Brannigan Retains National Mountain Bike Downhill Jersey

Postby Melissa_Theuriau on Mon 16/Feb/15 12:51pm

Trek World Racing professional, George Brannigan pulled out a superb ride to break the three minute barrier and retain his elite men’s downhill title at the National Mountain Bike Championships in Rotorua today, as part of the opening weekend of the Rotorua Bike Festival.

George Brannigan on his way to retaining his downhill title in Rotorua today. Photo credit: Mead Norton Photography.

Brannigan was the only rider to clock under three minutes on the new course at the Skyline Rotorua Mountain Bike Gravity Park, finishing in 2:59.85. He finished ahead of Trek World Racing teammate Brook MacDonald in second (3:03.35) and Sam Blenkinsop in third (3:05.82).

The Havelock North rider said he didn’t let the fact he was defending champion play on his mind, or change his tactics.

“To be honest I just treated it like another national because in New Zealand everyone is so laid back it doesn’t get too serious, and I think that helped because I didn’t feel any pressure,” said Brannigan.

He also enjoyed the chance to retain his jersey on the new course.

“Everyone had to adapt to this new course, but it’s the style of track I like – fast and rough.”

“Coming down I had a couple of moments, but that’s just natural because the track is so loose, so I was like ‘man I hope I stay on’, and I did.”

Brannigan had earlier set the fastest seeding time, with a 3:00.69 run, nearly five seconds better than his closest rival.

“I got three (minutes) flat in seeding and didn’t pedal too hard, so I knew I could break it (three minutes) – so I just pedalled hard and it worked out,” added Brannigan.

In the elite women’s race 2014 runner-up, Alanna Columb turned the tables on last year’s winner, Sarah Atkin, to claim her maiden title.

“I’ve been coming second for a little bit now, so it’s nice to have a change,” said the Queenstown rider.

“To win actually boggles the mind a bit,” added Columb.

Sophie Tyas from Auckland claimed third in the elite women’s downhill.



Elite: George Brannigan (Havelock North) 2:59:85, 1; Brook MacDonald (Napier) 3:03:35, 2; Sam Blenkinsop (Christchurch) 3:05:82, 3; Rupert Chapman (Christchurch) 3:07:62, 4; Bernard Kerr (UK) 3:08:85, 5 - Not eligible for medal.

Senior: Leonard Sonntag (Rotorua) 3:25:54, 1; Tom Humphries (Palmerston North) 3:37:28, 2; Oliver Knight (Palmerston North) 3:41:51, 3; Tristian Ratcliffe (Kapiti) 3:49:67, 4; Mathew Hunt (Rotorua) 3:50.52, 5.

Under-19: Connor Sandri (Oamaru) 3:14:61, 1; Jack Humphries (Palmerston North) 3:23:41, 2; Cole

Lucas (Hamilton) 3:28:91, 3; Kim Newton (Nelson) 3:32:94, 4; Oliver Jarman (Christchurch) 3:34:21, 5.

Under-17: Liam Bethell (Auckland) 3:39:69, 1; Sam Robbie (Queenstown) 3:40:01, 2; Nils Heiniger (Christchurch) 3:44:29, 3; Billy Meaclem (Christchurch) 3:48:88, 4; Charlie Makea (Napier) 3:50:64, 5

Under-15: Finn Parsons (Rotorua) 4:04:45, 1; Isaac Ewen (Tuakau) 4:26:96, 2; Tom O’Brien (Katikati) 4:29:56, 3; Hamish Mackie (Lower Hutt) 4:42:98, 4; Hunter Paull (Christchurch) 4:45:05 5.

Masters 1: Michael Evans (Wellington) 3:47:75, 1; Tim Hunter (Auckland) 3:48:76, 2; Nathan Timoko (Wellington) 4:01:35, 3; Clinton Williams (Auckland) 4:08:70, 4; Iain Burgon (Wellington) 4:34:91, 5.

Masters 2: Edd James (Auckland) 5:02:82, 1; Cameron McLeod (Rotorua) 5:18:72, 2; Daniel Burgess (Rakaia) 6:01:36, 3.


Elite: Alanna Columb (Queenstown) 3:51:38, 1; Sarah Atkin (Lower Hutt) 3:52:45, 2; Sophie Tyas (Auckland) 4:18:68, 3; Amanda Monk (Whakatane) 6:02:48, 4.

Under-17: Shania Rawson (Papamoa) 5:27:76, 1.

Masters 1: Philippa Rostan (Australia) 7:18:11, 1 – Not eligible for medal.
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