Blenkinsop and Columb fastest gravity riders in Levin

Close racing in round three of New Zealand Downhill MTB Series

Wanganui professional Sam Blenkinsop claimed a second victory in the downhill mountain bike cup series in Levin on Saturday, after blitzing the competition in qualifying. Blenkinsop's time of 2:52.89 was enough to take the lead from Kieran Bennett, who was just over one second behind in 2:54.17. Hometown rider Nathan Rankin took third with 2:55.18.

The 24-year-old Blenkinsop was relishing the chance to ride in his home country, before he heads back overseas to start the European mountain bike season.

"I always have fun riding in New Zealand; it's just like riding with your friends and having a fun time. It was good out there today, I didn't really want to race, I just wanted to keep doing runs. I was having fun the whole weekend," said Blenkinsop.

"It's always a good thing to do before the (European) season. We're a lot luckier, all the other riders over there are in winter, so we get an advantage to be able to ride at this time of year and have beautiful weather."

Blenkinsop, who rides for professional mountain bike team Lapierre International, won the previous round of the series at Mt Hutt two weeks ago. It was his first major win after breaking his leg 12 months ago.

Blenkinsop's previous results include third at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2011, and numerous UCI Mountain Bike World Cup podiums.

Alanna Columb, 24, of Queenstown, also retained her top spot after qualifying to win the elite women's race in a time of 3:34.86. Christchurch's Amy Laird took second with 3:42.73, and UK rider Jess Stone was denied a third consecutive win with a time of 3:44.04 to take third place.

"I'm really happy. The track was pretty rough, and things came up in the race run like new blown-out corners, so I'm really happy with how I went," said Columb.

Hot and dry conditions had proved challenging for the riders, and elite racing was delayed by over an hour due to a serious crash on the track earlier in the day.

The series continues on Sunday, with round two of the cross country on Mt Victoria in Wellington.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sam Blenkinsop (NZl)0:02:52.89 
2Kieran Bennett (NZl)0:00:01.28 
3Nathan Rankin (NZl)0:00:02.29 
4Brook Macdonald (NZl)0:00:02.94 
5Bernard Kerr (GBr)0:00:03.37 
6Louis Hamilton (NZl)0:00:03.71 
7Cam Cole (NZl)0:00:03.82 
8Matt Walker (NZl)0:00:05.07 
9Matt Scoles (NZl)0:00:05.09 
10Reuben Olorenshaw (NZl)0:00:05.50 
11Bruni Loic (Fra)0:00:06.50 
12Wyn Masters (NZl)0:00:07.84 
13Daniel Meilink (NZl)0:00:08.09 
14Jamie Lyall (NZl)0:00:08.71 
15Bryn Dickerson (NZl)0:00:09.51 
16Yuki Kushima (Jpn)0:00:10.62 
17Tom Matthews (NZl)0:00:12.09 
18Ken Faubert (NZl)0:00:13.65 
19Gregory Brunache (Fra)0:00:15.67 
20Deon Baker (Aus)0:00:15.91 
21Frei Martin (Swi)0:00:19.97 
22Alex Holowko (GBr)0:00:25.08 
DNFSam Perry (NZl)  
DNSDes Curry (NZl)  
DNSDaniel Heads (NZl)  
Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alanna Columb (NZl)0:03:34.86 
2Amy Laird (NZl)0:00:07.87 
3Jess Stone United Kingdom0:00:09.18 
4Veronique Sandler (NZl)0:00:14.09 
5Sophie Tyas (NZl)0:00:24.88 
DNSYvonne Birker Switzerland  
U19 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lawrence Cawte (NZl)0:03:01.84 
2Michael Melles (NZl)0:00:03.92 
3Leo Sandler (NZl)0:00:04.86 
4Jamahl Stringer (NZl)0:00:07.64 
5Connor Harvey (NZl)0:00:08.56 
6Peter Bethell (NZl)0:00:08.62 
7Carl Goodwin (NZl)0:00:12.55 
8Jack Arnopp (NZl)0:00:13.23 
9Connor Hamilton (NZl)0:00:15.92 
10Cam Barrett (NZl)0:00:15.97 
11Ben Watkins (NZl)0:00:20.26 
12Tane Wilson (NZl)0:00:20.27 
13Andrew Pittams (NZl)0:00:21.34 
14Aaron Ewen (NZl)0:00:22.10 
15Andy Wilson (NZl)0:00:23.06 
16Jordan Titchmarsh (NZl)0:00:24.47 
17Caelab Drummond (NZl)0:00:25.41 
18Jack Dodd (NZl)0:00:25.47 
19Callum Sprosen (NZl)0:00:30.11 
20Ethan Burgess (NZl)0:00:34.94 
DNSKeegan Wright (NZl)  
DNSRaphael Kammlein-Cutler (NZl)  
DNSKurt Summerfield (NZl)  
DNSGeorge Grieve (NZl)  
U19 women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Phoebe Coers (NZl)0:04:14.35 
U17 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jack Humphries (NZl)0:03:10.11 
2Corey Milne (NZl)0:00:02.66 
3Jonathon Kennett (NZl)0:00:03.37 
4Ben Karalus (NZl)0:00:07.74 
5Cole Lucas (NZl)0:00:10.07 
6Hayden Melles (NZl)0:00:10.51 
7Kim Newton (NZl)0:00:10.64 
8D J Holmes (NZl)0:00:12.02 
9William Todhunter (NZl)0:00:14.11 
10Liam Jackson (NZl)0:00:14.56 
11Mathew Gillan (NZl)0:00:16.77 
12Robert Todhunter (NZl)0:00:19.49 
13Matt Lawton (NZl)0:00:21.95 
14Tom Goodman (NZl)0:00:23.42 
15Caleb Ellis (NZl)0:00:23.53 
16Moss Cruickshank (NZl)0:00:24.15 
17Blair McLeod (NZl)0:00:26.27 
18Kale Edwards (NZl)0:00:30.07 
19Nathan Saunders (NZl)0:00:36.10 
20Jordan Shadbolt (NZl)0:00:37.17 
21Caleb Burgess (NZl)0:00:41.82 
22Jake Shirley (NZl)0:00:52.79 
23Gareth Burgess (NZl)0:00:56.26 
24Bryn Clarke (NZl)0:00:59.16 
25Matt Goodson (NZl)0:01:24.77 
DNFDaniel Horgan (NZl)  
DNSCarson Rayner (NZl)  
DNSNick Goodson (NZl)  
DNSJosh Breadmore (NZl)  
DNSFinley Macdonald (NZl)  
DNSBrayden Maua (NZl)  
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