2019 #OceaniaTrack Championships: Endurance Preview

Australia and New Zealand split the endurance events last year with six a piece. Expect to see new champions crowned with competition among Oceania’s best to be as strong as ever.

The fields including plenty of past winners including Annette Edmondson, Michaela Drummond, Leigh Howard, Campbell Stewart, Rushlee Buchanan, Sam Welsford, Ashlee Ankudinoff ensuring the bunch races and pursuits will excite the crowd.

2017 Champions
Men: Joshua Harrison (Australia)
Women: Racquel Sheath (New Zealand)

2016 Champion Sam Welsford is joined by Kelland O’Brien, Alex Porter and Leigh Howard who finished second a year ago among Australian challengers. Campbell Stewart (New Zealand) has tasted Oceania success in the omnium before winning the under 19 title in 2015 and is twice a junior world champion. With silver medals in the points and scratch races at the Commonwealth Games his speed will see him go head to head with the Australian riders. Blake Quick (Australia) and Stephen Hall (Australia) should also be watched closely.

In a field that includes three former winners in Annette Edmondson (2013-15), Ashlee Ankudinoff (2009 and 2012) and Georgia Baker (2016) the competition among Australian riders will be intense. Add in fourth place finisher from a year ago Maeve Plouffe and Kristina Clonan and the Australian’s look strong. For New Zealand the challenge will come from 2015 junior champion Michaela Drummond who claimed bronze last year and Rushlee Buchanan who collected a bronze medal at the World Championships in April and silver a year ago.

2017 Champions
Men: Campbell Stewart and Tom Sexton (New Zealand)
Women: Kristina Clonan and Macey Stewart (Australia)

Defending Champions Kristina Clonan and Macey Stewart (Australia) return eyeing another title. New Zealand will be looking for their first title in the event with Michaela Drummond and Rushlee Buchanan. Both have claimed medals over the last two years, with Drummond silver in 2017 and Buchanan bronze in 2018 and are bound to be a major force in the race. Annette Edmondson and Ashlee Ankudinoff add further depth to the field. Though with the likes of Josie Talbot and Maeve Plouffe it will be a hotly contested race.

Tom Sexton is back and will partner Aaron Wyllie as he looks to defend the crown for New Zealand. Lining up for Australia will be Cameron Scott and Alex Porter. With a field of young stars expect to see some hard and fast racing.

Scratch Race
2017 Champions
Men: Joshua Harrison (Australia)
Women: Bryony Botha (New Zealand)

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sam Welsford (Australia) headlines a strong field looking to add their name to the honour roll. 2017 Champion Alex Porter (Australia) and 2011 winner Leigh Howard (Australia) add further depth to the field. The New Zealand challenge will come from Tom Sexton and Aaron Wyllie with Australia’s Stephen Hall also a rider to keep an eye on.

Ankudinoff will be looking for a fourth title in the women’s though she will have tough competition from her fellow Australian’s including 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion Edmondson, 2016 Oceania Champion Lauren Perry as well as Clonan and medallists a year ago Josie Talbot and Breanna Hargrave. A young New Zealand team will hope to find the podium with Jessie Hodges or Kate Smith.

Points Race
2017 Champions
Men: Joshua Harrison (Australia)
Women: Kirstie James (New Zealand)

A new champion will be named in the elite men’s with defending champion Josh Harrison racing overseas. Leading the contenders is Kelland O’Brien (Australia) who snared silver a year ago. Luke Plapp (Australia) will be looking to progress from junior world champion to elite Oceania Champion in two months.

Having claimed silver in Cambridge a year ago Clonan will be eyeing the top spot of the podium though with four other former Australian winners in Baker (2017), Stewart (2016), Edmondson (2014) and Ankudinoff (2013) it will not be easy. Jessie Hodges will hope to find the podium for New Zealand as will Emily Shearman.

Individual Pursuit
2017 Champions
Men: Jordan Kerby (Australia)
Women: Kirstie James (New Zealand)

Junior World Record holder Ellesse Andrews (New Zealand) raced her first 3km pursuit at the Commonwealth Games finishing sixth and will look to add another Oceania title to her name. Kate Smith who claimed under 19 silver two years ago will be another name to watch in the black kit of New Zealand. Leading the Australian charge will be Talbot, Plouffe and Alex Martin Wallace. Sophie Edwards (Australia) makes the step up to elite after winning bronze at Junior Worlds in August.

2018 bronze medallist Conor Leahy (Australia) impressed a year ago and with an open field he will be looking for the top step of the podium. Stepping up from juniors is Luke Plapp who recently claimed silver in the time trial at the Road World Championships following two world titles on the track. Other names to keep an eye on include Tyler Lindorff (Australia)

Team Pursuit
2017 Champions
Men: Leigh Howard, Jordan Kerby, Nicholas Yallouris, Kelland O’Brien and Rohan Wight (Australia)
Women: Bryony Botha, Rushlee Buchanan, Michaela Drummond, Kirstie James and Racquel Sheath (New Zealand)

New Zealand will look to defend their women’s title with a young develop squad of Hodges, Andrews, Shields and Shearman who will face off against a strong Australian team. With the experienced Edmondson and Ankudinoff joining forces with Baker, Stewart and Clonan it will be an event not to be missed.

Young Australian and New Zealand squads will face off for gold in the men’s with the future stars from both countries given a chance to shine.