The 2019 Oceania MTB Championships has closed after a big day of racing with the UCI downhill and cross-country categories in Bright, Victoria.
The morning started with the elite women’s cross-country and after dominating the national titles only four days earlier Rebecca McConnell (AUS) carried on that form to blow away the competition on the very first of the 5 laps to cross more than four minutes in front of her rivals.
“I think the biggest thing when you come to these races is you have to respect your competition and I have so much respect for the other girls that I am racing against, which I think is why I was able to bring my best performance today and obviously and opportunity to see how your form is and get a benchmark for upcoming races.”
Holly Harris (AUS) finished with a second silver for the week while Josie Wilcox (NZL) held off her compatriot and defending champion Samara Sheppard (NZL) to grab bronze.
The win was McConnell’s third.
Anton Cooper (NZL) came into the elite men’s race with fresh legs and a potential fourth straight Oceania title.
The Kiwi didn’t disappoint as he broke away from Ben Oliver (NZL) on the second of their six laps and powered toward to a convincing top podium step.
“Felt fresh from the start and was able to keep consistent pace and was great result for sure. “
Oliver made it a quinella for the New Zealanders while Cameron Ivory (AUS) did enough to take a bronze.
In the Under 23 Matthew Dinham (AUS) was locked in a four way battle with Cameron Wright (AUS), Alex Lack (AUS) and Sam Fox (AUS) for the opening three laps.
It then became two with Dinham and Wright battling for the top step on the final lap and it would be the newly crowned Australian champion who would prevail by eight seconds.
“It was a really brutal race out there today, I definitely felt the fatigue from National Champs.”
After the disappointment of crashing in the National titles four days earlier Sarah Tucknott (NZL) made ammends by outsprinting New Zealand champion Jessica Manchester.
“I’m so happy I can’t even put it into words.”
Zoe Cuthbert (AUS) and Corey Smith (AUS) ensured it would be an Australian double in the junior categories as they held off the field in their respective races.
The championships came to a close after the downhill.
Jackson Frew (AUS) who qualified fourth fastest in seeding would amp up the speed in the final run to earn his very first elite downhill title with a time of 3:27:155 only +0.949 ahead of Connor Fearon (AUS) with silver and Ben Zwar (AUS) taking the bronze.
Sian A’Hern (AUS) was another who is in a purple patch of form as she would add gold to her silver from Sunday’s racing with a blistering 4:05:136 in the elite women.
While in the junior men New Zealand’s Tuhoto-Ariki Pene put down the fastest time of the whole event with a 3:25:440 to claim the only downhill title for the Kiwis.
Cassie Voysey (AUS) backed up her gold medal from the national titles to take out the Oceania crown.
Photo Credit: Matt Ruosu Photography
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