Downhill practice is all go in the dust at Maydena, as age groups light up the short track.
All photos: Andy Rogers
Day two at Maydena Bike Park saw another day of great conditions - albeit still pretty dusty despite some overnight rain. With the eMTB XC and Adaptive MTB Championships plus the XC Team Relay already decided on day one, today was all about short track racing for age group categories, and seeing who is who in the zoo as Downhill practice begins.
Full gas at Short Track (XCC)
Short Track, or XCC, is all about going all out on a shorter version of the cross-country course. At a World Cup level, the Short Track is run twod ays before the XCO race, and it gives valuable points to the overall World Cup, and a top 16 position will put you on one of the front two rows for the big show.
Down at Maydena Bike Park, no less is on the line as U13-17 and Masters categories duked it out in the dust for the National Champion titles across all age group categories.
The U17 women's race was the busiest, and it was Maya Martin who was fast off the line. But by race end Hannah Elliot was the winner ahead of Caitlyn Brazier and Maya was 3rd. Anna Fletcher won ahead of Lucie Johnston in U15 and Piper Whitford lead the charge in U13 women.
In the young men's racing, the U17 was also the most crowded with over 20 riders going bar to bar. It was Harry Doye who was fastest, beating Vinny Manion and Toby Inglis, who were neck and nech. In U15 men Connor Wright won the title ahead of Monty Manion and Jett Whitford, while Hamish Retchford won the U13 title. Silver and Bronze in U13 went to Archie Martin and Owen Sheppard respectively.
21 men and women took to the short track across the Masters and Expert categories. Masters 7 men was the deepest field with 5 riders putting it all on the line for the National Title. Jayne Rutter won Masters 3 women and Meaghan Stanton won Masters 4 women. Lisa Dodds, Tara Sutherland and Sharon Heap took home the titles for Masters 5, 6 and 7 respectively. Plenty of those winners will be adding their medals to others in the pool room!
Baily Devantier-Thomas from Townsville rode the race of his life to win Expert men XCC, and in Masters 1 Wills Brassil did the same. Masters 2 saw Lachlan Allison get up, while Ben Parsissons beat Jason Pennisi (just!) to the title in Masters 3.
The big ding dong was in Masters 4 with 4 riders on the grid, but that didn't phase David Winfield who started fast and just seemed to get faster. David won the title with Dominic Burton in second and Andrew Ling in 3rd.
Tim Northeyruled Masters 5 with an iron first, with daylight to Adrian Cooper in second, and Damien Waites in 3rd. Masters 6 saw Russell Eggins get up with Scott Russell in 2nd. Masters 7 had 5 riders ready to bash bars, and Brett Stevens made short work of it, winning ahead of Scott McLennan and the evergreen Michael Wilson. Guy Falla wrapped up the win for Gold Coast Cycling Club in Masters 9.
All results are online, and U19, U23 and Elites race this weekend on Sunday.
Who's looking fast in downhill?
With the track walk done earlier this week, the downhillers were let loose for the first lot of official practice. While 2021 was the first time the Downhill title was contested at Maydena Bike Park, it really was a well-received track and riders are back for more.
That said, the course has some changes, most notably in conditions. It's super dry!
From track side observations, it looks like Jackson Frew is on fire, finding all the right lines and riding them fast. Still, Troy Brosnan will be capitalising on his visit to Maydena Bike Park a few weeks back to get his rigs dialed in, and he was lapping the course this afternoon, knocking off 5 runs, so we are told.
In the women's, Sian A'Hern has all the speed and experience, although Elise Empey looks to be having plenty of fun and laughs on the course, lapping through with her mates.
Practice is one thing, seeding is another. So we'll have to see who is holding something back, and what lines will develop on the dry track over the coming days. Changing conditions will always favour experience.