Records tumble at national track champs
Nelson teenager Finn Fisher-Black went under the world record in the individual pursuit twice at the Avantidrome on day three of the Vantage Elite & U19 Track National Championships.
The 17-year-old clocked 3:08.815 to top qualifiers for the 3000m individual pursuit in the morning, but could not be considered for an official record without full doping control process and UCI officials in place.
Fisher-Black backed up with a superb effort in the evening final, to clock 3:09.710 to win the gold medal and set an official world record, more than a second faster than the old mark.
Fisher-Black’s morning time was over four seconds faster than his previous best which was set just a few weeks ago at the Auckland Track Championships, also on the Avantidrome track.
New Zealand now holds both junior individual pursuit world records, with Ellesse Andrews setting the women’s mark at the World Championships in 2017.
Fisher-Black, already a junior world champion in the team pursuit, is based at St Peters School in Cambridge, and is part of the Grassroots Trust Waikato BOP Performance Hub in addition to riding on the road with the Skoda Fruzio team.
“It is a pretty special day. This morning I went out faster than I was scheduled to but I just kept hitting it out at the lap times and held on. Unfortunately, that time didn’t count for an official record. I tried to rest up as much as I could and that ride was only a second slower so I was pretty stoked. Now the world record is official. It’s overwhelming really,” said Fisher-Black.
The other highlights included two further titles to Vantage Elite New Zealand rider Kirstie James and a first New Zealand title for former Australian Jordan Kerby.
James, who set a personal best in winning the individual pursuit, used her sprinting ability to win both the points race and scratch race titles. While her team pursuit teammates Bryony Botha and Racquel Sheath picked up points regularly, James saved her best until the end, with blistering sprints to win the second-last and double-points final sprint to claim the title.
She jumped with two laps to go in the scratch race with similar tactics and again held on for third title of the championships.
“I had not felt that great since the individual pursuit win so I rode the points race more conservatively which helped. I knew everyone was watching me in the final sprint so I accelerated to get a gap and hold it,’ said James.
“The scratch was interesting over the last 2kms. I did a similar thing by going hard with two laps to go and while I died a bit at the end I had enough gap to take the win so I am really happy.
“My form has been great and my teammates have also shown good form too which is a good confidence boost going into worlds.”
Kerby, who switched allegiances from Australia late last year, showed his experience in lapping the field twice to win the points race in a stellar field in the four-discipline omnium.
He is not yet eligible to ride for New Zealand at world championship level, so wanted to show his skills at the championships.
“I wanted to be confident and chip away at things. When it came to the sprints the boys were gassing me in the first two so my only chance was to take a lap and when I did that and looked at the scoreboard I realised they could still beat me,” said Kerby. “Everyone was just looking at each other so it was comparatively easy to take the second lap. I am very happy to get my first New Zealand title under my belt. I definitely wanted one gold medal given I am unable to go to the world champs.”
Kerby was impressive in lapping the field to win the scratch race from Nick Kergozou and Campbell Stewart, before Stewart edged Kerby by one point in the Tempo race. Stewart took the overall lead with second in the elimination but Kerby’s outstanding points race with 40 bonus points proved decisive.
In other races, endurance rider and junior individual pursuit world record holder, Ellesse Andrews upset the sprinters to win the keirin final after Natasha Hansen crashed out in the morning heats; Eddie Dawkins claimed a second win in the men’s keirin over Callum Saunders while Dylan Kennett produced a turn of speed over the final lap to win the scratch race.
In Under-19 action Ally Wollaston took out the omnium; Angus Claasen (West Coast NI) claimed the men’s sprint final in two straight rides, as did Southland’s Tyla Green in the women’s. Canterbury’s Laurence Pithie, runner-up to Fisher-Black in the pursuit final, returned to win the points race.
The championships conclude on Sunday.
Men Omnium, Scratch: Jordan Kerby (WCNI) 1, Nick Kergozou (Southland) 2, Campbell Stewart (WCNI) 3. Tempo: Stewart 30 points, 1; Kerby 29, 2; Corbin Strong 24, 3. Elimination: Strong 1, Stewart 2, Sexton 3. Points: Kerby 56 points, 1; Stewart 30, 2; Strong 24, 3. Total: Kerby 168, 1; Stewart 144, 2; Strong 134, 3.
Women, Points Race (20km): Kirstie James (Southland) 34 points, 1; Bryony Botha (Waikato BOP) 30, 2; Racquel Sheath (Waikato BOP) 26, 3.
Women, Keirin Final: Ellesse Andrews (Waikato BOP) 1, Tess Young (Waikato BOP) 2, Jaymie King (Waikato BOP) 3.
Men, Keirin Final: Eddie Dawkins (Southland) 1, Callum Saunders (Waikato BOP) 2, Sam Webster (Auckland) 3.
Women, Scratch race (10km): Kirstie James (Southland) 1, Jessie Hodges (Waikato BOP) 2, Georgia Danford (Auckland) 3.
Men, Scratch Race (15km): Dylan Kennett (Waikato BOP) 1, Corbin Strong (Southland) 2, Hugo Jones (Canterbury) 3.
Men 3000m pursuit qualifying: Finn Fisher-Black (Waikato-BOP) 3:08.815 (NZ Record); Laurence Pithie (Canterbury) 3:17.738, 2; Keegan Hornblow (Tasman) 3:19.622, 3. Gold Medal final: Fisher-Black 3:09.710, 1 (World Record); Pithie 3:18.019, 2. Bronze medal: Hornblow 3:19.389, 3; Lachlan Dickson (Auckland) 3:20.361, 4.
Men sprint, qualifying: Angus Claasen (WCNI) 10.746, 1; Sebastian Lipp (Canterbury) 10.834, 2; Samuel Upton (Auckland) 10.935, 3. Gold medal final: Claasen bt Lipp 2-0. Bronze medal: Cameron Manley (Auckland) bt Upton 2-1.
Women sprint, qualifying: Tyla Green (Southland) 12.366, 1; Jennifer Brown (Southland) 12.457, 2; Isabella Roulston (Canterbury) 12.902), 3. Gold medal final: Green bt Brown 2-0. Bronze medal: Roulston bt Rowse (Canterbury) 2-0.
Women omnium, scratch race: Ally Wollaston (Waikato BOP) 1, Emily Paterson (Southland) 2, Sami Donnelly (Canterbury) 3. Tempo: Mya Anderson (Waikato BOP) 6 points, 1; Wollaston 4, 2; Paterson 2, 3. Elimination: Wollaston 1, Olivia King (Waikato BOP) 2, Ella Wyllie (Auckland) 3. Points: Anderson 27 points, 1; Eva Parkinson (Waikato BOP) 26, 2; Wollaston 15, 3. Total: Wollaston 133, 1; Parkinson 122, 2; Anderson 121, 3.
Men, Points Race (15km): Laurence Pithie (Canterbury) 22 points, 1; Logan Currie (Canterbury) 21, 2; Kiaan Watts (Waikato BOP) 10, 3.
Women C1-5 Sprint qualifying: Nikita Howarth (Waikato BOP) 12.879, 1; Nicole Murray (Waikato BOP) 13.002, 2.
Men B/VI Tandem Sprint qualifying: Mitchell Wilson (Waikato BOP)/pilot Jackson Ogle (Waikato BOP), 1.