By Andrew Threlfall/www.freewheel.com.au
Nathan Rennie (Santa Cruz/Syndicate) and Tracey Hannah (Edge Cycles) have each secured the top spot in their respective categories to be your new Australian DH Champions. With picture-perfect weather conditions and a record 450 entrants the racing was always going to be exciting, especially as the 'jersey controversy' of '05 had been circumvented by MTBA - ensuring that the winners in Thredbo were the best on the day.
Previously, qualifying and racing had been held in the same afternoon, however with a change to the format of the racing - bringing the championships in line with UCI races - seeding was held on Saturday after a morning practice session.
Australia's longest DH course proved to be too much for many riders with all the tech crews in the pits being kept very busy. Flat tyres were common, but considering the amount of rocks on the course it was surprising there weren't more.
Jared Rando (Giant/Fox) came out blazing on Saturday and set the pace for the day with an impressive time of 6:05.42. Bryn Atkinson (GT/Hyundai) and Joel Panozzo (WTB) filled the next two seeding positions while 2005 DH National Champion Michael Hannah (Cannondale) was taking it easy back in twelfth position.
As Sam Hill (Ironhorse) didn't make the trek across from Perth for the championship all eyes seemed to be following Jared Graves (Yeti) and Nathan Rennie who seemed to have been conserving their energy in their seeding run. Graves was looking to carry on his impressive form from last season after securing the Sea Otter DH omnium, NORBA DH championship and NORBA MTNX Championship. Unfortunately it wasn't to be.
With the track deteriorating as more and more riders went down the course, it was a considerably rougher course than when the seeding was held on Saturday.
Read all the race reports, results and pictures from Australia's gravity national championships here.