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Oceania Mountain Bike Championships & Australian Open - CC
Thredbo, NSW, Australia, March 23-25, 2007
Race 9 - March 25: Elite Downhill Finals
Men's world champ continues reign
Current World Downhill Champion, Sam Hill did not disappoint fans when he blitzed down the course in Thredbo on Sunday. The 21 year-old Perth rider made up ground coming down in 6:14.39. Hill now lays claim to back-to-back Oceania Championships, after taking out last year's event in Rotorua.
Hill was relieved to take a win in Australia this season after a crash at the national championships one month earlier robbed him of that title.
World bronze medallist Nathan Rennie's time of 6.16.78 was respectable, however it only secured him second place. After winning the previous two national level races on the same course, Rennie knew that would not guarantee him a win.
"When you've got riders like Sam it's never going to be easy," he said.
Canberra's popular downhill rider Jared Rando recorded a 6.21.12 to make it into third place. As the time was well outside of his course record of 6.05:42, it proved that track conditions were affected by a full day of rain stopping some of the world's fastest riders from challenging the record.
Mt Beauty's Liam Panozzo had the fastest run of the day for much of the elite run allowing him a long stay in the 'hot seat' until Bryn Atkinson from the Blue Mountains knocked him out. National series winner Amiel Cavalier from Wollongong did not have enough speed to knock Atkinson out of fourth place. Cavalier and Panozzo finished in fifth and sixth respectively.
Kiwi takes women's title
Once again the New Zealand women dominated the Oceania MTB Championships and again proved too strong for their Aussie counterparts on Sunday. Auckland's Jennifer Makgill clocked an impressive 7.10.19 to claim her first Oceania title.
In her final run New Zealand National Downhill Champion Scarlett Hagen was ten seconds off the pace with a time of 7.20:45. Hagen temporarily moved into second place, until World Junior Downhill Champion Tracey Hannah set a 7.18:23 to split the Kiwis and take second place. Hannah's time was well outside of Makgill's, giving the Kiwi a second Oceania medal after winning silver in the Mountain Cross on Friday.
Fourth place was taken out by New Zealand's Amy Laird from Christchurch, which placed her in front of the Australian National Champion Joanne Fox, who took fourth. Canberra pair Cara Smith and Claire Whiteman finished in sixth and seventh respectively.
The cancellation of the downhill seeding run on Saturday due to weather conditions meant it was difficult for spectators to gauge which riders were expected to perform well. On Sunday the rain disappeared but cold conditions prevailed.
The chilly conditions were unfamiliar to the tropical North Queensland rider, Tracey Hannah. "No matter how much you warm up it doesn't make a difference," she joked. "My hands and feet are still frozen!"
Rischbietch takes clear victory in men's Under 19
In one of the closest finishes on record at Thredbo, the second and third Under 19 men's places were decided by officials, who had to go to thousandths of a second to separate the pair. A dominating performance by Will Rischbieth snatched him a clear win with a time of 6.32.43.
Officials then checked the timing clocks to decide between Queensland's James Maltman and New Zealand's Matthew Scoles for the order for the next two podium places. Seven thousandths of a second was the difference, giving Maltman second and Scoles third in a remarkably close finish for such a long course.
16 year-old claims women's Under 19 title
Canberra youngster Caroline Buchanan added another title to her belt by winning the Under 19 Downhill Oceania Championship. The 16 year-old also won the elite mountain cross title on Friday evening.
Buchanan did crash on the downhill course but managed a 7:55.79 in her first Oceania downhill event.
In the Australian Open Downhill event, run concurrently with the Oceania Championship, Slovakian rider Filip Polc elected to ride in expert men. Polc recorded the fourth fastest overall time of the day with a 6.23.14.
At presentations Polc graciously allowed Brisbane's Randall Huntington to take the title which won him accolades from fellow mountain bikers. The Slovakian was content to lay claim to fourth fastest as a comparison to some of the best downhillers in the world.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Evan Jeffery/www.evanjeffery.com.au
Elite Men 1 Sam Hill (Aus) Mad Catz Iron Horse 6.14 2 Nathan Rennie (Aus) Team Syndicate 0.02 3 Jared Rando (Aus) Giant 0.07 4 Bryn Atkinson (Aus) 0.09 5 Amiel Cavalier (Aus) GIANT Bicycles, Shimano, FOX suspension, Spearman Cycles 0.11 6 Liam Panozzo (Aus) SsangYong-fusion Pro Team 0.13 7 Ben Cory (Aus) 0.15 8 Timothy Eaton (Aus) Manitou, Blur Optics, Troy Lee Designs, The Bike Shed Canberra 0.15 9 Wyn Masters (NZl) Bike New Zealand 0.18 10 Craig Yates (Aus) GIANT AUSTRALIA-SRAM-AVID-ROCKSHOX-FOX 0.19 11 Cameron Cole (NZl) Bike New Zealand 0.22 12 Chris Panozzo (Aus) SsangYong-fusion Pro Team 0.23 13 Ricky Boyer (Aus) 0.24 14 James Bashford (Aus) 0.25 15 Shane Wode (Aus) 0.26 16 Keiran Bennett (NZl) Bike New Zealand 0.27 17 Ricky Lee (Aus) 0.27 18 Andrew Mills (Aus) 0.28 19 Alex Swann (Aus) 0.28 20 Jon Odams (Aus) bikeculture.com.au , orange/royal , 661 , e13 , dragon , T.H.E 0.31 21 Hayden McGregor (Aus) 0.31 22 Adam Dossetor (Aus) Turner, DH Direct, Bilt, Imperial, Raw Nrg, ANOMIA designs 0.32 23 Michael Davis (NZl) Bike New Zealand 0.32 24 Adam Smithson (Aus) 0.33 25 Rhys Atkinson (Aus) 0.36 26 Tim Mann (Aus) 0.39 27 Gareth Paton (Aus) 0.39 28 Tom Richards (Aus) 0.41 29 Chris Whitelock (Aus) pinnical cycles. Steve cramer products 0.41 30 Robbie McNaughton (Aus) 0.42 31 Isaac Heppell (Aus) 0.42 32 Dean Robson (Aus) foes,manitou,troy lee designs,magura 0.43 33 Cillian Kennedy (Aus) 0.43 34 Hamish Armstrong (Aus) 0.45 35 John Farrow (Aus) AppalacheSIC usa 0.46 36 Jarl Jensen (Aus) 0.47 37 Thomas Rose (Aus) 0.49 38 James McMillan (Aus) 0.49 39 Chris Barlin (Aus) SIC USA, Hoots, Appalache 0.50 40 Ben Morrison (Aus) ManitouTroy Lee DesignsUtopia OpticsFoesRaw NRGBlack Phoinex FilmsKick ass KustomCompound 0.50 41 Adam Bashford (Aus) 0.50 42 Scott Graham (Aus) 0.53 43 Ben Goff (Aus) orange, royal racing 0.53 44 Trevwah Burke (Aus) woodduck`s extreme squid fishing glass bottom boats rides.co 0.54 45 Dean Davies (Aus) Ashgrove Cycles, Neezy Pty Ltd, Health Fusion Natural Therapy 1.00 46 Tom Kerney (Aus) 1.03 47 Brenden Wood (Aus) Yarra Valley Cycles 1.06 48 Jimmy Danchaud (Fra) Comite Regional de Cyclisme New Caledonia 1.08 49 Kye Hore (Aus) 1.18 DNS Damien Perry (Aus) Inner City Cycles DNS Andrew Dapre (Aus) DNS Leger Ouamba (Fra) Comite Regional de Cyclisme New Caledonia Elite Women 1 Jennifer Makgill (NZl) Bike New Zealand 7.10 2 Tracey Hannah (Aus) 0.08 3 Scarlett Hagen (NZl) Bike New Zealand 0.10 4 Amy Laird (NZl) Bike New Zealand 0.30 5 Joanne Fox (Aus) 0.49 6 Cara Smith (Aus) Onya Bike Belconnen, Paton Performance 1.08 7 Claire Whiteman (Aus) Kona Mt-Buller Factory DH teamACT Academy of SportMal Adjusted Bicycles 1.09 8 Rosemary Barnes (Aus) 1.31 9 Sarsha Huntington (Aus) FOR THE RIDERS.COM 1.33 Under 19 Men 1 Will Rischbieth (Aus) GIANT bicycles, Aldgate Bikes, Drizabone Australia 6.32 2 James Maltman (Aus) SsangYong-fusion Pro Team 0.01 3 Matthew Scoles (NZl) Bike New Zealand 0.01 4 Tom Patton (Aus) Orange,manitou,TroyLeeDesigns,bike addiction,bluroptics,steve cramer 0.08 5 Joshua Button (Aus) Dee Why beach Cycles, Sign FX Sydney, Mongoose Bikes 0.09 6 Dylan Prohm (Aus) Astrix Sports, Endeavour Cycles 0.10 7 Samuel Ward (Aus) Monza Imports, The Bike Shed Mortdale 0.12 8 Michael Langford (NZl) Bike New Zealand 0.14 9 Kent Hamilton (Aus) St Ives Cycles 0.14 10 David Scandrett (NZl) Bike New Zealand 0.14 11 Peter Cooper (NZl) Bike New Zealand 0.14 12 Joel Reuben (Aus) 0.15 13 Joel Daniels (NZl) Bike New Zealand 0.16 14 Daniel Meilink (NZl) Bike New Zealand 0.20 15 Matthew Vincent (Aus) DH-Direct, Severe, GLA 0.21 16 Chris Coombe (Aus) 0.22 17 Joseph Nation (NZl) Bike New Zealand 0.25 18 James Taormina (Aus) Bike Culture Sydney 0.26 19 Murray Stephens (Aus) Bendigo Cycles 0.27 20 Ryan Meader (Aus) 0.30 21 Tim Windshuttle (Aus) Raw NRG Thredbo 0.34 22 Cameron Allonby (Aus) 0.36 23 Ben Leaper (Aus) The Bike Shed Mortdale 0.36 24 David Habicht (Aus) 0.42 25 Brenton Gowen (Aus) 0.45 26 David Gnany (Aus) SPY OPTICS 0.47 27 Tom Maury (Fra) Comite Regional de Cyclisme New Caledonia 0.52 28 Mark Beeksma (Aus) Cycle Logic, Rotec Cycles 0.54 29 Patrick Young (Aus) 1.14 30 Mitchell McKinlay (Aus) 1.24 31 Dale Lecluse (Aus) 2.02 32 Tyson Jones (Aus) 3.22 Under 19 Women 1 Caroline Buchanan (Aus) KHS, Unit clothing, Crank Bros, Bike Shed Canberra 7.56 2 Holly Kernohan-Smith (NZl) Bike New Zealand 0.14 3 Kelly Hughes (Aus) 0.27