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Brilliant Buchanan shines again

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Caroline Buchanan's brand is becoming well known in mountain bike circles.

Caroline Buchanan's brand is becoming well known in mountain bike circles.
(Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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The Shepparton four cross before competition started

The Shepparton four cross before competition started
(Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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The third straight of the four cross track

The third straight of the four cross track
(Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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The fourth corner on the Shepparton track with its rocky step downs

The fourth corner on the Shepparton track with its rocky step downs
(Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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One rider had a costly day reshaping his wheel in practice.

One rider had a costly day reshaping his wheel in practice.
(Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Max Hughes leads the field into turn one.

Max Hughes leads the field into turn one.
(Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Blake Neilson drops a foot out in turn one, picking up heaps of dust.

Blake Neilson drops a foot out in turn one, picking up heaps of dust.
(Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Barry Nobles was the in-form rider on Friday's competition.

Barry Nobles was the in-form rider on Friday's competition.
(Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Blake Neilson leads Max Hughes in an early moto.

Blake Neilson leads Max Hughes in an early moto.
(Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Barry Nobles works it well in the mogul section.

Barry Nobles works it well in the mogul section.
(Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Blake Neilson low and flat through the rocky section

Blake Neilson low and flat through the rocky section
(Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Max Hughes corners well in the final turn with the drop offs.

Max Hughes corners well in the final turn with the drop offs.
(Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Ryan Hunt leads into the mogul section on the first straight.

Ryan Hunt leads into the mogul section on the first straight.
(Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)
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Caroline Buchanan boosts it over a double in the mogul section.

Caroline Buchanan boosts it over a double in the mogul section.
(Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)

Round two of the Australian Mountain Bike Series may have been the first time the new four cross track in Shepparton has been raced, but it was a familiar result with World Champion Caroline Buchanan going out a convincing winner in the women's event.

In complete contrast, it was an American in his first four cross race who was the best of the men with Barry Nobles, one of the world's leading BMX riders, showing a clean pair of wheels to the Australians.

Buchanan got the better of her regular rival, Sarsha Huntington, who once again had to settle for second place just one week after collecting silver at the Australia Championships, while third went to Loren Vanetie.

To give the women more racing, they contested their earlier rounds among the 'sport' category men, which the World Champion enjoyed and also won comfortably.

"Sarsha and I have raced each other every round in the national series for the past few years and every race she is getting closer. She's top 10 in the world and awesome competition for me," the humble Buchanan said.

"Today it was really great that we were able to mix it up amongst the men which made our first three races more challenging. It was good to race against the boys again because I haven't done that since I was about 11."

On the topic of the new course, Buchanan rated as one of the best she has seen and dubbed it a world class facility with plenty of obstacles to keep you on your toes. "This place is definitely where it's at with four cross at the moment," she said.

Buchanan went onto encourage more women into the sport and showing that actions speak louder than words will be hosting an all girls clinic at Mt Buller next weekend.

The men's race was much tighter affair than the Buchanan dominated women's event.

Nobles, all the way from Alabama, went into the final as the favourite thanks to his strong performances in the earlier rounds despite it being his first four cross event.

He got the jump out of the gate but national series leader David Habicht and Richard Levinson closed in on him at the first turn.

Levinson provided the biggest challenge into turn two and three even managing to take the lead momentarily.
However, the American didn't come all the way down under to surrender his strong position on the track easily and fought his way back to take the win.

Levinson, in his desperation, lost control on the last corner to be overtaken by Habicht who claimed second to hold onto his national series lead. Levinson took third with fourth going to Michael Jobson.

"We jumped out of the gate and it was all pretty even," a jovial Levinson said. "I took the first corner with a good line and from there it was anyone's (race). There was pushing, shoving, positions swapping left, right and centre and it was just good awesome racing. Some good fun."

But it was the American four cross newbie, Nobles, who really turned heads, putting his vast BMX experience to good use with so many similarities between the two styles of racing.

"I've always wanted to do it and always had a four cross bike," Nobles said of his win on debut.

"I worked myself up a little bit for the final and coming out of the gate I didn't feel anywhere near as strong as I did earlier in the day. I just wasn't relaxed enough but I did manage to hold them off to the end."

Nobles missed his chance to make the US BMX team for the Beijing Olympics due a knee injury six months before the Games and now has London 2012 in his sights.

In the Under 19 men's race Blake Nielson took the win, and Canberra's Max Hughes was too good the Under 17 race.

Racing in round two of the Australian Mountain Bike Series continues in Shepparton over the weekend with the cross country being contested on Saturday and the downhill on Sunday.

Full Results

Elite men Semi-finals, heat 1
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Barry Nobles
2David Habicht
3Diego Alvaro
4Tom Armitage

Elite men Semi-finals Heat 2
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Richard Levinson
2Michael Jobson
3Cody Eichhorn
4Ryan Hunt

Elite men Finals, Heat 1
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Barry Nobles
2David Habicht
3Richard Levinson

Elite men Finals, Heat 2
#Rider Name (Country) Team
4Michael Jobson
5Cody Eichhorn
6Ryan Hunt
7Tom Armitage

Elite women finals
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Caroline Buchanan
2Sarsha Huntington
3Loren Vanetie

Under 19 men finals
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Blake Nielson
2James Shepherd
3Joe Vejvoda
4Connor Fearon

Under 17 men finals
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Max Hughes
2Cameron Ryan
3Jordan Butler
4Luke Ellison

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