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Darrell dazzles home crowd with four cross victory

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Leigh Darrell has daylight behind him after the crash that took out the rest of the field in the final.

Leigh Darrell has daylight behind him after the crash that took out the rest of the field in the final. (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Chris Clarke with his junior downhill development riders taking part in training

Chris Clarke with his junior downhill development riders taking part in training (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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The Stromlo four cross start ramp looks bare without the start arch from the World Championships.

The Stromlo four cross start ramp looks bare without the start arch from the World Championships. (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Richard Levinson boosts over the rocky jump at the end of the first straight

Richard Levinson boosts over the rocky jump at the end of the first straight (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Caroline Buchanan takes time from racing in preparation for gaining BMX Olympic selection.

Caroline Buchanan takes time from racing in preparation for gaining BMX Olympic selection. (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Leigh Darrell, with Michael Jobson just off his rear wheel over the rocky gap

Leigh Darrell, with Michael Jobson just off his rear wheel over the rocky gap (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Riders stop in the third turn in practice before the next of the new sections

Riders stop in the third turn in practice before the next of the new sections (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Laurence Buchanan oversees the starting procedure in Canberra.

Laurence Buchanan oversees the starting procedure in Canberra. (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Blake Nielson shows plenty of style with Ryan Hunt in practice.

Blake Nielson shows plenty of style with Ryan Hunt in practice. (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Graham Mudd makes light work of the rocky jump in the first straight.

Graham Mudd makes light work of the rocky jump in the first straight. (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Ryan Hunt feels the pressure of holding the number two plate before racing.

Ryan Hunt feels the pressure of holding the number two plate before racing. (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Graham Mudd looks confident between motos and racing.

Graham Mudd looks confident between motos and racing. (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Sarsha Huntington promotes keeping the environment clean.

Sarsha Huntington promotes keeping the environment clean. (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Michael Jobson looks smooth in the early part of the event.

Michael Jobson looks smooth in the early part of the event. (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Blake Nielson is lucky to get the win with Joe Vejoda behind falling in the second corner.

Blake Nielson is lucky to get the win with Joe Vejoda behind falling in the second corner. (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Max Hughes (in front) performs well on local soil.

Max Hughes (in front) performs well on local soil. (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Sarsha Huntington is forced to race with the men's field due to a lack of competitors.

Sarsha Huntington is forced to race with the men's field due to a lack of competitors. (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)

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

Men
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Leigh Darrell
2Michael Jobson
3Alex Lloyd

Women
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Sarsha Huntington

Under 19 men
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Blake Nielson
2Ben Matthews
3Sean Fitzpatrick

Junior women
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Harriet Burbridge-Smith

Under 17 men
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Angus Easthope
2Luke Ellison
3Max Hughes

Under 15 Male
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Trent Ellison
2Matt Ellison
3Lachlan Barcroft

Veteran Male
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1James Collins
2Tom Gilfedder
3Scott Butler

Sport Male
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Matt Patterson
2Rhys Edwards
3Sean Anderson

Men final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Richard Levinson191pts
2Michael Jobson179
3Ryan Hunt175

Women final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarsha Huntington305pts
2Caroline Buchanan
3Jayne Rutter

Under 19 men final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Blake Nielson320pts
2Sean Fitzpatrick191
3Joey Vejvoda168

Junior women final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Harriet Burbridge-Smith160pts
2Danielle Beecroft

Under 17 men final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Max Hughes295pts
2Luke Ellison178
3Jordan Butler163

Under 15 men final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jackson Frew123pts
2Trent Ellison
3Matt Ellison

Veteran men final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1James Collins160pts
2Daniel Burgess

Sport men final series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sean Anderson215pts
2Matt Patterson145
3Rhys Edwards120

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