December 20 – Michael Gallagher has continued his remarkable form in the C5 pursuit to take his seventh straight title at the 2014 Australian Para-cycling Track National Championships in Melbourne.
As temperatures dropped from the soaring heat of the opening day, reigning world and Paralympic champion Gallagher clocked a time of 4mins 35.533secs in the pursuit event to continue his dominance, following his world record time of 4:30.012 at the London 2012 Games.
“The National Championships never get old, it’s a good time to test where your form is at,” he said.
“I feel like my form is really good as in the last month I’ve ridden three of my four fastest times ever.
“Also, racing in the rainbow jersey was good fun, we don’t often get a chance to wear it, national champs is probably the only time we can.”
The women’s C4 pursuit final saw an epic showdown between reigning Paralympic and national champion Susan Powell and reigning world champion Alex Green.
Green was beaten by Powell – who finished in a world record time of 4:03.306 - at London 2012, but she looked to set the record straight in Melbourne as she took a two second lead with just one kilometre to go.
However, Powell fought back to edge past her compatriot and claim her fifth gold in a row in the event, with a time of 4:06.913.
“[In the final] it was about keeping steady, I was up and then down and I didn’t know if I was going to pull it off,” Powell said.
“I was still down with three laps to go and then once I got on top of the gear it felt great.
“I thought I might have had a faster time in me but I’m satisfied, I thought if I can go under 4.08 I’d be happy with that.”
Simone Kennedy picked up where she left off on day one of the competition, this time in the C3 women’s pursuit, where she claimed gold and set an Australian record of 4:21.259 to break her own record set in her silver medal winning performance at 2012 London.
Simone Kennedy claimed gold and an Australian record in the C3 women’s pursuit at the Australian Para-cycling Championships ©AFP/Getty Images
Reigning C3 time trial world champion David Nicholas also added to his gold medal tally by winning the pursuit in 3:43.570.
In the men’s C4 pursuit final gold went to Loz Shaw, who finished in 5:05.116, while in the C2 pursuit final Andrew Falconer took the title in 4:28.902.
The men’s 4km tandem final, Matt Formston and pilot Michael Curran crossed the line in 4:26.479 to take gold ahead of Zachariah Clarkson and pilot Peter Spencer, who finished in 4:30.283.
“This is our fifth national title, we have four on the road and this is our first on the track,” Formston said.
“It’s really good; we can pretty much wear the green and gold stripes at every event in Australia except for the sprint and the kilo.”