New Zealand and Australia claim five gold each on opening day of 2020 Oceania Track Championships

Australia and New Zealand each claimed five gold as records fell on the opening day of the 2020 Oceania Track Championships, in Invercargill, New Zealand.

New Zealand’s Team sprint trio of Edward Dawkins, Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell lead the way for New Zealand setting a new Oceania Record, as World Champions Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton won the women’s crown, with a new Oceania Championship Record on route.

In the team pursuit New Zealand set a new Oceania Championships on their way to the title and Australia claimed the men’s team pursuit.

Maeve Plouffe won her first Oceania title in the scratch race and Jordan Kerby his fourth, though first in New Zealand colours.

Competition continues Thursday with omniums, time trials and sprint set to feature.


Team Sprint

Local favourite Edward Dawkins lead New Zealand to gold in the men’s team sprint with Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell as the trio set a new Oceania Record of 42.508secs, eclipsing their previous mark of 42.535secs.

“To ride the fastest time we’ve ever done, it’s pretty unreal. Everything clicked and clicked twice. We rode really close to our PB in the first round and to be able to back it up bodes well for the future,” Dawkins said.

“It’s super surreal, I’ve got no idea how it happened, but it’s so great – especially for me, for it to happen here. We’ve had a big shift in coaching staff, we’ve got a new coach in Rene (Wolff) and it’s pushed our team in a new direction, focusing on the strength element has just made our starts so much stronger as a unit.”

Silver went to Matthew Richardson, Nathan Hart and Thomas Clarke (Australia-43.360) and bronze to Jordan Castle, Sam Dakin and Bradley Knipe (New Zealand-44.133)

Reigning World Champions Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton was in their dominant form winning gold in the women’s, making McCulloch’s ninth and Morton’s sixth Oceania title in the event. Their time of 32.591secs was just outside their own Oceania Record of 32.255secs. Ellesse Andrews and Olivia Podmore of New Zealand collected silver in 33.540 and Alana Field and Lara Tucker (Australia-34.437) completed the top three.

“It definitely did go to plan tonight. I think we were both surprised by the time, we are in pretty deep training so to come out and do a 32.6, only four tenths of a second off our Worlds time so we are in good shape and really happy with that,” said McCulloch who claimed her 20th Oceania title.

In the under 19 events Australia’s Alessia McCaig and Kalinda Robinson set a new Oceania Championship Record on route to gold in 35.249secs ahead of New Zealand’s Tyla Green and Jenna Borthwick in 36.264sercs. Tia Slama and Deneaka Blinco (Australia-35.978) completed the podium.

Hamish Coltman, Sebastian Lipp and Kaio Lart (New Zealand) stormed home to gold in 46.865secs, clear of Daniel Barber, Jaden Rollison and Declan Key (Australia-47.232). Australia’s Jarrah Anderson, Duncan Allen and Ethan Harris won the race for bronze in 47.597secs.

Team Pursuit

In a reversal of the results from the 2019 Championships as New Zealand claimed honours in the women’s team pursuit, with Australia taking the men’s title.

World Championship bronze medallist Kirstie James lead a young New Zealand squad of Nicole Shields, Emily Shearman and Jessie Hodges to gold setting a new Oceania Championship record of 4mins 19.040 in the process. Maeve Plouffe, Sam De Riter, Sophie Edwards and Alex Martin-Wallace (Australia-4:22.057). The race for bronze was taken out by Josie Talbot, Ruby Roseman-Gannon, Nicola Macdonald and Lauren Perry.

Lucas Plapp, Godfrey Slattery, Joshua Duffy and Conor Leahy (Australia) were too strong catching New Zealand in the gold medal ride to clinch the gold ahead of New Zealand’s Hugo Jones, Josh Scott, Kiaan Watts and Jared Treymane. Bronze was won by Bailey O’Donnell, George Jackson, Conor Shearing and Harry Waine (New Zealand-4:03.219).

Charlotte Spurway, Natalie Green, Prudence Fowler and Jenna Borthwick claimed gold in the under 19 women’s for New Zealand with a time of 4mins 38.770secs. Silver went to Liliana McLennan, Amy Wright, Katarina Chung-Orr and Brooke Carnes (Australia-4:41.190) with Mya Anderson, Jessica Spencer, Maddi Douglad and Rhylee Akeroyd (New Zealand-4:46.153) taking bronze.

The under 19 men’s crown was taken out by Oliver Bleddyn, Alastair Mackellar, Angus Miller and Dalton Stretton of Australia ahead of New Zealand’s Jack Carswell, Reuben Webster, Navarh Brotherston and Zakk Patterson. Joshua Van Heyningen, Ryan Macleod, Max Williams and Mitchel Fitzsimons (New Zealand) completed the podium.

Scratch Races

Less than an hour after claiming silver in the team pursuit Australia’s Maeve Plouffe claimed one of the biggest wins of her career beating a strong field to claim her maiden Oceania title.

Plouffe joined forced with eventual silver medallist Rushlee Buchanan of New Zealand with the pair gaining a lap halfway through the 40-lap race. Shortly after Rylee McMullen gained a lap putting the medals of the reach of the bunch.

As the race reached the closing laps riders jostled for position at the front of the race with New Zealand’s Michaela Drummond winning the sprint to take fourth. Plouffe in second secured the win ahead of Buchanan with McMullen third.

“I was not expecting that at all. I had a pretty big ride with my teammates in the team pursuit earlier and I have a pretty full schedule,” said an Elated Plouffe.

“One of the Kiwi girls went out and I thought I would bridge across and when Rushlee [Buchanan] I thought I would jump on as I know that she is a really strong rider. Once I lapped the field it was all about protecting myself and making sure the final sprint was absolutely perfect and the end couldn’t have gone anymore perfectly.

Jordan Kerby gave the New Zealand crowd plenty to cheer about as he impressed for his first Oceania title in New Zealand colours. Kelland O’Brien (Australia) claimed silver and 2018 champion Josh Harrison (Australia) completed the podium.