Pepperell Pinches Wellington's Speed League Women's Title

Postby Melissa_Theuriau on Thu 30th Mar 11:07am

Ele Pepperell scored a remarkable upset at the final round of the Burkes Cycles Speed League, held at the Wellington Velodrome on March 26, to win the women's overall title by a single point over of Grace Saywell.

A previous three-time Speed League winner, Pepperell (Kandallah) has been consistently gathering points throughout the season but accelerated in the past couple of rounds and Sunday's 11-point haul was enough to edge into the lead at the last gasp. Pepperell won the B grade Sprinters' Scratch ahead of Saywell and took fourth place in the Snowball Race. Saywell (Kapiti) fought back, helping her team to second in the closing A+B Team Scratch, but it wasn't enough and Pepperell adds a fourth winner's jersey to her collection.

Top of the table for virtually the whole season was Lisa Hunkin (Lower Hutt), who crashed at the Laykold Cup Carnival in February and has been unable to compete since. Hunkin ended up third overall but won her second consecutive The Lanes Sprint Ace title, maintaining a clean record of winning every Sprint Ace ride-off she competed in during the season.

Gideon Burke (Brooklyn) won the men's Sprint Ace with a slender margin over Bruce Cook (Upper Hutt) in second. Burke, who recently won the M1 category Kilometre Time Trial at the National Track Championships has improved steadily over the season and his fierce kick in the Sprinters' Scratch races helped him qualify for five Sprint Ace ride-offs of which he won three.

Winner of the men's Coffee Supreme overall title for a fourth time was Nick Warren (Tawa), with Mike Thomas in second and Grant Perry third. "I'm really proud to have won Speed League this season after some brilliant racing," said Warren. "It's not been easy, the racing in A grade has been pure quality."

Louis Hodgkinson (Kandallah) took out the under 17 boys competition, vastly improving over the season to be a main player in the B grade events. He won round nine's Snowball Race and then sprinted to victory in the A+B Team Scratch to cap off a fine season.

The girls under 17 champion is Bridget Olphert with Amelia Taylor in second. Olphert performed brilliantly at the recent National Track Championships and has a bright future in the sport ahead of her.

In the under 15s, Josh Turnbull finished well ahead of his nearest rivals, Jackson Moyle and Thomas Joyce with a whopping 155 points. Turnbull has looked comfortable racing in the C grade, usually giving his much older rivals a run for their money. Zoe Perry follows up last season's under 13s title to become under 15 girls champion and with another year in that grade will be hard to beat in 2017-18.

One of the season's most thrilling battles was for the under 13 boys competition, with Koby Fulljames coming out on top just ahead of Elliot Robertson and Matthew McDermott after picking up 16 points during the final round to surge into the lead.

Alex Baguley was a worthy winner of the under 13 girls trophy, scoring 12 points during the final round for an almost 50 point margin ahead of runners up Mikayla Perry and Erin Anderson. Millie Donald battled Lucy Fulljames for the under 11 girls trophy throughout the season, eventually coming out on top with some gutsy riding in the D grade.

Rivet Racing are the Zeal Commercial Interiors team's prize winners thanks to Mike Thomas, and Grant and Zoe Perry, with Lone Rangers in second and THT third.

Speed League's sixth season will begin in November 2017.

Burkes Cycles Speed League 2016-17 overall winners:
Open and under 19 men: Nick Warren
Open and under 19 women: Ele Pepperell
Under 17 girls: Bridget Olphert
Under 17 boys: Louis Hodgkinson
Under 15 girls: Zoe Perry
Under 15 boys: Josh Turnbull
Under 13 girls: Alex Baguley
Under 13 boys: Koby Fulljames
Under 11 girls: Millie Donald

The Lanes Sprint Ace men: Gideon Burke; women: Lisa Hunkin
Zeal Commercial Interiors Team Prize: Rivet Racing

Summer Series R9 results.

Burkes Cycles Speed League tables on the Wellington Velodrome database.
PhotoMojo-SpeedLeague-Nick Warren.jpg
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