Road talent Bennett finds his mountain bike form

Sheppard takes one after two-in-a-row by Laird

Nelson threw all it could weather wise at the New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup competitors this weekend, but it wasn't enough to dampen some extremely close competition in the South Island Mountain Bike Cup Finals.

Forecast "showers" on Friday morphed into intermittent deluges for cross country competitors trying to practice on the 7km Nelson race course at the Codgers Mountain Bike Trail complex. The already challenging course took on new dimensions for race day, with a greasy and slick surface presenting for the morning race start for age group categories.

Lap numbers for the multi-lap races had to be adjusted due to the conditions to suit the multi-lap format. Some drying did take place in time for the 2:00 pm elite / under 23 / under 19 race start, but technical riding prowess was nonetheless rewarded. Attrition played its part, but it couldn't detract from the high level of competition on display.

The men's elite and under 23 cross country race included riders like local phenom George Bennett. Bennett spent a New Zealand winter last year racing on the road in Europe and used this third round of the New Zealand MTB Cup to put on a display of brutal force at the front of the field.

Bennett got clear from the start of the five-lap race and had built up a lead of 40 seconds over current New Zealand National Champion Stu Houltham after the first lap. He kept the pressure on, and Houltham, Carl Jones and Brendon Sharratt all attempted to reel him in to no avail.

Bennett won by an impressive margin of two and a half minutes over the quality field. For Bennett, this victory represented validation of his potential to dominate in the Olympic format of cross country racing, something which has eluded him in New Zealand for several years.

The Under 19 junior men's race was also on course with the elites and under 23s, and Blenheim charger Richard Anderson returned from injury to also dominate his competitors in a wonderfully aggressive display. Anderson mixed it up at the front with the elites, and circulated the Codgers course during his four-lap race, posting even quicker lap times than Bennett did.

The elite and under 23 women's cross country presented an opportunity for Rotorua's Samara Sheppard to pull a win after two Cup defeats by Christchurch's Amy Laird. Sheppard came to Nelson focussed and desparate to stand on the top step of the podium, and like Bennett, kept the pressure on from the start to get clear on the second lap. She won ahead of Laird by over three minutes.

Sheppard's first real smile of the day came as she crossed the finish line after a well deserved race win, with Laird racing herself to a standstill for a battling second.

In the South Island Cup series, which included three rounds, Sharratt took the win as did Laird.

The New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup takes a week's break and will return on February 6-7 for round four with the downhill in Rotorua and the cross country in Tokoroa.

Full Results

Elite and Under 23 men (* indicates U23)
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1George Bennett*2:17:33 
2Carl Jones0:02:31 
3Brendon Sharratt0:02:45 
4Stuart Houltham0:05:50 
5Ash Hough0:09:24 
6Gavin McCarthy0:12:09 
7Dayle McLauchlan0:12:44 
8Brent Miller0:13:45 
9Alexander Revell0:13:56 
10Jeremy Inglis0:27:53 
11Michael Frei*0:34:49 
DNFAdrian Retief*  
DNFEthan Glover*  
Elite and U23 women (* indicates U23)
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Samara Sheppard*2:14:55 
2Amy Laird0:03:33 
3Katherine O Neill0:08:42 
4Raewyn Morrison0:10:17 
5Cathy Hamer0:10:49 
6Sara Taylor0:16:55 
7Adrienne Hooper*0:18:54 
8Hannah Thorne0:21:09 
Under 19 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Richard Anderson1:48:18 
2Bradley Hudson0:08:21 
3Locky McArthur0:09:26 
4Logan Horn0:11:15 
5Jamie Hawke0:15:44 
6Sam Shaw0:18:48 
7George Murray0:28:46 
8Reece O Connell0:36:03 
DNFJoel MacMillan  
DNFDominic Furkert  
DNFHamish Ross  
Junior Under 17 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sean Hambrook1:27:52 
2Craig Oliver0:01:03 
3Layton Murdoch0:08:53 
4Jonty Sanders0:12:34 
5Andrew Jeffries0:30:04 
6Edward Palmer0:31:07 
7Jacob Stuthridge0:32:31 
8Allister Meffen0:48:16 
DNFJake Glover  
Junior Under 17 women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kayley Murdoch1:20:08 
2Caitlin Holmes0:05:10 
Senior men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Chris Sharland1:31:49 
2Lance Griffin0:14:27 
Senior women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Emma Prestidge1:39:04 
Master 1 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Chris Burr1:32:57 
2Chris Taylor0:04:53 
3Matt Amos0:12:15 
Master 1 women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Brenda Clapp1:10:46 
2Sarah Beadel0:05:47 
3Melissa Newell0:08:58 
Master 2 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Blair Stuthridge1:31:40 
2Geoffrey Notman0:03:03 
3Nick Spoencer0:03:59 
4Paul McNabb0:04:48 
5Derek Milne0:04:54 
6Wade Jennings0:09:22 
7Andy MacDonald0:14:03 
8Tim Bygate0:15:35 
9Ken Anderson0:22:13 
10Craig Buist0:28:41 
11Ross Castle0:36:27 
Master 3 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Neil Averis1:53:13 
2Andrew Scott0:01:21 
Junior under 15 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ben Oliver1:37:49 
2Mitchell Campbell0:14:41 
3Ethan Jacobs0:19:55 
4Jordan Castle0:41:23 
Fastest average lap - all men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Richard Anderson0:27:04 
2George Bennett0:00:27 
3Carl Jones0:00:57 
4Brendon Sharratt0:01:00 
5Stuart Houltham0:01:37 
6Bradley Hudson0:02:06 
7Sean Hambrook0:02:13 
8Ash Hough0:02:19 
9Locky McArthur0:02:22 
10Craig Oliver0:02:34 
11Logan Horn0:02:49 
12Gavin McCarthy0:02:52 
13Dayle McLauchlan0:02:59 
14Brent Miller0:03:12 
15Alexander Revell0:03:14 
Fastest average lap - all women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Samara Sheppard0:33:44 
2Amy Laird0:00:53 
3Brenda Clapp0:01:39 
4Katherine O Neill0:02:10 
5Raewyn Morrison0:02:34 
6Cathy Hamer0:02:42 
7Sara Taylor0:04:13 
8Sarah Beadel0:04:33 
9Adrienne Hooper0:04:43 
10Hannah Thorne0:05:17 
11Melissa Newell0:06:08 
12Kayley Murdoch0:06:20 
13Caitlin Holmes0:08:55 
14Emma Prestidge0:15:48 

South Island Cup - final standings & New Zealand MTB Cup standings after 3 rounds

( (
Elite and U23 men (* indicates U23)
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Brendon Sharratt169 pts
2Brent Miller125 
3Ethan Glover*92 
4Dayle McLauchlan78 
5Alexander Revell77 
6George Bennett*60 
7Carl Jones54 
8Marc Metzler*49 
9Stuart Houltham45 
10Oliver Whalley42 
10Ash Hough42 
12Gavin McCarthy40 
13Michael Crawford38 
14Jeremy Inglis36 
15Michael Frei*35 
Elite and U23 women (* indicates U23)
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Amy Laird174 pts
2Samara Sheppard*149 
3Cathy Hamer135 
4Sara Taylor127 
5Hannah Thorne114 
6Adrienne Hooper*113 
7Sara MacDonald99 
8Harriet Harper49 
8Katherine O Neill49 
10Raewyn Morrison45 
11Bridget Keegan42 
12Erin Greene40 
13Anja McDonald38 
Junior Under 19 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Bradley Hudson168 pts
2Logan Horn139 
3Locky McArthur103 
4Samuel Shaw85 
5Thomas Prestidge82 
6Anton Cooper60 
6Richard Anderson60 
8Tom Bradshaw49 
9Joel Macmillan42 
9Jamie Hawke42 
11Jordan Pearson40 
12Oli Austin39 
12George Murray39 
14Reece O Connell38 
Junior Under 19 women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Charlotte CloustonWaimautu60 pts
Junior Under 15 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ben OliverRangiora54 pts
2Mitchell CampbellChristchurch45 
3Charlie MurrayChristchurch60 
4Craig MurrayChristchurch49 
5Ethan JacobsChristchurch49 
6Jordan CastleChristchurch49 
7Fletcher SlierendrechtNelson42 
7Lachie McGregorDunedin42 
9Daniel O BrienChristchurch40 
10Ben FrielChristchurch39 
Junior Under 15 women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Samantha Hope Dunedin  
2Laura BridgerDunedin  
Junior Under 17 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Craig OliverRangiora60 pts
2Sean HambrookNelson54 
3Jonty SandersWellington42 
4Jacob StuthridgeChristchurch45 
5Jake GloverNelson49 
6Layton MurdochHope49 
7Andrew JeffriesNelson49 
8Edward PalmerNelson49 
8Hayden CleminsonDunedin49 
10Tayia HarrisonChristchurch40 
11Fraser BrownDunedin40 
12Allister MeffenNelson40 
Junior Under 17 women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kayley MurdochNelson60 pts
2Caitlin HolmesNelson54 
3Mary GrayDunedin54 
Senior men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lance GriffinChristchurch49 pts
2Chris SharlandNelson49 
3Justin LeovDunedin60 
3Matty GrahamDunedin60 
5Nick KennedyChristchurch54 
6Ben ShalerDunedin54 
7Cameron ColeChristchurch45 
7Stephen BlissettSouthland45 
9Nick ClarkChristchurch42 
10Paul HusfordChristchurch40 
11Carl SchugersChristchurch39 
12Ben ThomasChristchurch38 
13Ashley StapletonChristchurch37 
14Dayne McKnightRangiora36 
Senior women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Emma PrestidgeTimaru49 pts
2Sabrina JonnierFrance60 
2Sarah HughesDunedin60 
4Celia LieDunedin60 
5Kristie FogartyChristchurch54 
6Madeline TaylorNapier45 
6Pippa HoldomChristchurch45 
Master 30+ men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Chris TaylorChristchurch60 pts
2Matt AmosWellington45 
3Chris BurrNelson45 
4Richard HaymanChristchurch54 
5Michael MartinChristchurch49 
5Ross McCullochChristchurch49 
7James MarshallChristchurch42 
8Darron CharityChristchurch40 
9Brent FogartyChristchurch39 
Master 30+ women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Melissa NewellChristchurch60 pts
2Andrea MurrayChristchurch54 
3Sarah BeadelRotorua49 
4Brenda ClappNelson49 
5Pam ThompsonInvercargill49 
6Jenny LairdNew Plymouth45 
Master 40+ men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Blair StuthridgeChristchurch60 pts
2Nick SpencerChristchurch40 
3Craig BuistChristchurch39 
4Paul McNabbChristchurch45 
5Andy MacDonaldNelson45 
6Geoffrey Notman45 
6Al KillickChristchurch54 
8Ray HopeDunedin54 
8Tim HobanChristchurch49 
10Derek MilneNelson49 
10Rob SoothillChristchurch42 
12Wade JenningsNelson42 
13Tim BygateNelson42 
13Stephen GuntherChristchurch38 
15Ken AndersonBlenheim38 
15Carlton PezaroChristchurch37 
17Harry BrouwerChristchurch36 
18Ross CastleAshurst36 
Master 50+ men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Neil AverisChristchurch60 pts
2Hamish GrantChristchurch54 
3Andrew ScottNelson54 
4Jeff LongChristchurch49 


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