Downhill series success

Auckland rider Sacha Earnest (front) with other female competitors at the beginning of the Bluff Hill track. Photo: Luisa Girao

ABOUT 80 riders from around the country descended on Bluff last weekend for the opening round of the Mountain Bike New Zealand National Downhill series.

Southland Mountain Bike Club president Lawrence Kees said the event at Bluff Hill was a great way to promote the sport in the region.

“It’s been seven years since a national downhill competition has been held in Southland. It is a great opportunity for people to see riders of this quality here.”

Riders aged from 13-55 years were part of the competition, he said.

“It is a really good exposure to the sport.”

The winner of the first round was Queenstown rider George Brannigan, who completed the track in 2min 17.06secs just ahead of Nelson rider Sam Gale.

Another Queenstown rider, Kathy Morris, was the quickest female with 2.48:09.

Invercargill’s Connor Harvey finished in seventh place. He was the best Southland rider in the event, completing the track in 2.24:14.

Kees was happy with the support of Bluff’s residents and considered the event a success.

“The feedback from the competitors and public has been great. I hope we can host another national event next year. Fingers crossed.”

The next round of the downhill championship will be held at Coronet Peak on Sunday, January 19.

Invercargill’s Connor Harvey finished in seventh place.

The winner of the first round of Mountain Bike New Zealand’s National Downhill Series was Queenstown rider George Brannigan.