WHITE Hills cyclist Imogen Jelbart has made a seamless transition from junior to senior racing by claiming a gold and a silver medal at her debut Victorian Senior Track Championships.
The 18-year-old built on her impressive junior career by winning gold in the 80-lap point score at the Darebin International Sports Centre in Melbourne.
Jelbart won the first sprint before positioning herself well for the other sprints every 10 laps to take the title.
“I didn’t know how I would go in the points race,” Jelbart said yesterday at the Tom Flood Sports Centre track in Bendigo.
“I was happy to come away with that on the form I had which hasn’t been great, it’s been a bit of a tough season not knowing where I am against the elite competition,” Jelbart said.
The 3000m pursuit was Jelbart’s first over that distance, stepping-up from the 2000m races in juniors to take silver.
“The pursuit was really hard, even though it’s only four laps, those four laps really do hurt,” she said.
It’s been a busy few months for Jelbart, who relocated to Wollongong in September to be with her boyfriend.
Last weekend she was one of 10 riders to compete in the first women’s Madison held in Australia at DISC.
“It was a bit of history-making and I raced it with another Victorian, Laine Hammond from Melbourne.
“It was really fun, I really enjoyed it and I look forward to more of those races for women, we just need more sponsors,” Jelbart said.
“When sponsors come on board that’s when we get bigger fields.”
Jelbart is training under the watchful eye of her father, Tony, while she’s back in Bendigo ahead of the Christmas carnivals in Bendigo, Horsham, Shepparton and Wangaratta from December 27 to 30.
“I’ve done a lot of road in New South Wales. I didn’t know if the road was helping my sprint, my sprint dropped off a lot,” she said.
“I’ve been working with dad up here behind the motorpacing and my sprint’s starting to come back just in time for Christmas carnivals.
“I’ve gone through a lot of coaches and he’s probably the one that knows what he’s doing the most.
“I trust him and believe what he says, he’s probably the reason why I’ve achieved so much.”
Imogan Jelbart will race an omnium, bunch races and handicaps over the four days of the carnivals, which start at Horsham next Thursday.
The Bendigo leg of the Christmas carnival series will be on Friday, December 28.
Racing at the Tom Flood Sports Centre in Barnard Street will start at 2pm when the juniors compete. The seniors program starts at 6pm.
Highlights of the night’s racing include the Lindsay Harrington Memorial Wheelrace (2000m), the Victorian 10-mile motor pace championship, the Victorian under-17 points score championship, and women’s wheelrace.