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Race Report: AKSS Champs Round 2/3, Sanders Reserve, Paremoremo, 20-May-2012

By Nigel Craggs

The Auckland Secondary School Championship returned to Sanders Reserve for the second round of the three race series.  As the riders arrived, the sun broke from the clouds and we looked set for a good morning of racing despite it still being quite wet underfoot.  For those unfamiliar with Sanders Reserve, it comprises of three main courses; Red, Green and Orange.  For this round of racing, the troublesome Red course from the first round was left alone and instead saw the orange course pressed in to service.  This was an open and flowing course with not too many trees but with some newly built berms to make the cornering exciting.  This combined with some tricky off camber pinch climbs and a bit of gluggy mud just before the end of the lap and it made for quite an entertaining race course. 

The field of 69 riders all congregated at the bottom of the hill to climb up to the start finish area from which they descended down to the start of the orange trail.  The seniors lead off with boys followed by girls then intermediates and finally the juniors.  If the seniors looked fast, the intermediates and juniors certainly didn’t leave much in the locker room either and all riders absolutely screamed down the hill from the start finish area into the Orange course.  In the seniors race there was some real competition out front with Logan Callesen really having a race on his hands on lap one with Guy Hirst and team mate Elliot Wright.  The senior girl, Anna Trenholme, was showing that she was not there to make up numbers by passing some of the senior boys and then riding away!  In the intermediates a group of five riders comprising Sam Dakin, Ryan Craggs, Cosmo Bloor, Peter Bethell and Kim Wright were almost inseparable over the first lap with the lead and order constantly changing.   In the intermediate girls, national champ, Jemma Manchester, showed us how it’s done with an impressive display of speed carving her way through the boys field. Jemma was chased at a good pace by Charlotte Rayner and Sarah Russell – all girls from the same team.  In the juniors, Kalen Weir put on an impressive display serenely pulling away from the chasing bunch of Finn Welsford-Ackroyd, Jake Craggs, and Owen Chung.     Meanwhile Kyla Russell finally had some competition in this round with six riders in her category so was pressed on the first lap by Isobel Welsford-Ackroyd (an underage guest) and Brooke Wallwork.

While the competitors completed their first lap, the facilities of Sanders Reserve were being fully utilised with a steady stream of customers for both the excellent coffee and the Jafakids sausage sizzle which were both in hot demand.

The second lap saw some further extensions of the patterns set in the first lap with Logan Callesen finally managing to gain a small lead over Guy Hirst in the seniors while Cosmo Bloor had hit the front and was pushing the other intermediate boys hard who were still hanging on.   Kalen managed to extend his lead over Jake and Finn in the Junior boys race while the leading girls were steadily making headway through the boys groups.  The conditions started to get pretty challenging in the mud hole at the end of the lap and several riders found themselves irresistibly drawn to have a quick lay down beside the trail before continuing to pick themselves up and run to the road where grip at last returned.

The third lap saw some retirees.   Ryan and Josh both had to pull out with mechanical issues – broken chains / shoes and there was a small but steady stream of riders pushing their bikes back to the finish. 

First race to finish was the junior girls with Kayla Russell claiming her second back to back victory from round one.  However the surprise result was Jafakid Isobel Welsford-Ackroyd who managed an astounding second place despite still having a year to go before she can officially compete for the title – way to go Isobel!

Next to race to finish was the intermediate girls won by Jafakid, Jemma Manchester, shortly followed by winning junior boy (also a Jafakid) Kalen Weir.  A bit of drama followed with another Jafakid, second place holder Jake Craggs, losing his chain just 40 metres from the finish and needing to sprint with his bike to the line to just hold off a fast charging Owen Chung in third by just a few seconds.  Another astounding Jafakid result, especially since like Isobel in the girls race, Jake still has a year to go before he can officially compete in the series.  It looks like Jafakids are set to feature on podiums far into the future!

The fast charging intermediate boys race was next to finish with Cosmo Bloor putting on a fantastic display to claim victory over Jafakids Peter Bethell, Sam Dakin and Kim Wright all following him home.

In the senior boys Logan Callesen came home first with his team mate Elliot Wright just overhauling Jafakid Guy Hirst on the last lap for second spot.

Senior girl Anna Trenhom from Howick rounded off the major place holders of the day.

[PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE ADDED, thanks to Kerran's mum]

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