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Australian 4X MTB Series #6- NE
Kurrajong, Australia, January 13, 2008
Canberra Captures National Series
Canberra mountain bike riders dominated the final of the National Four Cross at Kurrrajong, west of Sydney today. Canberra's Leigh Darrell and Caroline Buchanan wrapped up the Elite Men's and Elite Women's National 4X series titles respectively, with Buchanan taking another victory while Darrell settled for second placing on the day to secure his first national title.
Brisbane rider, Adam Nicholson (The Gap) won the men's final despite crashing along with four finalists. After crashing Nicholson saw his bike land past him and was the quickest to get underway and sped down the steep course with series leader, Leigh Darrell in hot pursuit.
"It's the first elite [victory] after a lot of years racing," said Nicholson. "It was a long time coming. I knew I had it in me."
Canberra-based Darrell claimed the elite men's overall series but was unlucky to crash while leading in today's final. Even with second place, Darrell had ample points after winning three of the six national rounds earlier in the season.
"This is my first time in elite and the first year I have done a whole series," grinned Darrell.
Darrell will now face riders like current national champion, Luke Madill at the championships but not before fine tuning his bike. "I'll just do a few bike modifications and see how I go," said Darrell.
National 4X Champion Caroline Buchanan won the elite women's race, making it a clean sweep of the series for the 17 year-old. Buchanan did not have an easy run in the sixth round today, with former national downhill champion Joanne Fox in the field. But it was fellow Canberra rider Julia Boer who laid down the challenge by passing Buchanan in the first 20 metres of the women's final.
"In the third moto Julia did the same move so I knew she could do that," explained Buchanan. "I just knew there were four different spots on the track I could pass her and the first one worked."
For Buchanan the variety of tracks over the six round series has boosted her confidence as she heads into defend her national title in two weeks time at Mt Stromlo in the Australian Capital Territory.
"We've had rocks, really flat ones like BMX tracks and really steep ones like this one," Buchanan said. "Going into the nationals I feel really confident with all the different practice on different tracks which has been good."
Other Canberra riders enjoying success at the series' final were Mic Longhurst, who won his race today and the overall veteran series, while 13 year-old Max Hughes placed third but had ample points to take out the 15 boys overall series.
In other races today Danielle Beecroft and Matt Walker and won the Under 19 women and men's respectively. Ryan Henderson won the Under 17 race and takes out the series overall.
Riders now prepare for the Toyota MTBA National Mountain Bike Championships over the Australia Day weekend.