Hero photograph
 Cycling Road CSS Championships
Photo by Photolife


Erin Downie, Sami Donnelly —

2018 was a massive year for Burnside Cycling students with a larger team than the last few previous years.

Road Cycling - Erin Downie

The Burnside team had a strong number of riders out racing in Tai Tapu on Wednesday afternoons. The Burnside cycling team was made up of myself, Leon Thomas, Leonard Brockerhoff, Louis Burns, Aidan Carson, Dylan Day, Sami Donnelly, Theodoros Giannakogiorgos, Cameron Hewitt, James Jackson, Noah James, Thomas James, Josh Lamb, Luka Phillips and Albert Tang.

The team had consistent results in races and our new riders improved heaps by the end of the season. Thomas was an aggressive rider in his grade all season and a key rider in the Senior Team Time Trial where he helped to drag home the two trackies - myself and Dylan. We had a few rowers that showed their talent in road cycling as well and we hope they come back next year… and perhaps take up cycling full time! I was the lone Burnside rider racing at the South Island Schools Championships in Timaru this year. With the event being held in a new place this year it provided some new scenery other than the Mike Pero Motorsport Park where it had been held for many years prior. I managed bronze in the Individual Time Trial and gold in the Road Race on what was a true winter’s day.

Again this year I made the long trip up to Blenheim to compete in the Southern Schools Tour. Sami and I always look forward to this racing as the courses are short but tough and getting a result is very rewarding. Unfortunately, like many events this year, Sami was unable to compete in the tour as it was the week she arrived home from Junior Worlds in Switzerland and was taking some much needed time off the bike. I managed to come away with third in the National Schools Criterium Championships and second overall in the General Classification and second in the Sprint Jersey.

The last event on the schools’ cycling calendar was the Schools Nationals. For the first time ever it was held in Christchurch, giving Christchurch schools an easier opportunity to race. Sami was the lone rider for Burnside as I was away. Unfortunately she was involved in a crash on the road race resulting in her cracking her helmet and damaging her bike. She got off pretty lucky and was able to finish the race near the back of the bunch and she also raced the points race the next day. She gained points in the first sprint but a breakaway group stole the show after that. She rolled in 10th position.

Track Cycling - Sami Donnelly

Track Cycling also produced great results for Erin, Dylan and myself. The start of the year saw both of Erin and I compete at our Nationals for the 2018 season. The nationals were a first for me nearing the end of February, competing in the U19 and Elite track grades. I gained a gold in the Teams Pursuit and 4th in the Individual Pursuit and Omnium representing Canterbury. Erin competed in the Age Group Track Nationals coming home with a gold in the Team Sprint, a silver in both the Scratch and Points Race and a bronze in the Teams Pursuit as well as two fourths in the Individual Pursuit and Madison! Based on my results from the nationals, I was then selected to ride for New Zealand in the 2018 Junior World Championships in Switzerland, later in August. Erin was also selected to ride for New Zealand at the 2018 Oceania Champs in Adelaide in October. While the rest of the Burnside team kept chugging away at the 2018 schools racing each Wednesday, I enjoyed a 4 week break overseas! From the World Champs, I came home with a silver medal in the Teams Pursuit and I also came 9th in the Individual Pursuit and competed in the Madison. Erin competed at the Oceania Champs a few months later. She showed her strengths even with a few setbacks of not having her bikes arrive initially. One of the last schools’ cycling events of the year were the South Island Schools Track champs with Dylan and I representing the Burnside colours. With the cold weather, and low numbers in grades, some good racing was still produced over the two days. We both achieved some pleasing results and finished 3rd in the Under 20 age groups.

We must say goodbye to our lone Year 13 cyclist, Dylan Day, but I’m sure we’ll see him on both the track and road ripping it up sometime soon!