Coronet Peak opened its slopes today to a new breed of speed racers, and with no skis in sight, it was all about the bike as over 160 of the nation's top mountain bike downhillers trialed the freshly built course. In this, the second round of the 2006 National Mountain Bike Series, Nathan Rank (Levin) was the fastest elite man, and Vanessa Quin (Tauranga) backed up her Round 1 victory with another solid first place.
With valuable UCI points up for grabs, it was a tight competition in the elite men's division. For the second week in a row, Glenn Haden (third placing) shared the podium with Rankin and Justin Leov (Blenheim), recently returned from the international competitive circuit, finish second. Australian elite rider Justin Havukainen (fifth) was a surprise entry and added an international flavour to the elite men's division.
In the women's race, Quin laid a challenge to her competitors with the fastest seeding time, which was repeated in the race run when she won by more than six seconds from second place Jennifer Makgill (Auckland). Visiting Austrian rider Helena Fruhwirth made her debut as a place getter in third.
Riders, local track builders and Coronet Peak staff were rapt with how the new track had bedded in during competition, which will remain open to the public over the next couple of days. Visiting international commissaire Peter Blakey from Australia commented on the high standard of organisation for the event in a brand new location. "It was fantastic to see the number and calibre of riders who travelled from all over the country to the event," he said.
For brief results, click here.