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Dawkins wants Six Day return after Commonwealth heroics

09 April 2018

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Eddie Dawkins has had a Commonwealth Games to remember – but the New Zealander is already dreaming of the next time he can grace the Six Day boards.

Dawkins has done the Land of the Long White Cloud proud by hoovering up a gold, silver and bronze during the 2018 Games on the Gold Coast.

He teamed up with countryman and fellow Six Day star Ethan Mitchell as part of the trio which won the team sprint title, while he set a then Games record en route to his silver in the 1km time trial – he was surpassed at the last by a storming run from Aussie Matt Glaetzer.

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Both of these followed a bronze in the keirin, taking his total Commonwealth haul through the years to seven.

And the 28-year-old revealed it was Six Day London 2017 sprinting success which proved to be a key moment in his preparations for the Commonwealths.

“Six Day London was the absolute pivotal moment in my career,” said the Kiwi. “To be honest, it’s a great way to hone your technical skills without putting out as much physical energy.

“It’s great for us in terms of racing and for us to get to know the other sprinters on a personal level as well. Normally we go into a race and it’s all butting heads and racing.

“But there it’s a bit of a party and there’s more conversation – making jokes back and forth and it’s cool to get to know them on a personal level.

“It’s crazy, but after six days of it, my brain is just fried from the lights and the sound. But I’m definitely coming back if they’ll let me!”

Dawkins was one of a plethora of Six Day riders who are celebrating tremendous Gold Coast success after track cycling finished Down Under.

Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald, both world and Olympic champions, claimed their maiden Commonwealth golds, Barker in the points race and Archibald in the individual pursuit.

Barker, who won the women’s omnium at the 2017 Six Day final in Mallorca, led a Six Day one-two-three in her race, with Archibald and Neah Evans claiming silver and bronze.

“I’d been getting a little twitchy sat in the hotel watching everyone racing, watching everyone getting records. It really spurred me on,” said Welsh racer Barker.

“I was questioning my decision to sit out of the other races but this is what I consider to be one of my best events so I thought, ‘why go and hope to do reasonably well in an event I’m not so good at when I can try and win my best event?’ Gladly it paid off.”

Six Day star Archibald stormed to success in a Games record time and, after declaring pre-competition that she was out in Australia to top podiums, she was glad she followed up those bold words with searing speed on the boards.

“I said I was here to win gold medals and I was worried people would remember that, but it’s not ended in embarrassment,” said Archibald.

“Setting the record, I knew I was on a good day, but I didn’t schedule for that at all. My splits were all over the place because I came out so fast.

“You can’t just put the brakes on, you have to control the decline and so I’m not entirely sure – I still died a death in the final – but I think that was slightly better paced.”

Mark Stewart, the 1878 Six Day London 2015 winner, also secured his first ever Commonwealth title with a memorable effort in the points race, England teenager Ethan Hayter finishing third.

And one thing Stewart will always remember is the national anthem of Scotland filling his ears as he watched the Saltire rise in triumph.

“I’m only 22 but I feel I’ve been at this for ages, I have a lot of good days and a lot of bad days but this is up there in the good ones.

“This is the first time I’ve been able to sing Flower of Scotland on the podium – that was a nice feeling.”

Evans also came second in the scratch race to add a silver to her points bronze, while Matt Rotherham claimed two gold medals, in the tandem sprint and 1km time trial, as pilot for visually impaired Scottish rider Neil Fachie.

Meanwhile, Chris Latham snared scratch bronze on his Commonwealth debut.

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