Title defences on home turf
Timaru siblings Amy Hollamby and Chris Karton have a unique opportunity to claim a back-toback New Zealand cycling titles double on a home track.
The brother and sister combination cleaned up the men’s and women’s Masters 1 (35-40 years) grade at the 2018 championships in the Wairarapa, winning both time trials and road events, and now 12 months later will attempt to repeat over April 26-28 when Cycling South Canterbury hosts the New Zealand age group championships near Pleasant Point.
One change, however, will see Hollamby competing this time in Masters 2 (40-45 years) grade.
‘‘I suppose it’s something that doesn’t happen often,’’ Hollamby, who also won the women’s section of the gruelling Pioneer mountain bike race in 2018 with Kate McIlroy, said about being able to win back-to-back titles on their home course.
‘‘This course, however, is way harder than last year which was quite flat. I would say don’t expect many sprint finishes,’’ she said of a tough course that includes several climbs up hills on Doake and Driscolls Rds.
Entries close today and are tracking towards Cycling New Zealand’s target of 500 with 415 confirmed on Friday last week, with 35 of those from South Canterbury. Racing will be held across youth, junior, senior, masters and para grades.
‘‘This event really is a huge opportunity for all the locals, both riding and our ability to organise an event this size.’’
Hollamby, as CSC vicepresident,
This event really is a huge opportunity for all the locals . . . Amy Hollamby
has been heavily involved in the organisation with 45 marshall/volunteers needed each day, and did reveal her training schedule hasn’t been huge.
‘‘I’m trying to be cagey. It’s been more about quality, not quantity. Training has been mainly in the garage at home. I’ve ramped it up a bit in the past few weeks and have managed to get out twice a week onto the road and time trial courses.’’
Karton, Hollamby’s younger brother, is still battling a serious back complaint which he had planned to have surgery on last year but that has been delayed.
After the championships last year, Karton contested the South Island Calder Stewart series, winning his masters grade, but then took three months off.
‘‘It was only at Christmas I decided it was time to get back on the back on the bike.
‘‘The back is manageable. I’m putting up with it. I don’t really want to have it (the operation).’’
Siblings Amy Hollamby and Chris Karton wear new Cycling South Canterbury kit as they prepare for a training ride and the defence of their New Zealand age group cycling titles in Timaru.