Bright really turned it on for the final day of the 2019 National MTB Championships!
Words and photos: Eerik Sandstrom
Sunday at the Australian National Champs is all about the Downhill. Conditions were perfect for Bright, sunshine and dust. As the track dried up, riders spent most of practice looking for their lines as the dust began to cover up rocks and roots.
This years' track mostly followed sections of last years' Nationals track with a few changes. The middle section was completely new, Mick Hannah was happy with the new section and said it helped riders carry more speed throughout the entire track. The new section was littered with big double jumps combined with steep off camber sections, a perfect spot for spectators to watch the pros ride their limits.
Canyon riders Troy Bronson and Kye A’Hern were spotted early during practice riding together, Troy showing Kye where crucial seconds could be found on the track. The high lines through the mid section was where riders were looking for crucial seconds, this part was tricky to hold the lines through.
When racing kicked off, the crowds gathered and everyone knew Troy was riding well but there was plenty of talk amongst the people, hopeful to see old time favourite Mick Hannah get up there.
First down the hill in the elite categories were the womens under 19s, Cassie Voysey taking the win, followed by one of the largest classes for the day, under 19s men. Only .7 sec seperate the winner and second place, Kye A’Hern snatching the win, thanks to team mate Troys coaching on course. Luke Meier-Smith looked fast all weekend and almost had the win, but was happy to finish in second place.
Then it was on the Elite women, and whilst Tracey was there to defend her title, illness plagued her most of the weekend. Sian A’Hern was riding brilliantly all weekend and with her qualifying run so close to Tracey’s, there was talk there might be a new women's national champ. It wasn’t meant to be though, even though Tracey was under the weather she pulled out a strong race run and took the win by half a second over Sian.
Finally it was the elite men who took to the course, and after Connor Fearon put down a 3:22:33 the crowd thought it might be a winning time. Connor sat in the hot seat for what seemed like a long time, until Dean Lucas came down second last with what was for a moment the fastest time. The only rider yet to come down the hill was Troy. After the commentator miss judged Troys late entry into the finish area, people were wondering if Troy might have come off the bike, but he emerged from the wood to take the win with some style over the finish line jump. Troy's time was at 3:18:68, 2.25 seconds up on Dean Lucus.
It wasn’t Mick Hannahs day in the end, dropping his chain on course and coasting to the finish line to place 10th.
Well that wraps up another MTBA National Champs, the question who in 2020 will knock off the consecutive winners of this years titles?
Full results, and those for XCC, are all online.