By Sharon Payne
Australia's Caroline Buchanan capped off a successful evening last weekend during which she won cycling awards in both mountain biking and BMX and another round of the National Series Four cross held in Thredbo, Australia. The Due to the scheduling conflict with the race, 17 year-old from Canberra was unable to attend the Cycling Australia Awards in Adelaide to accept her awards in person.
Buchanan won the elite women's four cross race beating World Championship silver downhill medallist Tracey Hannah from Cairns after a close contest in the preliminary heats. Buchanan now leads the national series with third place Sarsha Huntington retaining her second place overall.
Buchanan and Hannah were close in the heats but according to bystanders Buchanan raised the bar in the final. "I think I just got adrenaline in the final," explained Buchanan. "I tried a different line in the first corner and it worked. I had a good start as well."
"I knew if I got around the first corner I could hold it from there," she said. With only two rounds remaining in the national series Buchanan is favourite to take out the series title for a second year in a row.
Leigh Darrell, made it a Canberra double when he won the elite men's class securing a firm hold on the series lead. Darrell did not let his guard down and won every race throughout the night. He rode the first off camber sweeper to perfection and got the edge over his opponents. Second was Thomas Hubert and third went to Queenslander Adam Nicholson. Tim Dunn had the best gate starts all night and placed fourth in the final.
After heavy rains cancelled the downhill's final runs, world ranked Nathan Rennie won the elite men's event in 0:06:47.21, well clear of current series leader Amiel Cavalier. Rennie was pleased to back up his win after the previous national round on the Gold Coast last month, but claimed the wet conditions were close to the worst he had ridden within Australia.
"There were holes everywhere and they were just filled up with water," said Rennie. "My aim was to just keep ticking it over and keep up the speed. I ran full spikes instead of regular tyres so I think I made the right choice."
Hannah won the elite's women's downhill with a time of 0:07:47.89, also backing up her win in the previous national series. Newcastle's Emma McNaughton placed second with Buchanan in third.
"It was a fairly fast run but I had a bit of a slide out, lost my footing and then I crashed again," Hannah explained.
"Overseas they would have still run the race but I think it was a good decision though," said Hannah, who was awarded at Female Mountain Biker of the Year by Cycling Australia. "Everything was wet and the track was beaten up."
Read the full coverage of the four cross and the downhill events.