Graves survives scare for four cross championship win

Huntington comfortably earns women's title

2009 world champion Jared Graves escaped a scare in the final of the elite men's four cross to take out his fourth national mountain bike championship at the 2011 Australian Mountain Bike Championships in Adelaide. And in the elite women's event, Queensland's Sarsha Huntington finished one better than her 2010 effort to comfortably claim the Australian championship jersey.

After dominating in the early rounds, Graves found himself in a much hotter final surviving a clash with New South Wales' Graeme Mudd on the second last corner to take out the event.

Thrilled to compete against his hero, 16-year-old Joe Vejvoda avoided trouble to put in an impressive performance to take the silver medal. Queensland's Richard Levinson took out the bronze, whilst Mudd dusted himself off after his clash with Graves to roll across the finish line in the fourth and final position.

Graves, the current UCI world number 1, acknowledged he had to fight hard for the victory. "It definitely didn't come easy in the final. I didn't know exactly what lines I should be taking and Graeme was pulling some good insides, and it definitely made it an interesting race," Graves said.

"I thought I was coming in tight (to the second last corner) but he just came in hot and a bit tighter. I started sliding and he started sliding a bit more and I was pretty lucky not to go down with him."

Graves, who will hit the track again for the downhill competition on Saturday, will return home to Toowoomba for a stint of training before heading overseas for the World Cup series and world championships where he will attempt to claim back the rainbow jersey after a silver medal performance in 2010.

"I know I still have a bit of work to do, but it's still another two months until the first World Cup and I feel like I am riding good so looking forward to it," he said.

In a far more one-sided affair, current Oceania champion Sarsha Huntington rode to a comfortable victory ahead of Canberra's Julia Boer and fellow Queenslander Jayne Rutter.

After working hard to secure an ideal gate for the final, Huntington went in with confidence but could not hide her excitement as she crossed the finish line. "It has been a long time coming, so I am really excited," Huntington said.

"I just knew I had to get a good gate. I feel really comfortable on the track. I raced it last year with Caroline (Buchanan) and once I got my good gate I knew could just throw rubber on the ground."

Buchanan was absent from this year's national competition.

Wrapping up the four cross competition, New South Wales' Timothy Kmetyk and Canberra's Stephen Henderson won the male under 17 and 15 events respectively.

The 2011 Australian Mountain Bike Championships continue Friday with the cross country competition for elite men and women, under 23 and under 19 categories. Four-time national champion and current national series leader, Chris Jongewaard and Tasmania's golden girl and defending national champion, Rowena Fry, will be the pair to beat in elite battle.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jared Graves  
2Joe Vejvoda  
3Richard Levinson  
4Graeme Mudd  
5Michael Young  
6Jared Rando  
7Matthew Willoughby  
8Cody Eichhorn  
9Alex Lloyd  
10Ryan Hunt  
11Ashley Gray  
12Ben Matthews  
13Blake Nielson  
14Ryan Chesney  
15Jesse Sutton  
16Sean Fitzpatrick  
17Scott Roberts  
18Ngari Jenkins  
19Mitchell Ramm  
20Matt Pearce  
3David Habicht  
Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarsha Huntington  
2Julia Boer  
3Jayne Rutter  
4Natasha Bonney  
5Emily Hockey  
Under 17 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Timothy Kmetyk  
2Aidan Vahtrik  
3Luke Ellison  
4Cameron Ryan  
5Curtis Dowdell  
6Jackson Davis  
7Harrison Reibelt  
8Cody Barker  
9Sam Rohdmann  
9Loughlin Murphy  
9Daniel James Wade  
12Jasper Hodgson  
DNSDaniel Campbell  
Under 17 women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Danielle Beecroft  
2Loren Vanetie  
Under 15 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Stephen Henderson  
2Trent Ellison  
3Callum Morrison  
4Jackson Frew  
5Matt Ellison  
Sport men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Raymond Ross  
2Tom Gilfedder  
3Warrick McNab  
4Chad Wilson  
5Andrew Pannam  
6Lee McNab  

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