23 Sep 2014

Dawkins breaks record then loses

1:40 pm on 23 September 2014

The Southland sprinter and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Eddie Dawkins set a New Zealand record in qualifying at the BikeNZ Track Cycling Cup in Cambridge.

Eddie Dawkins, left, and Zac Williams compete in the (ME) sprint at the Avanti BikeNZ Cup, Avantidrome, Cambridge, New Zealand, Saturday, September 20, 2014.

Eddie Dawkins, left, and Zac Williams compete in the (ME) sprint at the Avanti BikeNZ Cup, Avantidrome, Cambridge, New Zealand, Saturday, September 20, 2014. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

However the team sprint world champion bowed out in the quarter-finals of the men's sprint to rising Auckland cyclist Zac Williams.

The event is the first to offer qualifying points towards the 2016 Rio Olympics, comprising riders from Australia, USA, Malaysia, Scotland, Canada and Czech Republic.

Australian Jacob Schmid, the fastest qualifier in the sprint on the opening day, made history as the first person to go under the 10-second barrier at the Cambridge velodrome with his brilliant 9.974 effort.

Dawkins, responding to the challenge, clocked 9.873 seconds to set the fastest time in New Zealand by a New Zealander.

It was under his previous best of 9.908 seconds, set at the Oceania Championships in Invercargill last year - although his fastest sea level time was set at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow of 9.818 seconds.

Dawkins says the track was definitely quicker but given they are just back from a break after the Commonwealth Games, it was unexpected.

He says it's great to get his best time in New Zealand.

The only upset of the first round was when Williams beat off team sprint world champion Ethan Mitchell.

Williams showed that was no fluke when he repeated the dose to Dawkins, who won the first in the best of three quarter-final rides.

His young opponent answered the call to dominate the second ride and then made a critical jump in the decider and held off the final charge by Dawkins.

But the Australians dominated the deciding races in the sprint competition with Jacob Schmid beating compatriot Shane Perkins in the sprint final, after Schmid had accounted for Thursday's winner Sam Webster in two straight rides in one semi-final, while Perkins used his experience to beat Williams in the other.

It was a sprint double for Australia with Caitlin Ward taking out the women's final in two straight rides over Steph Mckenzie in a repeat of their battle on Thursday.

Regan Gough impressively won the men's 40-kilometre points race with a dominating performance.

The 18-year-old, who won two junior titles including points at the recent world championships, put a lap on the field and going on to win with 46 points from Aaron Gate on 32, Australian Scott law on 30 and Westley Gough 25.

Young Southland rider Liam Aitcheson went solo with three laps to go and held on to win the elite men's scratch race while Australian Scott Law beat off the bunch sprint over Aaron Gate for the minors.

Australian star Ashlee Ankudinoff continued on her winning way to claim the women's 10-kilometre scratch race, rolling over compatriot Rebecca Wiasak with leading New Zealander Jaime Nielsen third.

Ankudinoff completed an unbeaten week, claiming the women's points race from New Zealander Lauren Ellis.

Ankudinoff won all six disciplines of the omnium and posted two scratch race victories, clearly staking her claim for a recall to the women's team pursuit combination for the world championships and ultimately the Rio Olympics.