After a long but gripping week of tough racing, the SA National Track Omnium Championships tested the legs of those still standing at the Bellville Velodrome in the Western Cape on Saturday 9 April. The “Jack Russel of the Track” David Maree rode an impressive four rides to come out on top with the points to seal the Omnium title. Nolan Hoffman fought hard to an impressive second and Gert Fouche finished in third.
The Omnium discipline of Track cycling is typically made up of six events and held over two days, but the Track Commission held four events today for the Omnium National Title.
Maree won the first and second Elite Men’s Omnium events of the day – the Scratch and Tempo races, and found himself in second place in the Elimination event.
After falling out of contention for yesterday’s Elimination title, Maree said that today was a day for redemption. “Winning the Elimination for the last three years has been amazing. This is the shortest track we have in South Africa, all of my other wins have happened on bigger tracks, and it all makes a slight difference. I got caught on the inside when I was close to the front,” he added.
When chatting about the difficulty of an Elimination race, Maree said: “The thing is that it just takes one guy to kick from the back and they bring all the guys across and over you and you have nowhere to go. Yesterday’s race was extremely easy for me and I never had to do any work, but I just got caught out. You can have perfect conditions and even be the strongest guy in the race, but if you get caught out, you get caught out.”
Maree was last year’s Omnium silver medallist. “I was hoping that with one event left I could walk away with the gold,” he said. And that he did. “I made a few jokes with Nolan in the weeks leading up to this event. I told that the Omnium has changed and I was going to give him a good run for his money.”
In the Elite Women’s event, Bernette Beyers took the top points once again after delivering impressive performances throughout the week. “I had no expectations going into today’s champs, with this being my first Omnium.
Beyers felt that the old Omnium format (six events over two days) would have suited her better as it combined sprint and endurance events. “I tested my body to the limit this past week and learned a lot about myself. Today was yet another great day for me and legs felt strong in the first race,” she added.
“My lack of endurance fitness caught on me on the second race of the day, I manage to pull myself together and tell myself that it's the last day of South African Track National Championships and that I needed to give more than my everything. And I did.
“Pulling the bunch apart in the Points race, I managed to attack with 20 laps to go and lapped the bunch. I gained 20 points and that put me in a good lead to rest behind the bunch before I made my next move,” she concluded.
Junior Men’s Omnium Champion, Rickardo Broxham, didn’t think he’d have the legs for it after a heavy week of racing, but surprised himself when he dominated and received full marks, event after event.
“I did the Madison last night with the Elites and I really thought that my legs were going to be tired today,” he said.
Broxham took the win in the first and second event – the Scratch and Tempo – and said: “I won my first Scratch race this morning with a lucky attack. And for my Tempo race, I think it was also just luck getting into the breakaway.”
Broxham continued on his winning streak to then take the Elimination as well as Points race titles. “Everyone was a little bit tired after the long week I think,” he added.
Having only been racing on the track racing for just over a year, Broxham has been bitten by the track bug already. “I did the Mpumalanga Tour earlier this year and I think I prefer that to short, hard, fast track races, but I can’t seem to get away from the track. I love track and road cycling, and I still can’t decide which I like more,” he said.
The 2017 South African National Track Championships culminated on Saturday with the Omnium National Champs. For more information and results or for any updates, please visit https://www.cyclingsa.com/2017-sa-track-champs/.
Summary of Results – Day 6 Saturday 8 April 2017