During our time back in Australia, the Oceania Track Championships has always been on our ‘must attend’ list. We all know Australia and New Zealand produce some of the best track cyclists in the world right now and most, if not all of them had their first international track racing with the Oceania Track Championships. This event, which mostly feature Aussie and Kiwi cyclists, is where new talent is discovered and where old and established talents pit themselves against each other in a 4 day grueling battle.
Another thing why we love attending this event is that despite its rather small size featuring only athletes local to the region, there’s a lot of love and support for the event. Moreover, this is generally a very exciting time for the cyclists. Whereas some events have this atmosphere of stress and anxiety which can be intimidating (especially any event with the Brits who are definitely the most competitive of all track cyclists), this event is rather light, fun and is pretty much a very good way to waste a couple of days. Our experience with this event for the past few years has been very very positive. We always loved this event. The small town feeling, the very accommodating atmosphere, and the Aussie and Kiwi track cyclists are definitely one amazing bunch of people. Every minute with them is time well spent.
This year though due to our sudden change in career paths, we decided to skip this event but was reminded when a friend of ours told us of the events and even sent us some nice footage. Most of the winners were quite expected. Team Jayco-Australia, one of our favorite teams rode strongly with Shane Perkins, Jason Niblett, and Scott Sunderland adding more medals to their collection. The NZ Team with Simon van Velthooven, Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, Eddie Dawkins also rode strongly in their respective events. The Madison was dominated by crowd favorites Aussie cyclists Cameron Meyer and Leigh Howard who also dominated the team pursuit along with Jack Bobridge and Michael Hepburn. The Kiwi track cyclists rode strongly but ultimately came up short grabbing silver in most events. However, New Zealand was always strong with the omnium and they dominated this year’s events with Shane Archbold winning the gold (He also won this year’s track world cup omnium) with the fast developing Myron Simpson and Aaron Gate close behind, both from New Zealand.
In the end though, the results were rather predictable but still it made for an amazing track cycling spectacle and it’s quite sad that we missed this one this year. The much more promising aspects of this rare however, is the search for new talent and that is the U19 events where we saw a lot of promising athletes who will someday be the future of this sport. The Australian and NZ team will always be our favorites as the time we have spent with them was amazing memorable. Moreover we believe they will do very well in the 2011 season where they could challenge the Europeans for supremacy in the track worlds and ultimately in the 2012 olympics.
Here’s a photo gallery of the events. (Cycling Australia)