Adelaide was a return to an old yet friendly rivalry between Connor Fearon and Troy Brosnan. In the end Fearon came out the victor there but with both riders showing form it was with anticipation, that the Buller National round began.
Friday’s at national downhill races are chilled. Most people still have work(surprisingly), so those racers that are there walk the track, check lines, engage in a few chilled practice runs with mates or just plain old hang out in their tents. This goes even doubly so now that seeding has been eliminated from saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately the only other note to make on friday practice was the disastrous crash resulting in the broken femur of Kye Hore. After a airlift to a Melbourne hospital he is already up and slowly walking again. Healing vibes from the community go out to him.
The course has changed little over the last ten years but this year saw a few enhancements made. Gone were the dodgy wooden hairpin turns up top, replaced with all new gripper plastic lattice and below the lattice was placed on top of the existing wallride so that should the rain come there would be no more sliding into the face of it. handy.
Other than the roll down that had been armoured it was the same rock bashing, hole festival it usually was. By late saturday the holes were deep and by sunday morning even deeper, you had to know where they were and how to avoid them or it was more or less over the bars.
With the fire danger and high winds expected on sunday a call was made to push the seeding and finals together, back to back, all classes. It sort of eliminated any glory that a number one seeding position usually produced, no time to dwell on the mistakes of the previous run, just turn straight around, get in the gate and try and push one higher.The pressure really was on to perform and racers were ready.
With each run the track was harder and harder to race on, howling wind raced down the straights, holes grew deeper, it was a battle against the elements right the way down. In the end it all came down to final runs, U17′s were up first and Remy Morton stole the show. Whilst he easily won U17′s his time also would have seen him top of U19′s and well in the top ten of Elite Men. If thats not a sign of a legend in the making I don’t know what is.
In U19′s Max Warshawsky, Ben Hill, Joel Willis, Matt McCorkell, Jackson Davis Aiden Varley and Ben Dengate were all looking fast.The times and skill level Young Andrew Crimmins was looking a little off the pace, something unnatural for the new Kona convert. As it later turned out a crash in the upper section saw him out of finals with an injured shoulder, an x-ray and some healing time should see him back in the mix for AUS Champs.
Ben Hill ended up taking his first win in U19′s and claiming the overall to boot with Aiden Varley in second and Max Warshawsky in third. In U19′s women Tegan Molloy dominated in the absence of Danni Beecroft putting close to a minute on Ellie Wale for first. A time that also would have seen her into first in Elite Women. Sarah Booth took out elite women with five seconds over Michelle Crisp. Relative newcomer Carrie McLachlan slotted into third with junior Australian Champ Kellie Weinert in fourth.
First runs for Elite Men were taken out by Connor Fearon with Brosnan just behind. Unless one drastically fell through the order in finals it appears this series is going to be neck and neck till the end. There were others looking to put their foot in the door to the win, including Dean Lucas newly signed to Devinci Global Racing, Thomas Crimmins, Graeme Mudd, Josh Button and Dave McMillan, who has been having a stellar series thus far.
Crossing the finish line Troy Brosnan took out the Buller National round, a front flat sustained early on in his lap saw Connor Fearon diving down the results. Dean Lucas moved cleanly into second inching closer and closer to that top spot. Josh Button took out third in what has been a fast return to mountain bike racing whilst fourth and fifth were taken out by McMillan and Mudd.
The series now moves onto Thredbo before Australian Champs in Bright but with Thredders the last round in this short series, riders would be laying it all on the line to climb up the overall. Catch you there.