School cycling champs in town
Cycling on a motor racing circuit may sound out of place but hundreds are set to take to the circuit at Manfeild for the New Zealand School Road Cycling Championships.
The event returns on Monday and Cycling New Zealand Schools’ chairman Kevin Searle said Feilding had hosted the ‘points race’ section at the national secondary schools’ tournament since its inception in 1979.
Searle said the venue offered a spectator-friendly environment. Taking the event off roads made it safer for riders and negated the need for traffic management, he said.
A bumper turnout of 700 riders will serve as the final challenge of a three day event. Though the sport is heading to Christchurch next year chief executive Julie Keane said it would only be a oneyear trial and the event was expected to return in 2019, with a future rotation plan to be confirmed.
‘‘The impetus is to foster more growth in the sport,’’ Keane said.
‘‘Kevin has reminded that there are more than 200 school riders taking part in weekly school competitions in the Christchurch area alone, yet South Island schools only contribute six per cent of this year’s field.’’
‘‘If they can lift the southern interest and bring those riders here, then we can assure them of a great competition.’’
Searle appreciated the community who had put their heart and soul into its ongoing success.
Searle said a one-year shift would reinvigorate cycling programmes.
Hard-fought action during the 2016 School Road National Championships at Manfeild.