A huge crowd at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena were treated to an exciting evening of racing at the 2017 Cycling Australia Madison National Championships as Australia’s best track endurance riders chased the national title.
Two time Madison world champion Cameron Meyer (WA) claimed his fourth title after teaming up with Rio Olympic silver medallist Sam Welsford (WA) in a stunning display taking three laps on route to gold.
South Australia’s Danielle McKinnirey (SA) successfully defended her national title partnering with Alex Manly (SA), the first championships since the event was introduced as a World Championship event for women.
Cameron Meyer continued his track return partnering with Sam Welsford to claim the national title and a fourth win with a fourth partner.
“I don’t know if it is people don’t want to come back and ride with me or what is going on,” Meyer said having claimed the title with Glenn O’Shea, Jack Bobridge, Leigh Howard and now Sam Welsford.
“It is four different partners but this one was special to win as a WA duo. I have watched Sam going through the juniors and it was fantastic to ride with him and take the green and gold jersey back to WA. It is something special!”
After taking the early lead following a quickly taken lap less than 20 laps into the race, the West Australian’s were temporarily put on the back foot as New South Wales’ Nicholas Yallouris and Cameron Scott who had consistently been picking up points took the lead.
It wasn’t long before Meyer and Welsford were back on the attack combining with Rohan Wight (SA) and Alex Porter (SA), taking a lap with 70 to go and jumping them back into the lead.
With the laps continuing to count down it was only a matter of time before Meyer and Welsford were on the attack again to claim their third lap with just over 30 laps remaining to finish on 97 points.
A strong second half of the race saw newly crowned Oceania Champions Kelland O’Brien (VIC) and Callum Scotson (SA) collect silver on 65 points, with Wight and Porter (SA) rounding out the podium on 57.
“What I wanted to do was be ahead of the game the whole time and that’s what happened,” Meyer said. “NSWIS fought their way back and we went again. That is what I wanted tonight and it worked out perfectly.”
An elated Welsford had trouble putting his excitement into words after claiming his first Madison national title. “I can’t explain it, it is just unreal! I can’t even talk I’m so happy.”
For Welsford it is not just the green and gold jersey he can take away from the Championships but the experience gained from racing with one of the best Madison riders of his generation.
“Riding with Cam is incredible he has so much experience and so much knowledge about the Madison. He brings so much to the table and I can’t put a price to it.”
Danielle McKinnirey made it back-to-back Madison national titles after partnering with Alex Manly as the young duo made a late surge for the title in the 120-lap race.
The South Australian pair were presented with the green and gold jersey of Australian Champions, as the top Australian team. With New Zealand’s Michaela Drummond and Racquel Sheath finishing three points ahead.
Heading in to the final double points sprint four teams were still in contention with just five points separating them.
A strong sprint to the line snared them green and gold on 27 points. Three off a victory and just one ahead of New South Wales’s Josie Talbot and Ashlee Ankudinoff who rounded out the podium on 26.
“It is a great feeling to be able to come back and defend it for a second year,” McKinnirey said. “Especially to do it with a great teammate in Alex. Things have happened for us in the Madison before so it is good to have a good one.”
Manly was quick to echo McKinnirey’s comments. “It feels really good. It was one of my goals since it has been going and I have seemed to get fourth or something happens so this year it is really cool to pull it off.
“It was really close and looking up in the middle of the race everyone was sitting around 10-12 points so it was really close. You didn’t know if you were going to have it or not,” Manly continued.
For McKinnirey while it is her second national title in a row, both years she has finished in second place with the winners not eligible for the national title.
“It does make it feel a bit bittersweet. But it just makes you a bit more hungry for next year,” McKinnirey added.