Troy Brosnan (SA) and Sarah Booth (NSW) had wins in the Elite categories of Down Hill racing to wrap up the second round of the Subaru National Mountain Bike Series.
With an extreme weather warning in place for the final day, racing was run to a fast-paced schedule to ensure the event was completed prior to a predicted weather change that was likely to bring up to 100km/hr winds to the Mt Buller region.
Down Hill racing involves riders completing two runs of a technically demanding course – a timed seeding run followed by a race run to decide the winner
For the Elite Men, Connor Fearon (SA) has been the form rider of the season, winning the first round in Adelaide and setting the fastest time in seeding (3:18.56).
Local Dean Lucas has been a rising star over recent years, and had a great race run (3:20.58) to be the quickest rider late in racing and sit in the Subaru Hotseat. He would ultimately finish second, and said “It feels pretty good, I didn’t really expect to do this well, I’m really happy to be right up there with these guys (Brosnan and Fearon)”.
Today, like many others both nationally and internationally, would be Brosnan’s day. The former dual junior world champion was second-last down the mountain, and knew he’d had a great run (3:18.55) when he saw his time was in line with Fearon’s seeding time.
Brosnan then had the nervous wait at the finish watching the clock. Unfortunately it turned out a late-arriving Fearon had suffered a flat front tyre early in his run to take him out of the running, handing Brosnan the win.
Brosnan was disappointed for good friend and competitor Fearon but still a deserving victor. He said of his own race run “It was really dry and I just tried to push it and I had a decent run and got the win, so I’m pretty stoked”.
He now holds the Subaru Series leader’s jersey. Like many riders and spectators, he is looking forward to the battle with Fearon in Thredbo in two week’s time at the final round of the Subaru National Season. “We’ve got one more race to decide and fight it out”. Joshua Button (NSW) took third.
In the Elite Women’s race Carrie McLachlan, the New Zealand rider, set the early running with a fast time (4:30.35) that would see her finish third. Second-last down the hill was Michelle Crisp, and she set the time to beat (4:27.38) which was ultimately good enough for second place in a quality field.
Ultimately Sarah Booth, the experienced campaigner would take the win, coming down in a time 4.57 seconds faster than any other Elite rider (4:22.81).
Booth said “It’s awesome, I’ve been racing here for many years and to finally come away with number one – it’s been hard work but rewarding”. Booth holds the Subaru Series leader’s jersey with one round to go.
In the Under 19 men, Ben Hill (TAS) had a great run to finish almost a second clear of the field. Hill’s win was his first at the National Under 19 level “I’m excited to win my first national race, my run was pretty good, especially given it was hard with the wind off the start gate and the rocky sections”.
Aiden Varley (VIC) took second in the Under 19s and Max Warshawsky (QLD) finished third.
For the Under 19 women, Tegan Molloy (NSW) had an outstanding day setting a time (4:08.19) that would be the fastest of any female rider by over 14 seconds. Molloy who clearly has an outstanding future in the sport, said “I had a good run, a bit loose through the middle section but I got it together towards the bottom. It feels pretty good to win”. Ellie Wale (VIC) took second place.
The final round of the series is split across two venues from 21-23 February. Cross country racing will take place at Moama in NSW and DownHill action will be at Thredbo.
All information for riders and spectators can be found at http://mtb.subaru.com.au/national-series/