Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dunedin Oceania Champs report

So here I am back on a plane again, this time out of Dunedin after the Oceania Championships last weekend, another really positive and successful weekend for me.

The week kicked off with us arriving on St Patricks day probably not the best choice of a day to arrive in "The student capital of NZ" staying in my younger brother Eddies flat myself and Donny joined in to the nights festivities and a good night was had by all.

We woke the next morning with slight headaches an had to get our bikes and gear ready for Dual Slalom, the Slalom track was pretty sketchy most of the corners we built from dust, but it still made for some fun riding, It even featured the "honesty start gate" after the one they had built fell apart halfway through the first round. I managed to hold all of my runs pretty well to make it through to the final where I was up against Aussie Haydon Lester we bumped elbows pretty well out of the start but I managed to hold my corners a bit smoother where Haydo was getting loose, so I ended up taking my first title of the weekend. I liked the piece in the local paper where it said something like this; "Masters managed to take the win, even after being out in the early hours of the morning celebrating St Patricks day"

So next up was to walk the Downhill course and see what we were up for there, I was pretty impressed with what they had come up with it certainly looked more like a World Cup course, the only thing I could say it needed more was possibly some more corners as it was all pretty wide open, I put in a few practice runs and started to work out a few lines I had looked at walking the course, it all flowed pretty well and the bottom "four cross" section was cool for something a bit different was similar to the finish of the South Africa World Cup last year.

From there it was off to Four Cross practice, I was lucky enough to have a bike to use for this after borrowing one from Jed Rooney, cheers mate. The Four Cross course was probably the best we had seen in NZ and the corners actually allowed for passing opportunities for once, practice went well and I started to get used to the bike in time for qualifying, I surprised myself taking the number one spot in qualifying but was happy as I needed that to have 1st gate pick throughout the heats. My heats went pretty well I was never really fast out of the start but had lines and made sure to make it through each one until I found myself in the final.

It was a surprisingly all kiwi final, as the Aussies had brought over some of the better riders for this event. The final consisted of Myself, Matt Walker, Kieran Bennett and young gun Daniel Franks, we were in the gate and set to go Daniel got the start by a fair bit as I expected with Matt Walker behind him and myself 3rd, Matt got loose in the first corner and I got round him following Daniel down until the 2nd to last corner where he finally left some room on the inside..I set up wide and hardly braked just drifting in to the inside of him and pushed him off balance on to the top of the berm, I went through to the finish to take the win again I was stoked with this as I didn't really expect to win in the Four Cross and its great to have a second oceania title for the weekend.

So that left my 3rd and final event, Downhill. Saturday was practice day and I did about 5 runs over the day, I had one decent stack in the afternoon in the rocks but was lucky to walk away with nothing more than a bruise. I did a couple of runs with Aussie junior Troy Brosnan and got some lines off him which was pretty helpful, by the end of the day I had the course pretty dialed and was looking forward to race day. Race day rolled round quicker than ever and I had a couple of good practice runs in the morning so I was ready for seeding, I put down a pretty solid run but felt I rode some sections pretty slow so had a bit more in the tank for finals, I seeded 2nd behind Cam Cole who was on form on this course and a full 3 seconds in front.

It was finally finals time and I was 2nd last to go off the gate I started off the run really well and stayed smooth through all the top rock gardens, and I was going well till off one of the jumps I landed on a loose rock and got bounced off down to the low line loosing speed in a crucial spot, I pinned it to the finish to try to make it back up and rode everything else really well. I came in to 2nd behind my team mate Nathan Rankin with only Cam Cole left to go, Cam put in an awesome run to beat Nathan by nearly two seconds and I took 3rd I was happy to be on the podium again, would have liked a bit better but I was stoked with how my weekend panned out taking two Oceania titles and a 3rd place.

Other impressive results were, George Brannagin taking the Junior win over Jed Rooney who put in an awesome ride to take 2nd in front of Aussie junior and Monster Energy team rider Troy Brosnan. Also one of the most impressive and slightly crazy results was in the Under 17 class with Rotorua's Louis Hamilton taking the win there even after crashing out on friday wrecking his bike and fracturing his scaphoid, he ignored doctors orders got his his old bike sent down, taped up his wrist and gritted his teeth to take the Oceania title, I guess he watches too much Chopper Read..

Finally but most importantly I would like to thanks everyone that helped me over the weekend, and all my sponsors, E.13, Blinky, Lapierre, THE, Backflips Clothing, Rockstar Racing, Southstar shuttles, Infamous Designs, Team Kenda Playbiker, Taranaki Elite Athletes Foundation and Mum and Dad.