The 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Masters Championships will be taking place this year at the Manchester Velodrome, Great Britain, from 1-8 October. Track enthusiasts that will be going over to represent South Africa are looking forward to their trip next week, and hope to return with promising results. Some of these riders are first-timers to a World Championship, and some, such as World Champion Ilna Lemmer, return to battle it out with some of the best in the world once again.
Defending World Champion, Ilna Lemmer, is also hoping to better her bronze medal in the Pursuit in the 60+ category. “We did a lot of Points training at Pilditch. I am sure it will help me in the Points race. I am more of an endurance rider, and definitely not a sprinter. I can’t wait to get on that smooth, wind-less, wooden track.
Last year, Lemmer secured three medals (one gold in the Women’s Points Race 60+ category and two bronze medals in the 2000m Pursuit and Scratch races) and also broke two South African medals in her category in the 500m Time Trial and 2000m Pursuit.
Justin Seale and Gert Fouche will be first-timers to the competition in the 35+ age category. Both men will be taking part in the Time Trial, Pursuit, Points, and Scratch Races. “My goal is just to be as competitive as possible in my division and, should I be successful in winning a medal, that would be an added bonus considering it is to be my first World Track Championships,” said Seale.
Bradley Sean Smith also makes his debut appearance at the Championship in the same category, and will be riding the Pursuit, Scratch and Sprint events.
Hylton Belitzky will be competing in the Men’s 40-44 Category, and has entered the Time Trial, Sprint, Team Sprint and Scratch events. This will also be his first time at the World Championships.
Bernadine Minnaar is another first-timer, who will be tackling the Points, Pursuit, Scratch, Sprint and Time Trial Events in the Women’s 50-54 Category.
Mario Muller competed in the Sprint event in 1998 and came out seventh. He will be going back this year to battle it out in the Sprint, Time Trial, Team Sprint and Scratch event in the 50-54 age category.
George van Rooyen will be competing for his third time at the Track Cycling World Masters Championships, and will race this year in the Men’s 55 – 59 category. Van Rooyen takes part in the Scratch, Individual Pursuit and Points Race. Each year van Rooyen has improved on all of his times, and hopes again to do it in 2016. “Every World Championships is an experience, and very well organized,” he added.
Gerrit Schepers will not be competing this year, but competed in 1999, 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2015. Schepers has been consistent through his years competing, always finishing in a top eight position, and taking a win in the Sprint in 1999. He offered lessons learned in his experiences at Worlds: “The win in 1999 was as a result of God being part of it all. Team SA that year included the late Bart Nel, Wendell Bole and Grenville Scullard - the main contributors of the team.
“Go as a team, share knowledge and experience and it will lift every South African rider’s game automatically. Ride to win and not against the cyclist you know and see as your competition.”
Riders who confirmed they will be attending are:
Bradley Sean Smith
Riana Bernadine Minnaar
George Van Rooyen