Gwynneth Rixon, from the Scottish town of Maybole, is looking forward to riding the Wanganui Velodrome in the New Zealand Masters Games track-cycling events because partner Victor Possee tells her it's very similar to her favourite United Kingdom track, Meadowbank in Edinburgh.
Possee is here for his sixth Wanganui Masters and the 73-year-old has a bucketload of medals from his previous visits. But Rixon is new to Wanganui and has an interesting history leading into a track competition boosted by several UK riders.
They must like this velodrome _ shame we didn't have a roof on it for them!
Rixon is back on the bike after 15 years as a track commissaire, and her history notes some international competition.
``I'm a fourth generation track rider. I started racing in the '60s and by the '70s was in the Welsh Track Team and British Women's Squad.
``I stopped track racing to raise the next generation of trackies (three boys and a girl) and to help CC Cardiff coach Alex Wharton work with riders (including Geraint Thomas) and get them to international events on Meadowbank velodrome,'' said Rixon.
But times and needs change.
``I'd been a track commissaire for 15 years and decided I'd like to have a go on the other side again after developing a relationship with a long-term friend and trackie, Vic Possee.
``We came down here for a real summer _ as you know Vic is a regular visitor to New Zealand and to the New Zealand Masters.''
The pair have been training at Te Awamutu.
``I'm enjoying riding tracks new to me. We are at present training at Te Awamutu and I'm pleasantly surprised as to how similar it is to Maindy Stadium in Cardiff . ``I understand that Wanganui track is like Meadowbank, my favourite UK venue, so I am looking forward to riding there.''
Possee tried out Wanganui a few years ago.
``I first came down with a camper and stayed at your lovely riverside campsite early in the 21st century. I rode at Wanganui and the next year I came back I trained at Wanganui and raced at Dunedin, my one and only time riding the games in the South.
``Wanganui is such a nice little city to come to to train and to compete. I have made many friends and the track is ideal for my preparation for the Worlds later in the year.''
Possee thanks the Trek crew.
``David and Robyn Collins, from Trek who have accommodated me and I have used his track bike for most of my competitions at Wanganui and the Masters Games. ``And Ron Cheatley the chief executive of Cyclesport Trek, for the use of his workshop and support, and Graham Cox, also of Trek, who has supported me with the use of his Cyclo-Cross machine to do all my long mileage.''
And he adds a few Wanganui Cycling Club helpers Adam, Tina, Stuart, and Lyall.
``They know who they are.
``This year I am targeting the Wellington-Auckland seven-day tour so basically track is taking second seat to my road racing endeavours for the early part of this year. That being said, with my new partner, Gwynneth, we will give it our best shots on Thursday's Track Carnival,'' said Possee.
Possee's 2012 results included: Scratch race 70plus UK National Champion and World's 4th place 70+ points race and 5th 70+ scratch race.
Now from the velodrome to the cricket field.
It just wouldn't be a Wanganui Masters Games without the Hunterville Hackers.
A collection of sportsmen from the district, the Hunterville Hackers cricket team has been competing in the Masters since 1997 _ this will be the ninth time.
The Hackers and the Marton Sapphire netballers really show the way for the district _ and between them Rangitikei (80 entries) and Ruapehu (20-odd) have cracked the century this time.
Mind you, Rangitikei had 137 in total last time, so there's a way to go _ and entries are still open.
The first Hunterville Hackers cricket team in 1997 was formed by current Rangitikei mayor, Chalky Leary, but now 16 years later there will be just a few originals strutting their stuff _ the ageing group of Geoff White, Richard Lambert, Bruce Callon, Bryan Wilson and Stephen Lewis.
``The Hackers resemble more of a broken down rugby team these days days with one of the originals (White _ 1 game 1975), being joined by former Wanganui rugby reps in Kellick Harding (27 games 1984-91), Mark Godfrey (2 games 1995-97), and Richie Nimmo (8 games 1995),'' Hunterville School principal Lewis says.
``A number of former Collegiate sixth X1 players (and that was just for their hostel team!) have been inducted over the years in an effort to involve some of the district's landed gentry, and so it will also be a homecoming of sorts for the likes of Lambert, Godfrey, Alex Dalgety, Hugh Lilburn and James Kilmister.'' Making up the remainder of this year's squad will be Paul Illston, Greg Maughan and James Linklater.-->