The Oceania Mountain Bike Championships served as the continental championships for the region from March 24 to 25.
Sam Hill defended his Oceania Championships downhill gold medal at Australia's Thredbo Ski Resort by defeating rival and compatriot Nathan Rennie. For Hill, the event was a fine tune-up for the upcoming World Cup and NMBS series. Australia's mountain biker of the year will travel to the US on April 4 and begins his North American competition with the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California.
New Zealander Jennifer Makgill clocked an impressive 7:10.19 to claim her first Oceania women's title.
Meanwhile, a six month break from riding evidently did not affect New Zealand's Rosara Joseph as she crushed her cross country competition after not racing her mountain bike for eight months. Joseph rode an impressive 1:59:37 at the Oceania Mountain Bike Championships held at Thredbo on Sunday. The 24 year-old was out of sight from her competition as she took out her second Oceania cross country title.
Joseph, a Rhode Scholar, rode the quickest lap recording 22 and a half minutes. Cool conditions suited the UK based, Joseph who remained unchallenged and rode the five laps in less than two hours, nearly 13 minutes faster than her nearest rival, Australias National Champion, Tory Thomas.
"The first lap was really good then by the second and third lap I started to fade a little bit," said Joseph.
For the Oxford University law student, this was her first mountain bike race since placing 10th at the World Championships in Rotorua last August. "I was a little unsure of my form really," she said. "This is way beyond my expectations." To rub salt into the wounds, Joseph rode on a borrowed bike after her Giant frame was dinted in transit. Australian Tory Thomas held off a challenge for second from New Zealand's Kaytee Boyd, an ex-BMX racer making the move to cross country.
In the men's cross country, Australian riders dominated with current national champion Chris Jongewaard taking out the title by three minutes over Dylan Cooper and Athens Olympian Sid Taberlay. The Adelaide rider was pleased to win his first race since the national championships a month earlier.
Jongewaard rode a blistering average speed of 17.37 km per hour on a tricky and slippery 5.7 km course to finish the seven laps in 2:16:16. A puncture in the second lap delayed the Tasmanian Taberlay. "It was always going to be between Sid and I," Jongewaard said after the race.
However, Dylan Cooper was able to gain a spot and pass Taberlay and did not let him gain any ground. Cooper never threatened Jongewaard's lead and finished in second with 2:19:31. Taberlay was not disappointed with third, preferring to ride a little easier after suffering a puncture and a slip in the wet conditions.
In the Under 23 cross country division, New Zealand's Clinton Avery lead from start to finish, to take out his first Oceania men's title while the Under 23 women raced alongside Under 19 riders such as New Zealand's rider Samara Sheppard who had an impressive time of 1.24:11 for three laps riding quicker than the Under 23 riders who still had one extra lap to go. The Under 23 winner after four laps was New Zealand U23 champion Lindsay Gorrell.
For complete coverage of the Oceanias, click here.