AFTER blitzing his sprint rivals in the velodrome to win an Australian title, Cardiff Heights cyclist Kai Chapman is hitting the long road in search of more national glory in 2013.
The 13-year-old, who stands at 181 centimetres, went through undefeated in head-to-head battles to clinch the Australian under-15 track sprint championship at Adelaide in March.
The Lambton High School year 8 student was second in qualifying, clocking 12.356 seconds for the flying 200-metre lap, before beating Tom Galpin (Tasmania), Mitchell Wright (NSW) and Godfrey Slattery (Victoria) 2-0 each in the best-of-three races.
The Hunter District Cycling Club member took on Victorian Isaac Buckwell, who topped qualifying, in the decider and again won back-to-back contests in the three-lap tests of power and strategy. He also finished with bronze in the pursuit category.
Chapman had been quietly confident of winning his first Australian title after strong performances in the National Junior Track Series.
"I've been racing them all year around, so I knew I could do it because I've beaten them before," Chapman said.
He finished fourth overall on the sprint section of the five-leg series despite missing the Melbourne contest.
He won several events, including a sweep of the keirin division - a sprint race - at every round he attended.
But the young powerhouse's talents are not confined to the track. Chapman is preparing for the road racing season and won a stage of the 55-kilometre two-day Goulburn Junior Tour on May 25-26, finishing fourth overall.
He now wants to make the state road team for the national titles to be held in Wagga in September.
He will push his claim for a berth in the state team at the NSW road titles and time trial next month at Inverell as well as at two-day tour races at Canberra and Tamworth.
Although Chapman is in only his third year of competitive riding, his talent is no surprise. His father Craig Chapman represented Australia on the road at the 1990 Commonwealth Games, won a stage of the Commonwealth Bank Classic and finished ninth in the 1989 world road race championship in France.
Kai's grandfather Mick Chapman, who died in 2010, was a life member and president of the Hunter District club and a coach who guided Maitland's Olivia Gollan to the 2004 Olympics.
Craig Chapman and Hunter District coach Ross Hayter guide Kai, who hopes to one day compete at the Olympics.
But for now, he is focused on one race at a time.
"I just want to keep going like I have been," he said.