King’s Cycling 2019 is Underway.

Race#1: Points Race @Pukekohe

 The weather was stunning for the start of the racing season for KCC 2019. Pukekohe raceway was fast and there was no wind, making for ideal racing.

The format was individual road racing in age group bunches. Sprint points were up for grabs every second lap made for aggressive racing in all age groups.

Nathan Hill was first up in his inaugural race in U15 Boys (7 laps 20.3km). He managed to stick to the game plan, sitting comfortably in the bunch and making his way up the field towards the end and finished successfully in the main group. Well done Nathan! A hotly contested U16 Boys race (9 laps 26.1km) was up next. Oli Fisher and newcomer Tom Stephenson managed to hang in with the leading group throughout the race. Oli road wisely and managed to score an overall 7th place by claiming 3rd on the first sprint and 5th on the final sprint. Well done Oli! Unfortunately, Tom crashed in the final sprint, and will learn from his first race, and his bike handling ability will improve with time. Zeal Jones and Jackson Donnelly both got dropped from the leading bunch and finished the race with other dropped bunches. Anastasia Makogon began her racing in the U16 Girls (7 laps 20.3km) and performed remarkably well to sit with the leading group for the bulk of the race. Her bike handling skills will improve with time on the bike. Well done Anastasia! Nate Gilbertson raced the U17 Boys (11 laps 31.9km) which was dominated by AGS riders. Nate sat in the bunch having missed the break following the first sprint. Olly Bartlett was aggressive in her first ever road race forcing the pace early on in the U17 Girls (11 laps 31.9km) but due to her cornering inexperience got dropped, and continued to work hard to finish well in the trailing bunch. The U19 Boys race (12 laps 34.8km) was contested by five of King’s senior riders. Hunter Deavoll and Billy Frazer rode strong races and finished well in the second bunch after having the pace forced by the winning break of Jensen Foster and Ewart Bower from St Kent’s and Westlake who made the move after the first sprint and rode away from the peloton. Hunter earned an overall 6th place by placing 4th on the first sprint. James Archibald, Tim Matthews and Jackie Zhang all rode well to complete the first race for the season in trailing bunches.

Tom’s injuries appear superficial and he will ride again in a couple of weeks’ time when the Team Time Trial format begins. Two more newcomers will be tested this week, and hopefully a full squad of 18 will contest the TTT racing season on May 19. I look forward to seeing the squad grow in skills, fitness and ability.