Racing begins!

Day two of the Australian National Championships started hot and sunny with the cross country short course or XCC. The heat remained steady throughout the day and riders were laying it all on the line to take home the title. Racers moved off in age categories, up out of the event village, along a steadily climbing fire road, up 'Rennies switchbacks' (now widened for an easier assault, no more walkers) then down through the final rock drop, back through the village to the finish line.

The races were fast paced and at times arduous. Whilst 'Rennies switchbacks' were altered they remained tough, and many riders were using the racing to become familiar with it. As the races progressed so to did the racers and soon many were clearing the steep section. It remains one of the better places to watch. The womens race was steam rolled by the junior women, with Katherine Hosking taking the win with a stunning display of riding. The mens field was slightly more aggressive, with places traded almost every lap. Ben Metcalf claimed the U19's race and the overall, whilst out front for most of the race Tristan Ward had to settle for second overall but first in U23's. 

The afternoon rolled around fast, the Cross Country Relay always a firm favourite amongst the emerging teams and development squads. Planet PCS Racing put down a solid showing to take the title away from tthe dual teams of the New England Mountain bike club. In particular the flying opening lap of Cameron Wright completing the course in just ten minutes and fifty seconds, laying the ground work for stellar perfomances from Nick Pedlar, Megan Williams and Andrew Low.

As the final laps were completed the rain hit hard, with still yet more to come over the coming days. It's all going to come down to when it hits and just what will the conditions be. Stay tuned for the first day of XCO racing tomorrow and some Observed Trials.

Words and Photos: Robert Conroy