The Points and Keirin races dominated the track for the Elite and Junior Riders on the fifth day of the 2017 South African National Track Championships at the Bellville Velodrome in the Western Cape on Friday 7 April. Racing went on late into the night with the Open class Men and Women’s Madison races.
The much-hyped Elite Men's Elimination National Title went to Nolan Hoffman, claiming his second gold medal at the Championship so far. Hoffman beat Evan Carstens, who took second place and it was Graeme Ockhuis who grabbed the bronze medal. With names like Calvin Beneke and defending champion David Maree falling out of contention it was soon only left with five riders to go.
Ockhuis, Hoffman, Carstens, George Perrins and Reginald Benjamin all hoped to pull a rabbit out of the bag. With the pressure on and the laps almost done, Benjamin, Perrins and Ockhuis were eliminated, leaving the final sprint to Carstens and Hoffman. Again, Hoffman had the legs on the day and successfully added another gold medal to his tally after yesterday’s Scratch win. "The Elimination went pretty well. It was definitely one of the fastest eliminations we've done in a few years and I haven't won it for the past three, so it's really nice to have gotten the title again," said Hoffman.
Hoffman said that after Maree had been dropped, it was up to him to fill the shoes of his teammate. "I think it worked out pretty well for us," he added.
Hoffman then went on to take the Open Men's Madison win with Stevan van Heerden. He said: "I was pretty happy with how it planned out. The legs were spinning nicely yesterday, and taking three laps on the main bunch was pretty good. After when we took the first lap it was pretty straight forward. Steven was pretty strong and he wanted to go on the attack the whole time. I just followed. When he put the hammer down I could back him up and I think it was the perfect race."
This is the second time that Van Heerden and Hoffman have ridden together in the Madison. "This is two from two wins now, and I'm very happy with that," he added.
In the Elite Men’s Keirin Final, the race went right down to the wire and it was Jean Spies who pipped Jean Smith to the post in an electrifying sprint where the loud and cheering crowds suddenly fell silent as they watched. Spies said: I managed to win that pretty comfortably. There were some really strong riders in the heat but I managed to get the front wheel and hold it there.
"The final was rather intimidating for me because I drew number one, which meant that I needed to stay on the motorbike. As it pulled off I kept increasing the pace and kept looking over my shoulder. Jean Smith made a massive effort going down the home straight to get over me with two laps to go."
Spies found himself in a box with Smith and Graeme Ockhuis next to him. "Just going through the last corner I ran at Jean to just get over the line before him," he added.
He also added how happy he was to have both the African Championship as well as National title. "It's the icing on the cake, and a great way to give back to my sponsors," he said.
Jason Oosthuizen swept up two more gold medals of the competition when he won titles in both the Junior Men’s Elimination and Keirin events.
Bernette Beyers continued her winning streak of the week when she secured the gold medal in the Elite Women’s 1500 Keirin. Jennifer Abbott and Victoria Myburgh rounded out the podium, taking the silver and bronze medal places respectively.
Ashleigh Parsons rode a bold race in the Junior Women’s 1500m Keirin, securing a gold medal.
The U17 Boys 1500m saw Mirsab Jordan take the sprint to beat Matthew Fortuin. Fortuin had success in the 20-kilometre Points event when his tactical approach netted the most points (33) ahead of second placed Stefan Marais, on 28.
Kelsey van Schoor lapped her competitors and friends Imaan Phillips and Mischka Strydom in the U17 Girls Points race to take the most points and first place position in the race.
The 2017 South African National Track Championships finishes on Saturday, with the final day racing for the Omnium National Titles. For more information and results or for any updates, please visit https://www.cyclingsa.com/2017-sa-track-champs/.
Summary of Results – Day 5 Friday 7 April 2017
Elite Men Elimination
Elite Men 1500m Keirin
Elite Women 1500 Keirin
1.Bernette Beyers 13.97
Junior Men Elimination
Junior Men 1500m Keirin
1.Jason Oosthuizen 12.65
Junior Women 1500m Keirin
1.Ashleigh Parsons 13.77
U17 Boys Points Race 20km
1.Matthew Fortuin 33
2.Stefan Marais 28
3.Dian Janjetich 13
U17 Boys 1500m
1.Mirsab Jordan 2:05.11
U17 Girls Points Race
1.Kelsey van Schoor 65
2.Imaan Phillipps 15
3.Mischka Strydom 10
Open Men’s Madison
1. Nolan Hoffman/Steven van Heerden 48.04.11
2. Evan Carstens/Theuns van der Bank
3. Martin van Wyk/Joshua van Wyk
Open Women’s Madison
1. Jennifer Abbott/Danielle van Niekerk 21.22.92
2. Claudia Gnudi/Victoria Myburgh
3. Ashleigh Parsons/Courtney Smith