By Karyn McQueen
In complete contrast to the Coronet Peak course, today's (Sunday January 22 2006) course at Waipara was as technical and involving as it was picturesque with a record number of riders enjoying the course in Round 3 of the 2006 New Zealand Community Trust National Series. As expected, New Zealand Commonwealth Games selection contenders Clinton Avery and Rosara Joseph both put in strong performances to further increase their prospects with solid wins in the Elite Men's and Women's Categories.
The much anticipated return of Rosara Joseph (Christchurch) to the National Series saw Joseph sharing the lead with the current series leader Annika Smail (Rotorua) until midway through the third lap where Joseph broke away to finish with an 18 second lead. Rotorua's Sonia Foote comfortably held onto third position throughout the entire race to finish 3 minutes behind Joseph.
Clinton Avery (Rotorua) once again showed he was a serious Commonwealth Games contender with a convincing win over Marcus Roy (Te Anau) after Kashi Leuchs flatted early in the race. Leuchs displayed a fiercely competitive attitude in fighting back to eleventh position from twenty eighth. Brendan Sharratt (Wanganui) backed up his first round podium finish with another third placing with a 1.56.06 hour race.
It was a family affair with Avery's Mum Mary Ann and younger sister Monique both winning their classes also.
All riders were extremely enthusiastic with "The Vulcaniser" course with the tight and twisting single track through native forest and rolling farmland and special thanks must go to the landowner Ross Little and family for opening up their working farm to the National Series.
Next weekend's National Championships in Nelson will see the nations best Cross Country riders competing for Oceania and World selection. In addition to the usual Downhill and Cross Country, Hill Climb and Four Cross will also be contested.
For the rest of the race report and partial results, click here.