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Former downhill world champion Hannah returns to major competition
After a successful series debut for the All Mountain Cup in Perth in November, the 2011-2012 Australian Mountain Bike Season heads to Thredbo this weekend for the first round of the newly-created Gravity Cup on December 10-11.
South Australia’s Troy Brosnan, the 2010 and 2011 junior downhill world champion, returns to Australia after an amazing year of international racing. The jewel in the crown was the successful defence of the junior world championships, with Brosnan completing an amazing run in Champery, Switzerland that would have put him in second in the elite field.
The MTBA Gravity Cup in Thredbo will mark Brosnan's first official race at a national or international level in the elite category.
Triple downhill world champion Sam Hill from Western Australia returns to Australian mountain bike season racing in Thredbo. After an international season affected by injury, this weekend Hill will be hoping to regain the form that has seen him dominate the world downhill scene for much of the last five years.
In the women's field, Tracey Hannah will return to major competition for the first time in four years after taking a break from the sport. Hannah was the 2006 junior women's downhill world champion and also has a World Cup round win at the elite level, and she has made clear her goals of returning to international competition in 2012. Holly Baarspul, the 2011 Oceania Champion, will be another to watch. Baarspul won the Oceania Continental Championships in a breakthrough race at the end of her debut elite season.
In the junior categories, reigning national champion Connor Fearon and the always-fast Danielle Beecroft are the favorites to watch.
Gravity Cup racing will take place at Thredbo, a national mountain biking venue since the 1990s. Thredbo is popular in the Australian downhill scene for the famous Cannonball Run downhill course. A chairlift takes riders 600 vertical metres up to the start of the race for them then to battle it out down the challenging four-kilometre course.
Seeding takes place on Saturday with Group B at 11:30am and Group A (including Elite and U/19) at 4pm. Racing on Sunday is at 11am for Group B and 3pm for Group A. New for 2011-2012, seeding runs also earn series points, so riders are competing for valuable points on both days.
The full schedule, entry list, plus all race information is available at the 2011-2012 MTBA National Series website.