Speed News from New Zealand
February 24 & 25 saw New Zealand’s top skaters assemble in Blenheim, one of the wine producing areas of New Zealand for a full on weekend of Banked Track racing. This event was the NZ Banked Track Championships and for the Seniors it was their last attempt to impress the selectors before the NZ teams for Worlds are announced.
Saturday morning the weather looked uncertain but we were soon underway with the time trials.The track was to prove a problem with some nasty glassy areas on the western end that caught a number of skaters out and caused some nasty falls that required hospital treatment. Fortunately later in the day some remedial work was undertaken under the direction of John Pelzer. This made a big difference and was greatly appreciated by the skaters and first aid folk from St John.
Unfortunately Kalon Dobbin was injured and unable to skate and with Scott Arlidge only skating 2 races before his injury this left the races wide open.
Shane Dobbin showed his strength and versatility by winning the time trial and one wonders where his emphasis will be for Worlds. Some good performances were seen by Peter Michael, DJ Nation and Peter Homburg. Wayne Begg was consistently there with medal placing in most distances and seems to be a lot stronger this year.
Nicole Begg showed her strength and expertise by winning easily all the Senior Ladies races.
For the selectors it is an unenviable task and we look forward to the team being announced.
Blenheim is not a fast track where records are traditionally broken. However, a new record was established for the Senior Men’s Relay and the record for the Junior Girls 3000 points was broken.
Skaters are now working towards Oceania’s and WIC and the next month will see a number leave for overseas. We wish them well and will follow their results with keen interest.