The bunch approaches Alfredton in race 4 of the 2020 series. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Cycling promoter Jorge Sandoval is a relieved man now that the wheels are in motion for the first race in the popular Trust House North Island Team Series tomorrow.
The team road cycling series is raced throughout Wairarapa over five separate weekends, and Sandoval had been keeping an extra close eye on the covid-19 alert levels and the implications they posed for events.
“This year things are still very challenging with covid-19; however, it was great to see the region move into alert level 2, which has given me the confidence to continue with planning because I know there is a strong desire from our riders to return to racing,” Sandoval said.
“I always look forward to staging the Trust House North Island Team Series because it’s a great event for cyclists to kick-start their season.”
Since Sandoval announced the series would run under level 2, he has been inundated with entries, and 22 teams with riders from Manawatu, Wellington and Wairarapa have entered the
four race categories.
For the second year in the series’ history, riders will race in grade categories rather than age groups. A women’s grade will also be run because of growing demand from female riders.
“Over the last few years, I’ve listened to feedback from riders who have taken part and last year revamped the series, so riders are grouped in their ability category, as opposed to their age.
“This worked really well, and I will be doing the same this year so riders will now race against riders of the same ability.”
Three Wairarapa teams will contest the series – the Couplands-Booth’s Group team and two sponsored by Tararua Builders, and Sandoval expected a good showing from the teams, who have been training hard over recent weeks.
A Tararua Builders’ team won the category four championship in last year’s series.
Sandoval said a lot of planning has gone into ensuring that the series is run under the level 2 guidelines.
These measures include all riders and officials needing to sign in for contact tracing purposes and adhere to good hygiene practices, including mask-wearing while not racing, and staying home if they are sick.
Non-essential supporters and other spectators are also asked to stay at home.
Each grade will also be raced separately with separate facilities, and at the conclusion of the race, riders will need to return home and forgo any prize-giving.
Sandoval said he will consider holding a prize-giving if, at the conclusion of the five-race series, the region is in alert level 1.
Tomorrow’s first race will start and finish at Alfredton School. Teams competing in categories three and four will complete 65km and those in categories one and two will race over 102km.
The next races will be held three weeks apart, with the final race on Sunday December 5.