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Walker earns breakthrough win at New Zealand Downhill Cup

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Cycling News

Atkin continues undefeated streak among the women

The fourth downhill round of the NZ MTB Cup was raced in Rotorua, with the Whakarewarewa Forest throwing some surprises into the racing mix over the weekend. A hot, dry practice day on Saturday was followed by heavy overnight rain, and a slowly drying course for race day. Threatening skies thankfully held off for racing the finals, and competition was incredibly close across all categories.

None more so than in the elite men's cross country race. Former junior world champion Brook MacDonald made his return the NZ Cup this weekend after a fortnight's testing of his new World Cup team bike, and MacDonald was expected to pilot the French machine to success quickly. He seeded first and the signs were ominous for the rest of his competition. But Kawerau's Matt Walker wasn't paying any attention to pre-race form or the challenge competing against a brace of NZ's best World Cup racers presented.

Walker, often touted as the younger brother of BMX superstar Sarah, and more recently known as a four cross specialist, emerged with a breakthrough domestic win to finally prove himself as a downhill racer who can foot it with the best.

As successive elite starters dropped the quickest time by slim margins, the suspense built as the start list dwindled down to last man on the hill MacDonald. Walker threw down a stunning 2:56.70 second run from third seed, and only Matt Scoles and MacDonald could possibly beat that - neither was able to shave those crucial seconds to take the win, and Walker proudly took the top step of the podium at a national level downhill race for the first time.

The elite women's race was a fascinating contest. Although a small field, the presence of former NZ reps Gabby Molloy and Madeline Taylor at a NZ Cup race for the first time this summer presented Cup leader Sarah Atkin with a level of competition that firmly fit into the "dark horse" category. Molloy challenged first, seeding quickest of the ladies. But Atkin, just like she did at the recent national championships kept her cool, upped her game and pace and peeled seven seconds off her seeding time to win again. Atkin is still unbeaten this summer, and with building confidence and composure at every race looks to have found the kind of speed to kick on for the rest of the domestic season.

In age group categories, Louis Hamilton delivered on his home track to win the U19 men's race. In a national level category where regular wins have eluded the talented Hamilton, today he stamped his authority on his competition to take a massive five second win over riding mates and Rotorua riders Jake Robinson and Lawrence Cawte.

The U17 men's race bought a new face to the top step of the podium. Izac Anderson from the Hawkes Bay won today in his debut national level start, ahead of seasoned riders who have been honing their race craft throughout the South Island leg of the cup. With the speed Anderson showed today, it is highly likely not the last time he will be seen circulating at the head of this category.

The event proved to be a successful shakedown for hosts the Rotorua MTB Club for the March 9-11 Oceania MTB Championships. The nature and challenge of the downhill course was extremely popular with all who raced today and will provide a fantastic platform for the Oceania event, with the quality of competition rising to a continental level.

The NZ MTB Cup continues next weekend in Wellington with a double header event - the fifth round of the downhill taking place at Long Gulley on Friday and Saturday, February 17-18, with the third round of the cross country being held on Mt Victoria on Sunday February 19.

Full Results

Elite men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Matt Walker 0:02:56.70  
2 Brook MacDonald 0:00:01.38  
3 George Brannigan 0:00:03.26  
4 James Dodds 0:00:04.50  
5 Matthew Scoles 0:00:04.59  
6 Remi Gauvin 0:00:04.80  
7 Richard Leacock 0:00:05.20  
8 Kieran Bennett 0:00:05.31  
9 Reuben Olorenshaw 0:00:05.46  
10 Hayden Lee 0:00:06.22  
11 Bryn Dickerson 0:00:08.23  
12 Luke Stevens 0:00:08.39  
13 Sam Perry 0:00:08.77  
14 Thomas Jeandin 0:00:11.56  
15 Jamie Lyall 0:00:11.94  
16 Glenn Hayden 0:00:12.52  
17 Daniel Meilink 0:00:12.69  
18 Daniel Heads 0:00:12.92  
19 Jarrah Davies 0:00:13.87  
20 Junya Nagata 0:00:14.19  
21 Kazuki Shimizu 0:00:15.57  
22 Sam Stevens 0:00:20.82  
23 Octavio Teixeira 0:00:22.65  
24 Martin Kuhn 0:00:33.88  
DNS Thomas Mathews    
Elite women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Sarah Atkin 0:03:31.98  
2 Gabby Molloy 0:00:03.44  
3 Madeline Taylor 0:00:06.40  
4 Sophiemarie Bethell 0:00:20.57  
5 Adrienne Hooper 0:00:39.34  
U19 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Louis Hamilton 0:03:04.82  
2 Jake Robinson 0:00:04.77  
3 Lawrence Cawte 0:00:05.30  
4 Kyle Lockwood 0:00:07.25  
5 Jamahl Stringer 0:00:12.62  
6 Zach Baker 0:00:12.67  
7 Harrison Redshaw 0:00:16.43  
8 Michael Melles 0:00:17.31  
9 Kurt Summerfield 0:00:18.11  
10 Jack Futter 0:00:19.62  
11 Jackson Hine 0:00:19.69  
12 Nick Roydhouse 0:00:20.64  
13 Jack Dodd 0:00:22.75  
14 Dan McCombie 0:00:24.24  
15 Callum Sprosen 0:00:25.86  
16 Russell March 0:00:25.87  
17 Andy Wilson 0:00:28.11  
18 Reuben Stovold 0:00:29.58  
19 Danie Kattenberg 0:00:31.32  
20 Cole Smith 0:00:31.72  
21 Luke Hooper 0:00:32.62  
22 Jordan Burns 0:00:36.13  
23 Jeremy Clegg 0:00:36.64  
24 Daniel Corbett 0:00:36.98  
25 Alex Kennett 0:00:41.66  
26 JD Devlin 0:00:44.25  
27 Aled Dunn 0:00:49.34  
28 James Shipp 0:00:56.58  
29 Kierren Grant 0:01:17.66  
DNS Joseph Styles    
U17 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Izac Anderson 0:03:24.26  
2 Josh McCombie 0:00:00.20  
3 Carl Goodwin 0:00:01.67  
4 Kale Edwards 0:00:02.08  
5 Scott Dockary 0:00:02.80  
6 Ezra Adams 0:00:06.32  
7 Hayden Melles 0:00:07.50  
8 Nathan Saunders 0:00:09.19  
9 Peter Bethell 0:00:09.31  
10 Jack Humphries 0:00:09.66  
11 Logan Henry 0:00:13.29  
12 Jordan Titchmans 0:00:14.22  
13 Nick Disher 0:00:15.59  
14 Nick Goodson 0:00:22.31  
15 Thomas Goodman 0:00:22.65  
16 Daniel Horgan 0:00:23.08  
17 Matt Lawton 0:00:28.24  
18 Aaron Ewen 0:00:29.82  
19 Daniel Sinclair 0:00:32.50  
20 Paddy MacKenzie 0:00:33.07  
21 Toa Palanihi 0:00:34.78  
DNF Jonathon Kennett    
DNF Tane Wilson    
DNS Connor Hamilton    
Senior men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Scott McGregor 0:03:10.58  
2 Steven Pattle 0:00:01.35  
3 Kurt McDonald 0:00:02.58  
4 Tristan Ratcliffe 0:00:06.68  
5 Asher Ellery 0:00:06.85  
6 Devlin Montana 0:00:07.08  
7 Tyler Perrin 0:00:07.15  
8 Carl Edmondson 0:00:08.61  
9 Andy Sherratt 0:00:11.02  
10 Tyler Brooker 0:00:11.39  
11 Phillip Marfell 0:00:12.42  
12 Jason Lang 0:00:13.04  
13 Leonard Sonntag 0:00:14.52  
14 Brendon Lumsden 0:00:15.75  
15 Tom Humphries 0:00:16.19  
16 Thilo Rucknagel 0:00:17.53  
17 Adam Ahmed 0:00:18.48  
18 Ryan Hunt 0:00:19.81  
19 Mitchell Lucas 0:00:20.97  
20 Florian de Vires 0:00:21.53  
21 Zachary Small 0:00:21.92  
22 Mason Jenkins 0:00:24.12  
23 Keita Mochizuki 0:00:24.19  
24 Matthew Ridd 0:00:26.34  
25 Sam Fisher 0:00:26.54  
26 Troy Newton 0:00:26.79  
27 Jason Conner 0:00:27.16  
28 Brendan Regon 0:00:27.73  
29 Scott Taylor 0:00:28.79  
30 Cole Titchmans 0:00:29.79  
31 Shanan Whitlock 0:00:31.05  
32 Daniel Oosterbaan 0:00:33.20  
33 James Robbins 0:00:34.29  
34 Luke Wheeler 0:00:35.22  
35 Jayden Harris 0:00:35.92  
36 Aaron Chan 0:00:40.68  
37 Craig Tomsett 0:00:41.59  
38 Chris Old 0:00:42.72  
39 David Robbins 0:00:45.99  
40 Jaco Keyser 0:00:46.26  
41 Jack Sharland 0:00:49.90  
42 Rhys Dunn 0:01:22.03  
43 Joel Tunbridge 0:04:02.15  
DNF Kyle Stannard    
DNS Robert Chappell    
DNS Ollie Knight    
DNS Stefan Keyser    
DNS Elliot Jenkins    
DNS Zac Chandler    
Master 1 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Adam King 0:03:13.12  
2 Jamie Nicoll 0:00:06.04  
3 Craig McGinnity 0:00:08.26  
4 Mathew McGovern 0:00:10.37  
5 Campbell Wilson 0:00:14.47  
6 Clinton Williams 0:00:15.03  
7 Jeremy Jones 0:00:17.65  
8 Kevin Warner 0:00:19.41  
9 Mark Harrowfield 0:00:20.34  
10 Liam O'Keeffe 0:00:25.38  
11 Tim Warner 0:00:27.44  
12 Shaun Hodges 0:00:41.70  
13 Marcos Barbosa 0:00:44.33  
14 Kerry Halse 0:00:45.97  
15 Leon Duggan 0:02:59.61  
DNS Tony Boroviec    
DNS Darren Doell    
Master 2 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Darryn Henderson 0:03:22.01  
2 John Baddiley 0:00:24.58  
3 Clayton Villars 0:00:33.42  
4 Greg Larsen 0:00:44.56  
DNF Vaughan Love    
Open women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Kaytee Campbell 0:03:54.34  
2 Julie Berry 0:00:02.55  
3 Caroline Freise 0:01:16.69  
U15 boys
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Ihakara Pene 0:03:50.62  
2 Jack Hale 0:00:03.13  
3 Cole Lucas 0:00:03.58  
4 Simon Janssen 0:00:46.47  
DNS Drew Simmonds    
DNS Jared Prescott