Connor Fearon (SA) and Danielle Beecroft (NSW) rode strong races on the technical Adelaide course to run away with the first DownHill elite wins of the season.
Fearon seeded fastest on Saturday and followed up with his first Elite win, on his birthday no less, since moving up to the Elite category in 2013, all while racing against a world-class field.
Racing took place on the downhill course at Eagle Mountain Bike Park in the hills of Adelaide, a venue that hosted the 2010-12 Australian Championships.
Early running saw both local Will Rischbeith (SA) and Joshua Button (NSW) spend time in the Subaru hot seat as the fastest rider, with Button’s time of 2:04.03 holding up for third place overall.
The Elite Men’s race, however, was always likely to feature both of the Adelaide prodigies Troy Brosnan (SA) and Connor Fearon. In the words of Brosnan, the pair have featured on podiums together “almost too many” times.
Brosnan, the 2010-11 Junior World Champion, has had an amazing year finishing in the top 10 of the UCI World Cup Season. He seeded second on Saturday, and was the second-last rider down his home track in Adelaide in the final.
With a clean run, managing to go 1.07 seconds faster than his seeding run on the Saturday, he found himself the fastest rider in a time of 2:02.33 with only Fearon left on track. This time would ultimately secure second place, and Brosnan said “I’ve had a pretty good off-season training, trying to improve and second place here at home behind Connor is pretty good”.
Brosnan spoke with confidence about his and Fearon’s place in the Australian downhill landscape in 2013. “Connor’s riding really fast at the moment and it’s hard – it’s likely to be between us two for the season”.
Fearon knew since yesterday that he would be the last rider down the hill for the event, and as he came out of the rock garden the screams from the crowd let him know that he was in with a chance.
Keeping the final switchbacks low and smooth, he finished in a time of 2:00.89, 1.44 seconds clear of Brosnan and the field.
“It feels awesome to win, I raced all of last year in Elite and didn’t get a win, so I was super hungry, on my birthday, and it’s my home town as well”.
He spoke about the tough conditions. “It was a bit faster today but a few corners were sandy so I had to be cautious”.
He plans to contest the whole World Cup season this year. “I’ve been training really hard, both for the World Cups and the National season to be a bit fitter.
In the Elite Women’s race, a dominant performance by Danielle Beecroft saw her win her first national race at the elite level.
“I couldn’t be more excited – it’s a great way to start the year and hopefully I can keep it going”, said Beecroft.
Beecroft raced conservatively, today racing without jumping due to a small injury on Saturday. “I took it a bit easy today, kept it rubber side down and got down the track”.
In Under 19s Men’s racing, Andrew Crimmins (NSW) won in a time of 2:04.15, amazing still managing to win after a drivetrain malfunction in the final section of the track leaving him unable to pedal. Max Warshawsky (QLD) placed second, and Ben Hill (TAS) finished third.
In the Under 19s Women’s, rising junior Tegan Molloy (NSW) won in a time (2:25.79) that would see her claim the fastest female time of the day. Second place went to Ellie Wale (VIC).
Round 2 of the Subaru Australian Mountain Bike season will take place at Mt Buller, Victoria from 7-9 February and categories exist for riders of all levels to join in the national season action.