Both Australian cross country national champions, Dellys Starr and Chris Jongewaard, backed up last weekend's national championship wins with further victories at the final round of the National Mountain Bike Series held in the Alpine district at Mt Beauty, Victoria.
Starr's win last week obtained her a position on the shadow Olympic team for Australia, while Jongewaard is already one of three males on the shadow team along with Dan McConnell and Sid Taberlay. McConnell raced and placed a creditable second in the weekend's race.
For the Australian fans it was the last time they would see their potential Olympians at a national event before August. In mid-January the UCI announced that Australia would have one position for a female and one for a male at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
In the men's downhill race, world champion Sam Hill claimed victory. At just 22 years of age, Hill is currently ranked number one in the World following his prestigious World Cup series win last season. He rode a blistering 3'10" to win the Victorian event after qualifying fastest in the seeding run in heavy rain. Hill's appearance, his only in Australia since claiming his second World Championship in Scotland last August, was cheered by fans.
"It was awesome especially coming into the last chute," said Hill of the support. "You could hear them 20 seconds before I got there."
Though not Australian, British racer Tracy Moseley, bested Queensland sensation Tracey Hannah in the women's downhill. At number three in the world, Hannah qualified fastest but her final run of 3'51" included a crash in the final berm leaving her three seconds behind Moseley's time.