Manfeild Krystine’s golden edge?
FAST wheels and race circuits – there’s nothing new about that connection, right?
Actually, there can be. Manfeild race track has become the ultimate performance zone for a speed merchant who not only brings her own wheels, but also self-propels them to impressive pace.
Krystine Davies, a Wanganui speed skater whose status as one of the best in her sport is evidenced with a trove of medals and trophies, says time on the Feilding track is making positive impression on her preparation for the World Master Inline speed skating Marathon Championships in Aquila, Italy, next month.
Central to an arduous training schedule that is hoped to provide golden reward in her feature event, the marathon – a 42 kilometre endure – have been regular training sessions on the main 3km circuit.
She’s delighted to have access to the venue that plays host to the country’s fastest racing category, Toyota Racing Series, in the annual New Zealand Grand Prix every February.
As the name suggests, speed skating is far from slow and there’s only so much she can gain from racing on the country’s few skating ovals.
Training on public roads has brought obvious perils – and, once, a police reprimand – she would prefer to avoid and even the biggest supermarket carparks are too small.
While racing itself is on closed roads, patently training cannot be and those workouts can be fraught, she testifies.
“I’m clocking up to 53kmh here so, you know, not having to cope with traffic and so on is fantastic.”
Manfeild’s three long straights are perfect for honing the sprint technique that is vital for achieving the extra strength demanded to achieve breakaway from the marathon group.
With no worry about dodging cars, she can focus on a track work priority, keeping up with one – a pace vehicle driven by her partner and coach Gary Clark.
Krystine has been skating since childhood, but only went seriously into competition in 2001 and stepped up further when a world masters series enacted.
Her numerous achievements include holding national age group records for every Masters Ladies distance plus three NZ ladies records (all age groups).
The 2017 champs in Italy on May 28 will be her third, following events in France and China, both of which yielded silver medals. She feels quietly confident of reaching the podium’s top step this time.
“This has definitely enhanced my potential. It’s been brilliant to go somewhere where I can work on getting that top end speed.”
These are big events. Last year’s champs drew 800 skaters representing 60 countries and while New Zealand has 400 competitive skaters, internationally it is a stronger sport still, notably in China. Says Gary: “There are over 250,000 skaters in Nanjing alone”.
Top-level competition demands a special set of wheels. While similar in appearance to recreational in-line skates, Krystine’s are far more specialised and expensive, the boots being made in America from using moulds of her feet to ensure exact fit.
New Zealand will also be represented in Italy by Brett McCormack of Dunedin and Andy McDonnell of Palmerston North.
Says Gary: “Andy is a newcomer at this level and this will be his first World Championships, but has just won several Oceania titles. Brett, like Krystine, is a genuine medal chance. He was fifth last year and going faster now.”
Manfeild chief executive Julie Keane is delighted the venue might make a winning difference.
“Manfeild is well known as a speed mecca so it’s great that our circuit has also been a great training environment – we hope the time she has spent here will bring reward in Italy.”