn’s outstanding result in the Men’s U19 3000m Individual Pursuit. Oliver placed 3rd fastest with a time of 3:19.873 and advanced through to the bronze medal ride off (Oliver was just .016 off second place!). In the final for the bronze medal, Oliver got the best of his rival to go fastest by .092 (3:21.817) and take his first medal in the 2019 U19 Nationals.
Day three saw a great ride again by Dharlia Haines in the mass start events. She finished in 5th place in the Women’s U19 Points Race, picking up 7 points. In the Men’s U19 Points Race, Oliver Bleddyn and James Derrick teamed up to ride a very aggressive race with James having plenty of digs off the front and finishing 6th (5 points). Whilst Oliver claimed his second bronze medal finishing with 14 points, just 4 away from silver.
The final day of Elite & U19 Nationals saw some of the most exciting events of the week. This was reflected with a pleasing crowd turnout at the Velodrome filled with those eager to watch the Keirin finals and exciting mass start races. WA did not disappoint with Oliver and James teaming up for a great ride in the Men’s U19 30km Madison. The boys took maximum points early, often timing their hand slings to perfection to launch James ahead of the bunch to collect the points on offer. In the end, it was a late move that saw them jump into second position (27 points) to claim silver in the Madison. In the Men’s Keirin, Matthew Richardson rode strongly to advance to the final 6. Matt delivered a brilliant performance to finish 3rd place and claim the bronze medal. In the final event of the day and competition, the Men’s 40km Points Race, Sam Welsford & Stephen Hall worked well together for WA to finish in 6th and 4th place in an exciting race. A brilliant solo move by Stephen in the middle part of the race was an exciting highlight.
Congratulations to the rest of the WA State Team who, despite not achieving a medal or a top 6 result, still came away with multiple personal bests in their events as well as invaluable experience gained for future racing. Well done to Jade Haines, Darcie Richards, Karis Bonser, Lucy Baptist, Kirsten Simpson, Kye Bonser, Luke Zaccaria, Jordan Dawson, Lachlan Loveridge & Lachlan Sheen.
Thanks to our team mechanic Brett who did a great job preparing our team’s bikes and an extra special thank you to the team at Quest Eight Mile Plains who provided quality accommodation for the Junior & Elite/U19 WA riders for the trip.