Rising Australian cycling star Jack Edwards will headline a strong field at this weekend’s Illawarra Track Open.
The 17-year-old has won a number of honours this year, including the NSW Institute of Sport’s Young Athlete of the Year, Cycling Australia’s Young Rider of the Year and the NSW Sports Federation’s Junior Sportsperson of the Year.
Illawarra Cycle Club (ICC) secretary Karen Thornton is thrilled to have Edwards competing the same weekend the club hosts the NSW Country Championships at Unanderra.
‘‘He won two gold medals at the World Junior Track Championships this year and he’s got a huge future,’’ Thornton said.
The women’s field will be headed by 16-year-old rising star Josie Talbot, from Figtree.
Talbot is the current under-19s national omnium champion and Oceania road championship titleholder.
Edwards and Talbot will be favourites in the respective men’s and women’s blue-ribbon wheel races, where $2000 prize money will be on offer.
The ICC’s stacked masters divisions are expected to be among the medals in both the Track Open and Country Championships events.
The likes of Scott Butler, Danny Hennessy, Mark Jewell and Brad Martin are expected to feature among the men, while Marion Renshaw, the mother of Australian cycling superstar Mark Renshaw, will be the rider to beat among the women.
Renshaw can expect some competition from Renae Covington, a bronze medallist at the world championships.
The event will also feature the cycling debut of Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery, who will match race the ICC’s youngest star, Gabbi Thornton, and the club’s most experienced rider, 74-year-old Les Hewitt, in a celebrity race on Saturday evening.