It all started with John McDonnell, the support of Cath Cheatley and Bryan Simmonds and a handful of local keen kids a few years back.
Friday night racing has gone from strength to strength hitting record numbers earlier this month with 85 kids including a dozen or so from Auckland Schools in preparation for the Vantage Age Group Track National Championships.
Four of these kids – Jack Carswell, La’chlan Roberston, Mya Anderson and Keisha Anderson all raced the nationals and have all trained and raced through the Avantidrome Schools programme. They were all part of the winning Waikato Bay Of Plenty Team.
Cath Cheatley – volunteer extraordinaire who runs Friday Night Racing in conjunction with John and Bryan, interviewed each of these awesome kids and here’s what they had to say.
What’s the thing you love most about Track Cycling?
Jack: The Hoon!..and I like riding around in circles.
La’chlan: The thing I love most about track cycling is the racing, once the race starts nothing outside the track matters anymore it’s just you and the other riders attacking, sprinting and winning. Also the thrill of using and racing on the same Velodrome that World Champions and Olympians use and sometimes racing them.
Mya: The thrill and speed of the track. The people and coaches I am surrounded with. I love the fact that you can be training there and some of the New Zealand Team might be there too, you can just go up and talk to them!
Keisha: Because I get to catch up with my cycling mates and meet new people. We have heaps of fun on and off the track
Describe your racing style as an animal?
Jack: A hedgehog. I sort of bumble about the bunch not knowing what I’m doing and then occasionally I pop out and try not to get run over.
La’chlan: I would have to say my racing style is like a Puma, a Puma hunts using stealth and strength like how I race hiding behind other riders and attacking with a sudden blow of strength when they least expect it. Also like the Puma I can adapt to a whatever is thrown before me and use it to my advantage.
Mya: Well some days I feel like a turtle, but some days I feel like a rabbit, it’s all just part of the sport!
Keisha: A meer cat because I’m always looking around but I know I shouldn’t be.
Best tip to give a kid wanting to get into track cycling?
Jack: Pedal Forrest pedal!!
La’chlan: The number one rule I have is to have fun don’t be scared about how fast the other riders are going or how steep the banking is, once you get up there you will realize that there is nothing to worry about and you’ll be having the time of your life.
Mya: Give it a go! I was only nine years old when I started and it took me a while to get into it but once I started I never wanted to stop! It’s very addictive!
Keisha: It’s really cool going fast around the corners on the track.
Best tip for old people wanting to be hip young cyclists?
Jack: Stop trying, you missed the window. Just be a hip old cyclist and go retro.
La’chlan: Socks, that’s all that matters. You have to wear the most weird, colourful and strangest socks you can find. Also the more exotic the country you get them from or if no one else has seen them before is even better. The only rule to this is no plain colours. This is a fad that will last so you don’t have to worry about not being up with it.
Mya: Go for it! You are never too old for anything.
Keisha: Don’t get a fluro helmet, it doesn’t look good on old people!
Follow the Avantidrome Schools Racing page on Facebook for regular updates on programmes and results.
Keen to get the kids started? Call reception on 07 823 1421 and enquire about our youth cycling programmes.