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Oceania Mountain Bike Championships & Australian Open - CC

Thredbo, NSW, Australia, March 23-25, 2007

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Race 1 - March 23: Elite Mountain Cross

The racing was extremely close
Photo ©: Evan Jeffery
(Click for larger image)

The first official event in the UCI Oceania Mountain Bike Championships kicked off in Thredbo today with the men's and women's Mountain Cross finals.

The final four in the women's race was a trans-Tasman affair with two Aussies and two Kiwis in the starting gates. Australia's National Mountain Cross champion Caroline Buchanan took the lead early and was a clear winner, but all the action took place in her wake. A collision between Sarsha Huntington and Scarlett Hagen on a double jump made way for earlier crash victim Jennifer Makgill to steal second place. Huntington reclaimed her bike to take third spot for the Aussies with the current Elite New Zealand Champion, Hagen in fourth.

Buchanan was oblivious to the mayhem. "I heard lots of people coming down. I didn't know who was up and who was down so I just kept riding."

Bryn Atkinson ripping it up
Photo ©: Evan Jeffery
(Click for larger image)

The 16-year-old Buchanan was a little concerned about competing against overseas riders, "I was worried about the Kiwis. I've never raced them before," she admitted. Even though the Kiwi riders moved into second place, it was the Brisbane rider, Sarsha Hungtington, who concerned Buchanan the most.

New Zealand's Jennifer Makgill was elated to win on her downhill bike. When asked about the crashes, Makgill took it in her stride. "It's four cross, luck was on my side today," she said.

The elite men's final was a full New South Wales line-up with Alex Lloyd, Luke Strom, Bryn Aitkinson, and Terry Scarr all chasing a first place finish. The two favourite New Zealand riders Cameron Cole and Wyn Masters were eliminated in the quarter final leaving it to the Aussies to battle it out for podium honours. Lloyd and Scarr were side-by-side from the start, until Scarr pulled his foot allowing Lloyd to go on and win. Hot favourite Luke Strom couldn't regain any ground on Lloyd and finished in second place.

The medical crew using some gaffer tape
Photo ©: Evan Jeffery
(Click for larger image)

"I felt pretty confident. I've been training fairly hard this week. I knew Terry was the one to watch out for," said Lloyd.

Second-placed Luke Strom's race did not go according to plan. "I had a bad start. The other guys had a bit of a lead over me. .I was trying to chase down Alex to try and make a move and get in front. He was too far ahead I couldn't make the distance," admitted Strom.

Strom said he was concerned about the presence of New Zealand rider Cameron Cole. "Cameron's a junior world champion, fast downhiller, and an ex- BMXer rider, and a really fast four cross rider," said Strom. 'I think Cameron was pretty unlucky being so close to Bryn on the finish line. It was unlucky for him to go out in the quarters."


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Evan Jeffery/www.evanjeffery.com.au


Elite Men

1 Alex Lloyd (Aus)            70 pts
2 Luke Strom (Aus)            44
3 Bryn Aitkenson (Aus)        32
4 Terry Scarr (Aus)           76
5 Jared Rando (Aus)           40
6 Shane Wode (Aus)            32
7 Ricky Boyer (Aus)           34
8 Timothy Eaton (Aus)         58
9 Randal Huntington (Aus)     76
10 Cameron Cole (NZl)         52
11 Wyn Masters (NZl)          52
12 Tim Dunn                   34
13 Mitchell Scarr             84
14 Adam Nicholson             76
15 Shannon Rademaker          40
16 Adam Dossetor              38
 Thomas Rose              
 Ricky Lee                
 Richard Levison          
 Nathan Rennie  

Elite Women

1 Caroline Buchanan (Aus)    102 pts
2 Jennifer Makgill (NZl)      18
3 Sarsha Huntington (Aus)     34
4 Scarlett Hagen (NZl)        26