Overseas Kiwi Mountain Bikers Update - 16th June 2009

Postby Melissa_Theuriau on Tue 16/Jun/09 4:18pm

The traditional Wheels Of Speed downhill event on the ex-world cup track in Willingen, Germany took place this past weekend. Gee Atherton (Gbr) and Claire Buchar (Can) took home the Elite titles and the significant prizemoney that went with them.

The Willingen track is comprised of huge jumps, blind hucks and lots of berms as it winds it's way down a slight hill in the middle of the small German town. Racing was easily the fastest it has ever been, rock hard, gravel covered in areas and not for the faint of heart.

Justin Leov (Trek World Racing) and Kieran Bennett (X-Fusion) competed at Willengen and although this is an invitational event, they still had to qualify for the top 32 finals. The top eight amateurs from age group categories were also added in to the Elite final, and unfortunately Bennett was left high and dry with an average run during qualifying - just missing the cut for a finals race. Leov qualified and raced to 11th place, only seconds off Atherton's time.

Cross Country
Brendon Sharratt (Merida NZ) competed at the Scottish National Champs at Fort William, on a course that was a combination of the 2007 World Champs and old World Cup courses. Sharratt raced to a 2nd place in the Elite field, beaten only by the 2008 defending champion.

"There wasnt enough climbing for me to catch the winner as he was a demon descender. The main descents were steep, damp, off camber and tree roots. But I felt I was climbing better with alot more punch and power than my last race a few weeks ago"

Sharratt now heads to Europe for Racer Bike Cup events in Switzerland over the next two weekends, joining Nelson's Kieran Hambrook who has been based there for several weeks already.

Hambrook has been mixing road and MTB events during his Swiss stay, and last weekend finished 5th at a Watch Valley Series race in the highly competitive Junior field. This week sees Hambrook gaining an all expenses paid ride for a Swiss team in the Tour du Payes Vaud, which is also a UCI Junior Tour.

Issued for MTBNZ Performance
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