Fresh from his elite men’s national club championships winning effort, Dunedin cyclist Alex McGregor (Team Calder Stewart Road) will be keen to carry that form into Saturday’s third round of the Benchmark Homes Elite Cycling Series, the Parry Field Lawyers-Ocean Ridge Classic from Hanmer to Kaikoura.
McGregor won the previous elite men’s round on the South Island’s West Coast last month with an impressive solo breakaway, similar to his Club Nationals winning effort on Sunday in Cambridge, that saw him move up the series points table to within striking distance of elite men’s series leader, H & J Outdoor World’s Cameron Karwowski.
With Karwowski overseas racing in Europe Daniel Barry (Tasman Wheelers) and Joe Chapman (L&M Group Ricoh) are also well positioned to challenge for the win on Saturday and take the series lead.
The challenging course should see some aggressive racing with the likes of Matthew Zenovich (H&J's Outdoor World Avanti+), the vastly experienced Chris Nicholson (Tasman Wheelers), L&M Group Ricoh’s Grayson Napier, Scott Thomas and former elite national champion James Williamson, Sam Lindsay (TotalPOS Cycling Team), Ben Johnstone (Benchmark Homes), Mitchell Podmore (Modus – Homestyle) and Breads of Europe All About Plumbing’s Jason Christie and New Zealand endurance track team member Dylan Kennett all capable of winning.
Series Under 23 leader Brad Evans (Team Calder Stewart Road) also won the National Club Under 23 title in Cambridge, and will have to hold off Johnstone, Podmore and Joshua Haggerty (H&J's Outdoor World Avanti+) to hold onto the leaders jersey.
Scotty Browns Racing will again field a strong looking team that features Commonwealth Games bound triathlete and elite national road racing championships bronze medallist Tom Davison, 16 year old Keagan Girdlestone, who has recently signed for Australian National Road Series Team CharterMason Racing after a number of strong results, Athens Olympian Robin Reid, defending elite series champion Sam Horgan and his Australian Budget Forklift’s trade team mate Micheal Vink.
Like McGregor, Scott Wilder (Dad’s Army) won at last week’s National Club Championships, winning the Masters One title in a sprint finish that also included Glenn Rewi (Armstrong Subaru), who won the masters race on this course last year. Wilder is a strong all round rider and should feature at the finish as he looks to consolidate his master’s 35 to 44 series leader’s jersey in the face of competition from Rewi, Ian Smallman (Team Thule Cycling), Armstrong Subaru’s Glenn Gould and Reon Park, Dean Fulton (Tasman Wheelers),Wayne Smythe (Sport Canterbury) and Velocity’s Ben Hillary and Mike Sleeman.
Proven sprinter and Masters 45 to 49 series leader Lee Johnstone (Warmup Cycling Team) will face some strong challenges on the hilly course from Paul Gough (Cycle World) and Team Thule’s Blair Stuthridge and Neil Sutherland, Steve Scott (High 5 CFO) and Chris Brooks (Kiwi Style Bikes Tours).
Andre Chappel (Thule) will find his 50 plus leaders jersey under threat from Cycle World’s Ray Dunstan and Jorg Engelbrecht (Team Thule Cycling). Other 50 plus riders capable of featuring include former Commonwealth Games silver medallist and Ironman World Championship world champion in the 45 to 49 year old age group, Greg Fraine (Dad's Army) and his team mates Jeremy Heathfield and Phil Scott, Graeme Nuttridge (Thule Black), who has qualified to represent New Zealand for the second time at the UCI Amateur Road World Championships (former UCI Masters Road World Championships), in Slovenia in August this year, Jeff Neumann (Armstrong Subaru), Brent Marryatt (Sport Canterbury Racing) and Ron Pithie (Velocity).
Women’s series leader Elyse Fraser (Benchmark Homes) faces some stiff competition from her own teammate Sharlotte Lucus, who won last month’s series round in Hokitika, the experienced Karen Fulton (Tasman Wheelers), Vidasana Thule’s Tracy Clark, Jeannie Blakemore, Jeanette Gerrie, newly crowned national under 19 club champion Holly Edmondston and New Zealand junior representative Maddi Campbell (H&J's Outdoor World Avanti+).
For the Parry Field Lawyers-Ocean Ridge Classic the elite men and masters will cover 133 kilometres while the women will race 99 kilometres.