Shepparton cycling family star at recent national championships

By Aydin Payne

The trophy cabinet at the family home of Brad and Rhianon Norton is bursting at the seams after another successful outing for the star cycling duo.

Shepparton's two-wheel speedsters dominated last month's Masters Track Nationals, which were snuck in before the coronavirus crisis began to have sporting events cancelled.

Both Brad and Rhianon left Brisbane's Anna Meares Velodrome with four gold and one silver medal, with each producing some personal best times in showing excellent form.

Rhianon's haul included wins in the 2 km individual pursuit, 2 km team pursuit, 500 m time trial and individual sprint, as well as silver in the team sprint.

And Brad matched that tremendous output with gold in the 3 km individual pursuit, 1 km time trial, sprint and point score, also adding silver in the scratch race.

Standing out for Brad was a new Australian record in the time trial, beating the mark he posted at the Manchester-hosted World Championships last year, while he also set an Australian Championships record in the individual pursuit.

“The conditions were still really humid (for the time trial), so it was an excellent feat. I've got a ripper photo of him on the ground afterwards, he looked just destroyed,” Rhianon said of Brad's performance.

Rhianon's meet included multiple personal best times in the individual pursuit, as well as victory in the sprint despite never having ridden the event before.

“We went up and both competed on day one in the individual pursuit — I was the first rider up so there was definitely a bit of pressure,” she said.

“The conditions were really humid which makes times a bit slower, so given I was still able to do a personal best time, I was really happy with that.”

Summing up the terrific carnival, Rhianon hoped her's and Brad's epic preparations for October's World Championships would not be for nothing, with that event under threat of being another coronavirus cancellation.

“We've both, and Brad in particular, been in training for a long time for this,” she said.

“He's been focusing on the teams pursuit, and wearing the rainbow jersey as world champion, there was definitely a bit of pressure for him to perform there. We'd been aiming for the world titles in October, although we're not sure what will be happening there now.”