Australian junior mountain bikers impress

Downhiller Yrttiaho beats the elites

Australia's junior world championship "long" team riders are in good form after four of its riders placed in the top 10 in the elite class at the third round of the RedAss State Downhill Series at Stromlo Forest Park in Canberra this weekend.

One team member, Brandon Yrttiaho from Queensland, took the win in a time of 2:17.53. The 18-year-old beat local elite rider Tim Eaton. Eaton, the current series leader, finished second just 1.62 seconds off the pace. Another junior world team member, Adelaide's Connor Fearon, made it onto the podium with third place just 2.22 seconds off the winning time.

Despite qualifying with the fastest time in the seeding run, Eaton lost speed in the rock garden, costing him valuable time in the final.

Eaton retained his lead in the state series with an impressive 620 points. With a fifth place in this round Newcastle's Brad Kelly now moves into second place in the series with 370 points.

After a training camp in Canberra this week, the eight-member junior world group gained valuable experience by racing up in the tougher elite men's category.

Team coach Jared Rando from Canberra, said he was impressed with the form of the riders.

"They all rode up in elite and we got four up in the top 10 so that's a great result for the team," he said. " They all improved and overcame challenges. The group as whole was impressive."

Other team members ranking in the top ten were Queensland's Ben Power (sixth) and Goulburn's Phillip Piazza (eighth ) who is now based in Canberra. The training camp will finish today with the world junior team final announcement expected in mid-July.

Newcastle's Sarah Booth took the win in the elite women's race with a remarkable 2:56.66. Sydney pair Danielle Beecroft and Joanne Fox picked up second and third respectively.

Booth said the wind caused many of the women to change their lines and miss several of the jumps.

"I just stayed stay safe and go as fast as possible," she said. "I had to compromise some of the lines."

Eaton and Booth remain as series leaders in elite with one round remaining in Coffs Harbour on July 10. With both Eaton and Booth heading to Whistler in Canada to race in two weeks time Eaton has a secure hold on the men's series while the women's series lead will be up for grabs.

A total of 200 riders braved the windy conditions on Mt Stromlo to race the CORQ organized event.

Other weekend winners included Dean Evans (Under 19 men), Philippa Rostan (Expert women), Andrew Crimmins (Under 17), Joel Willis (Under 15 men), Rick Kehoe (Veteran men), Stephen Andreasen (Master men), Michael Green (Super master men), Nicholas Jones (Sport men) and Michael Willis (Expert men).

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