Downhill super couple Chris Kovarik (AUS) and Claire Buchar (CAN) have claimed victory in the Subaru Oceania downhill championships in Glenorchy, Tasmania on Sunday.
Kovarik’s victory (3:08.65) over Troy Brosnan (3:11.12) and Jack Moir (3:11.66) earned the 35 year old his first Oceania title while his partner Buchar (3:55.05) won the race but missed out on the title due to her Canadian citizenship.
“It still means a lot,” Kovarik said. “I’m 35 and some of these guys are almost half my age so to still be up there with the young fellas and still get good times is a good thing for me personally.”
Kovarik (Kovarik Racing), a four time Australian champion, was ecstatic after improving on his seeding run by over 4 and a half seconds.
“I was a little bit nervous at the top, it was cold up there so I was trying to keep the muscles warm but once I got into the start gate I was in race mode,” Kovarik said.
“I stalled once or twice but I was a little bit more cautious in some of the sections which were blown out but I can’t complain, that was an awesome run,” the Queenslander explained.
Silver medallist South Australia’s Brosnan (Monster Energy/Specialized) said he was happy with his run.
“I went really smooth up the top and just let it go at the bottom,” Brosnan described. “I did pretty well and improved on Chris’ first place time from seeding – he just turned it up today so it’s pretty good for him.
“I’ve got a little bit more work to do before the World Cups in June,” the former junior world champion said.
Having suffered a mechanical during seeding, Brosnan was in the Subaru hot seat for the majority of the race before Kovarik crossed the line as the final rider to take on the challenging Glenorchy track.
“It was pretty weird starting almost first and coming down and sitting in the hot seat for a while but hopefully I won’t be having too many more of those situations,” Brosnan remarked.
For 19 year old Moir (Yeti – Foxshox Racing), the podium result was a career highlight.
“I had a really clean and smooth run and got a break in the wind at the bottom so it was really good,” Moir said. “This is one of my better results – racing in the elite category against some pretty top riders so I’m really happy with that.”
Buchar (Kovarik Racing) was the sole competitor in the elite women’s race, resulting in the downhill Oceania title to go begging for 2013.
“It was pretty disappointing to not have any competition – but that isn’t the only reason we race,” Buchar said. “I knew I didn’t have to push myself too hard and with my hand injury so I just made sure I stayed on my bike,” Buchar commented on her broken hand she sustained in February at the Australian Championships.
In the under 19’s events, Thomas Crimmins (NSW) and Danielle Beecroft (NSW) became Oceania Champions for the first time.
Crimmins (Giant Bicycles) won the title in a time of 3 minutes and 15.92 seconds, 1.75 seconds in front of Luke Ellison (Cycle Zone) with a time of 3 minutes 17.67 seconds over 5 seconds in front of Brent Smith (TWE Wheels/Endeavour Cycles) who crossed the line in 3 minutes 21.27 seconds.
“I really enjoyed it, it’s been a really fun season and I can’t wait to do more,” Crimmins said.
Beecroft’s (Pivot/Jetblack) win was a belated birthday present, the 18-year-old coming of age on Good Friday.
“It’s my first Oceania race so it was really good to come down to Tassie to compete,” Beecroft said.
“The track was really good, I had a really smooth run and stayed on my bike. This is my last race in under 19’s in Australia so it’s really good to get the title,” she said.