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Australian National MTB Championships - CN
Mt Beauty, Australia, January 14-15, 2006
Race 8 - January 15: Open Women Short Track, 15 Mins + 3 Laps
Burston takes women's title West
By Mikkeli Godfree in Mt Beauty
Perth's Jill Burston surged ahead in the early laps of the newly designed course. The 25 year-old waited until the fourth lap to make the break from early leader Rosemary Barnes from Canberra. A strong effort by Niki Fisher put her into second place beating Mt Beauty's Tory Thomas by just one second. Thomas surprised many after her life-threatening injuries after being hit by a car in March this year.
Rosemary Barnes (Mal Adjusted) flew out of the blocks early putting incredible pressure on the women's field to follow. Slipping out to a handy lead, Barnes looked to be riding away to the win but an aggressive field behind ensured the leading rider was never out of striking distance.
In the early stages, the field sorted itself out with all aggression above the belt with some quick climbing and bold cornering passing moves - the course really showcasing the elite women's abilities. As the grimaces started to appear, the race took shape with Jill Burston leaping out of the chasers' pack to go with the leader Barnes as the stragglers tried to hook the bibs of their knicks over the seats of the leading pair.
As the laps ticked by, the early leader Barnes started to falter while Tory Thomas started to emerge from behind, putting the pressure on. Thomas' pressure disposed of most of the chasing pack, with Emma Colson (Giant - Top Bike - Geax) a notable victim of the furious attacks. Burston, meanwhile saw the run from behind made a move for the win, breaking from Barnes.
As the race entered the final three laps, Burston looked the goods and the real race looked to be behind as Thomas and Niki Fisher (Trek - Assos - Powerbar) caught Barnes with eyes greedy for the medals.
You could almost hear the legs screaming over the last few laps as the women made their way up to the finish straight, particularly when Thomas charged away from Fisher and Barnes with just over a lap to go.
However, a few second's lead was reduced to naught by the final corner as the more experienced Fisher clambered onto Thomas' wheel and blew by her in the final metres to take second whilst Barnes scraped home in fourth - spent from her early effort.
Burston was really pleased with her race, saying "I didn't expect to be able to get to the front so easily and to then hold it was really exciting…I was going well until the commentator said I heard the commentator say I was only half way through the race! But the crowd really helped me get through it. I didn't really know how big short track was until today!"
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mikkeli Godfree/Cyclingnews.com
1 Jill Burston (Rider's Choice) 20.14 2 Niki Fisher (Trek/Assos/Powerbar) 0.10 3 Tory Thomas (Scott Bikes/Netti Atom/Rockshox) 0.11 4 Rosemary Barnes (Mal Adjusted) 0.20 5 Imogen Smith (Iron Horse Bikes/Race Elements/Gap) 0.36 6 Naomi Williams (Felt/Hutchinson) 0.38 7 Niki Gudex (Scott/SRM/Oakley) 0.49 8 Emma Colson (Topbike Tours/Giant/Geax Tyres) 1.02 9 Nicole James 1.23