A first for women on the Madison track

Jennifer Abbot (pictured) and Danielle van Niekerk etched their name on the trophy of the inaugural Women’s class at the SA National Madison Championships, winning with 20 points at the Bellville Velodrome on Saturday 17 December 2016. Photo credit: Owen Lloyd

Jennifer Abbot (pictured) and Danielle van Niekerk etched their name on the trophy of the inaugural Women’s class at the SA National Madison Championships, winning with 20 points at the Bellville Velodrome on Saturday 17 December 2016. Photo credit: Owen Lloyd

Bernard Esterhuizen and Evan Carstens (pictured front), racing on their home track, were exceptional on the day and in a class of their own, claiming the Open victory SA National Madison Championships at the Bellville Velodrome on Saturday 17 December 2016. Photo credit: Owen Lloyd

Bernard Esterhuizen and Evan Carstens (pictured front), racing on their home track, were exceptional on the day and in a class of their own, claiming the Open victory SA National Madison Championships at the Bellville Velodrome on Saturday 17 December 2016. Photo credit: Owen Lloyd

Cycling South Africa’s Track Commission hosted the successful National Madison Championships at the Bellville Velodrome from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 December 2016. Celebrating a first for South African cycling, the Madison Championships were open to women for the first time after the UCI (International Cycling Union) hosted their very first Madison World Championship for junior women earlier this year.

“Some of our women riders had expressed an interest in the Madison event – a discipline of track cycling that has not been part of their programme in the past,” said Cycling SA’s Interim Track Commission Director, Martin van Wyk.

“For that reason they had never had a need to train for it before. About a month and a half ago, we hosted a clinic to train riders who were interested in competing in the Madison event and of the 26 riders who participated, it was encouraging to see that eight were women.”

According to Van Wyk, there is nothing quite like the experience of a Madison. “You get flung into the race at 50 kilometres per hour and race your heart out for a lap-and-a-half and then hand it over to your teammate,” he said. The process then continues. “The women raced exceptionally well in their first ever event, and the racing went well without any incident.”

There were quite a few familiar faces that were not able to attend the championships due to previous commitments, but that did not deter the frenetic action which made for a good long weekend of racing. An interprovincial and some other track cycling races kept the riders busy throughout the weekend.

Jennifer Abbot and Danielle van Niekerk etched their name on the trophy of the inaugural Women’s Madison event, winning with 20 points over the second placed team of Elfriede Wolfaardt and Debbie Loffel-Dawson. Claudia Gnudi and Victoria Myburgh finished third.

Bernard Esterhuizen and Evan Carstens, racing on their home track, were exceptional on the day and in a class of their own, claiming the Open victory. Junior rider Joshua van Wyk and Steven van Heerden did a sterling job to maintain the pace and finish in second place, while local Paarl riders Emile Jacobs and Reginald Benjamin kept the Western Cape at the helm of the competitions when they finished in third place.

In the Veterans class, local riders Chrispin Fourie and Robin Harris won with 43 points, while Martin van Wyk and Moses Venceslau claimed second place and Colin Parsons and Kurt Begemann third.

The Interprovincial competition saw great rivalry between the provinces, with Gauteng taking the spoils in the Veteran’s class – the third year that the province has done so. The Western Cape sizzled, taking the Elite and Women’s trophies. Well done to Hylton Belitzky for all the hard work being done in KwaZulu-Natal development of track cycling – Belitzky rounded up a team of 20 riders for the Interprovincial event.

Summary of results – SA National Madison Championships – Bellville Velodrome

Open

  1. Bernard Esterhuizen and Evan Carstens – 123 points
  2. Joshua van Wyk and Steven van Heerden – 96
  3. Emile Jacobs and Reginald Benjamin – 2
  4. Daniyal Matthews and Patrick Belton – -24 

Women

  1. Jennifer Abbot and Danielle van Niekerk – 20 points
  2. Elfriede Wolfaardt and Debbie Loffel-Dawson – 17
  3. Claudia Gnudi and Victoria Myburgh – 13

Veterans

  1. Chrispin Fourie and Robin Harris – 43 points
  2. Martin van Wyk and Moses Venceslau – 27
  3. Colin Parsons and Kurt Begemann – 16
  4. William James and Robbie Martin – 12