Kovarik Wins Australian Championship
Chris Kovarik has won his fourth National title on the sub 2 minute Adelaide course while Sam Hill crashed out on the last corner.
Full results here.
Read the report below taken from MTBA.
In a tightly fought race for the downhill title at the SRAM Australian Mountain Bike Championships in Adelaide today, Chris Kovarik won his fourth national title while world number one, and pre-race favourite, Sam Hill crashed on the final corner just metres from the finish line.
Hill had set the fastest time in the qualifying round to be the last rider out of the start house and looked set to claim the title until it all came undone in sight of the line. Unscathed from the fall he got back up and crossed the line to finish fifth.
Having won the Australian title three years running, from 2000 to 2002, it was a pleasing return to the top step of the podium for Kovarik.
“Although it was pretty good I wasn’t really happy with the time. I was hoping to go two seconds faster than my qualifying time but I’ve just done the same time," Kovarik said.
“Hard luck to Sam coming off on that last corner and giving it to me. I was just watching the times and think he would have had it by half a second (if he didn’t crash)."
For a disappointed Hill it was just the beginning of his season long campaign to reclaim the rainbow jersey of world champion.
Overshadowed by the drama of Hill’s crash, the silver medal went to Shaun O’Connor and the bronze to Josh Button.
The women’s event was dominated by Canadians Claire Buchar who was the quickest, followed by Leigh Douglas and the first of the locals Claire Whiteman who was crowned Australian champion.
Buchar has taken the opportunity to train in Australia over the summer to avoid the cold and snow of the Canadian winter, while Douglas now lives in Tasmania and is one of the dominant performers on the domestic circuit.
“They really push us along and both Claire and Leigh have been helpful this weekend with pointers on how to improve," Whiteman said shortly after all three hugged in appreciation of their respective performances.
A humble Buchar said “It’s great to get some racing in during our winter and I love racing here in Australia. This is an awesome track and there was a great atmosphere."
Plenty of attention was also paid to the under-19 men’s race where rising young gun Troy Brosnan of South Australia blitzed the field to snatch the win ahead of Daniel Lavis and Aden Wyber.
A relieved Brosnan said that he made a few mistakes but it was a great relief to win particularly with support he had from a very vocal crowd.
Much is expected of Brosnan as he has been touted as Australia’s next big thing in downhill racing and today’s win will only add to his growing reputation.
Emily Hockey won the women’s under-19 title ahead of Holly Baarspul and Christie Batt.
SRAM Australian MTB Championships – RESULTS
Elite men – downhill
1. Chris Kovarik 1:56.03
2. Shaun O’Connor 1:57.52
3. Joshua Button 1:57.58
4. Kaine Cannan 1:58.50
5. Sam Hill 1:59.25
6. Amiel Cavalier 1:59.65
7. Rhys Willemse 1:59.82
8. Mitchell Delfs 2:00.07
9. Rhys Atkinson 2:00.40
10. William Rischbieth 2:00.51
Elite women – downhill
1. Claire Buchar 2:18.46
2. Leigh Douglas 2:26.71
3. Claire Whiteman 2:31.89
4. Leonie Picton 2:32.55
5. Joanne Fox 2:34.45
6. Emma Lewis 2:36.34
7. Julia Boer 2:37.94
8. Shannon Chugg 2:41.11
9. Shelly Flood 2:43.95
10. Sarsha Huntington DNS