Darrell dazzles home crowd with four cross victory

Huntington takes women's win

Delighting the hometown crowd, Canberra rider Leigh Darrell claimed a convincing victory in the four cross event at the final round of the 2009-2010 Australian Mountain Bike Series in Canberra on Friday night.

After three rounds of thrilling action, the series comes to its crescendo this weekend at Stromlo Forest Park, the home of the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, where bragging rights are on the line for the overall winner of the series title.

Following his win in Thredbo last month, Darrell entered tonight's race as the slight favourite in an extremely competitive field. The 23-year-old comfortably progressed through the earlier seeding rounds, before facing New South Wales riders Michael Jobson, Alex Lloyd and Graeme Mudd in the final.

In the thrilling opening stages, the field could not be split in the first half of the race. However disaster struck the New South Wales trio at the third turn, all three getting tangled before hitting the dirt. Taking advantage of the situation, Darrell broke away for a comfortable victory.

"I came out of the gates and I was just in front," said Darrell. "Alex pulled up just next to me. We went over the second jump and we collided in the air and I nearly fell off."

"I came around the next corner and I held it together. Michael Jobson came up the inside and he washed out. I was in front coming into the second corner and I went out wide, whilst the others went inside.

"Then on that third corner I heard a big pile up behind me, and I just kept going. I just looked over my shoulder and saw that I had some clear space. I just shut it down and rolled over the finish line with a big smile on my face."

Jobson crossed the line in second place, followed by Lloyd and Mudd.

Rewarded for his consistency this season, Queenslander Richard Levinson, who won the men's elite 'B' race, collected the overall series win, finishing 12 points clear of Jobson and Ryan Hunt in the standings.

"It feels really good," said Levinson of his series title. "I've been training pretty hard over the season and I guess the consistency has really paid off."

"I really made the effort to get to every single event this year. The tracks have been pretty gnarly, and all the riders have performed pretty good. It's been so close throughout the series. Things paid off today, I just put in a solid effort and it came off."

With another polished performance, New South Wales rider Blake Nielson made a clean sweep of the series in the under 19 category, claiming his fourth consecutive win.

Tonight the 18-year-old was once again just too strong, pumping his fist in the air as he crossed the finish line, comfortably clear of Ben Matthews and Sean Fitzpatrick.

In what has been an outstanding season for the Canberra young guns, Max Hughes (under 17 men) and Jackson Frew (under 15 men) were crowned series title holders for 2010, a reward for their impressive performances over the last four months.

Following wins in Hobart, Shepparton and Thredbo, Hughes could only manage third place on the dirt tonight, but gained enough points to retain the series lead. Fellow Canberra rider Angus Easthope took out the win on his home track.

In other results, Sarsha Huntington and Harriet Burbridge-Smith took the night's win and the series title in the respective elite female and junior female categories.

Matt Patterson secured his first victory of the series in the men's sport division, but it was South Australia's Sean Anderson, the winner in Shepparton and Thredbo, who took home the series title.

James Collins finished the series on top of the standings in the veteran men's.

The action continues at Stromlo Forest Park tomorrow with the men's and women's cross country, followed by the enduro, short track and downhill on Sunday.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Leigh Darrell  
2Michael Jobson  
3Alex Lloyd  
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarsha Huntington  
Under 19 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Blake Nielson  
2Ben Matthews  
3Sean Fitzpatrick  
Junior women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Harriet Burbridge-Smith  
Under 17 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Angus Easthope  
2Luke Ellison  
3Max Hughes  
Under 15 Male
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Trent Ellison  
2Matt Ellison  
3Lachlan Barcroft  
Veteran Male
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1James Collins  
2Tom Gilfedder  
3Scott Butler  
Sport Male
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Matt Patterson  
2Rhys Edwards  
3Sean Anderson  
Men final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Richard Levinson191 pts
2Michael Jobson179 
3Ryan Hunt175 
Women final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarsha Huntington305 pts
2Caroline Buchanan  
3Jayne Rutter  
Under 19 men final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Blake Nielson320 pts
2Sean Fitzpatrick191 
3Joey Vejvoda168 
Junior women final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Harriet Burbridge-Smith160 pts
2Danielle Beecroft  
Under 17 men final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Max Hughes295 pts
2Luke Ellison178 
3Jordan Butler163 
Under 15 men final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jackson Frew123 pts
2Trent Ellison  
3Matt Ellison  
Veteran men final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1James Collins160 pts
2Daniel Burgess  
Sport men final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sean Anderson215 pts
2Matt Patterson145 
3Rhys Edwards120 
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