The 2012 NZ MTB Cup presented by Nature Valley got off to a scorching start today in the blistering heat of Queenstown. The new Remarkables downhill venue overlooking Queenstown airport, Frankton and Lake Wakatipu delivered dry, dusty, and very hot racing conditions for the multi-national field of 151 starters today.
Competiton was fierce across all categories, with the new downhill race course cutting up during the two days of practice and competition to become worthy of this level of contest – huge braking bumps and multiple choice lines, including long off-camber sections provided plenty of challenge for all on the hill.
In the Elite races today, the womens field was always playing catch-up to Wellington’s Sarah Atkin, who had the measure of her competitors in both seeding and race. Atkin won by a massive 15 second margin over recent UK immigrant Harriet Latchem, with Nelson’s Veronique Sandler in thrid. Both Atkin and Sandler have progressed through to the Elite field this year after stellar 2011 seasons in the U19 ranks, and having represented NZ last year at the World Championships.
The mens Elite race had a number of international racers taking on a very strong NZ field. George Brannigan (Havelock North) was last starter today, having seeded fastest in the mornings shake down.
The Devinci Global professional waited for his race start, in the knowledge that he would have to put down the same speed on the Remarks course to claim the win, having seen his competiton one by one post times that could easily take the podium top step – any mistake would be punished on the clock. Christchurch’s Joseph Nation had set the time to beat early in the race order, with a brace of solid competition only just behind him.
Brannigan held his nerve however, and went slightly faster than his seeding run to take the win by a comfortable 2.5 seconds. Of note today in the Elite mens results list was French visitor Jerome Clementz who is a Downhill Super Enduro maestro, winning every major Super D event around the world in recent years. Clementz switched to the downhill bike for this weekend and showed that he is also multi-talented, with a fourth place finish.
Weeks of sun and lack of rain made the conditions dusty, loose and fast. Sorry its so short, keeping this series’ videos short and sharp but the next one should be far better! Song is ‘Idealistic’ by ‘Idealism’. Next round is Dunedin. http://www.mtbnz.org
Filmed/Edited by Tom Cuthbert.