Zoe King and Aiden Lefmann, both from Sydney dominated the second round of the Australian MTB Series held in Illinbah last weekend.
King grabbed the lead on the first lap of the cross country and was not seen again by her competitors until the finish almost two hours later. "It was a really tough race," admitted King, "the hills certainly did hurt."
Although she planned to start conservatively, she felt good from the start and went for it. She is hoping to qualify for the single women's spot on the Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. "There's a chance, so I'm certainly going to give it a shot," she said.
King defeated Rosemary Barnes by just three minutes and Rowena Fry in third. Fry kept her series lead although she is equal in points with King.
In the men's cross country race, Lefmann seemed to follow a similar plan to King. An early attack gave him a clear lead into the first of six laps. He held off the charge for the entire two-hour race and won by about three minutes over Cal Britten and Shaun Lewis. Lefmann also took the series lead.
UCI World ranked downhillers, Tracey Hannah and Nathan Rennie proved too tough to beat in the second round of the downhill. Hannah, currently ranked third in the world, dominated the women's field and rode a respectable 3' 49.33". The 19 year-old beat second place Emma McNaughton by a massive 34 seconds over the 2.3 km course. Claire Whiteman, series leader, finished third.
"I love racing the local Australian races," said Hannah. "There is so much support."
World ranked number seven man and local Nathan Rennie left nothing to chance when he barreled down the Illinbah course in record time of 3' 13.74". He took a full six seconds off another professional rider Bryn Atkinson. Amiel Cavalier finished third.
"I've had a perfect run just one little falter," Rennie explained. Coming into the finish at a blistering pace he admitted he was going too fast. "I had to brake a bit near the finish I was cooking. The track had dried out a bit and I wanted to keep both wheels on the ground."
Jared Graves and Caroline Buchanan won the 4X.
The next round of the cross country (December 8-9) and the gravity events (December 15-16) will be held in Thredbo. For full coverage of round two of the Australian MTB Series, click here.