Hill and Buchanan win Gravity Cup opener

Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles) and Caroline Buchanan claimed victory in the elite men's and women's downhill race in the opening round of the Subaru Gravity Cup.

A former three-time downhill world champion, Hill posted the fastest seeding time before riding into gold and the overall Gravity Cup leader's jersey over Chris Kovarik (Intense Cycles) and Connor Fearon (Kona Factory).

"With the first race of the year, I'm feeling a bit of pressure and it's good to win," Hill said. "I'm with a new team this year, so I put a bit of pressure on myself to prove the bike's worthy of winning," he said.

Hill took to the challenging Mount Buller course in a time of 3:22.02, 1.66 seconds ahead of Victorian Kovarik (3:23.68) and a further 2.06 seconds to senior debutant Fearon (3:24.08).

"It was a pretty tough track today. It was really loose and dusty and there were a couple of big holes and not a lot of room for mistakes," Hill said.

Second placed Kovarik said the course made his run challenging. "The course got a little rougher from yesterday's practice, and I wasn't sure if I would be able to go faster than yesterday's seeding time but I had to pedal a lot more in the flatter sections to make up time," Kovarik described.

"Having a guy like Sam here is definite motivation, to compare times to, to challenge yourself."

Third placed Fearon said his first run in the senior ranks was nothing less than what he'd expected.

"All last year I was comparing my times and I was consistently in the top 10. I wanted to get top three today because Sam and Chris are a step above the rest - I am happy with third behind guys like them," said Fearon.


In the women's race it was Buchanan who shocked rivals in her return to the sport, finishing the final run a huge 10 seconds faster than her seeding time, clinching the win and the Gravity Cup leader's jersey.

Former Canadian national downhill champion Claire Buchar (Intense Cycles) placed second and 2004 cross country Olympian Lisa Mathison (Planet Cycles) came in third.

A 2012 London BMX Olympian, Buchanan completed the course in 4:06.42 seconds - 0.72 seconds ahead of Buchar (4:07.14) and 9.18 seconds over Mathison (4:16:32).

"I was hoping to pull off a time about four seconds quicker than my seeding and my goal was to be top three so it's pretty surprising to come away with the win," Buchanan said.

"I seem to be adapting quite quickly to the downhill bike after being away from the sport for so long," Buchanan said of her four years away from downhill mountain biking.

"I feel like I'm at the right level I need to be right now."

Second placed Buchar had only praise for her downhill rival. "Caroline's strong and really skilled and talented for this type of racing."

The race was Buchar's first since returning to competition following breaking her collar bone two months ago. "I haven't had a lot of time on the downhill bike. I didn't have huge expectations on myself - It's more mentally challenging come back from injury just trying to get back to speed and not be scared of crashing.

"I think I can take the jersey off Caroline if I stay healthy and get strong and put more time into training," the Canadian said defiantly.

Third place Lisa Mathison made the switch to downhill in 2012 and admits she still has a lot to learn about the sport. "I made a little mistake and it cost a little bit of time but I wouldn't have been able to catch those girls," Mathison said.

U19 men

In the men's under 19 event it was 17-year-old Thomas Crimmins (Giant Bicycles) who conquered the mountain and earned himself the Gravity Cup leader's jersey.

"I was really happy with my ride today," Crimmins said. "I am definitely happy with taking the Gravity Cup lead after round one with only three rounds this series."

U19 women

In the women's under 19 event Tegan Molloy recorded the Gravity Cup round one win while Danielle Beecroft leads the general classification after Molloy failed to complete her seeding run.

"I had a big stack in seeding and had to get carried out so I was happy to get down the hill in one piece today," Molloy said.

Full Results

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Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Samuel Hill0:03:22.02
2Chris Kovarik0:00:01.66
3Connor Fearon0:00:02.06
4Ben Cory0:00:04.29
5Graeme Mudd0:00:05.64
6Brendan Moon0:00:09.21
7Rick Boyer0:00:09.64
8David McMillan0:00:09.68
9Joe Vejvoda0:00:09.77
10Jared Rando0:00:13.58
11Trent Piribauer0:00:14.60
12Henry Blake0:00:14.80
13Luke Ball0:00:15.50
14Rhys Atkinson0:00:17.50
15Jack Moir0:00:17.59
16Alex Swann0:00:18.47
17Mark Conliffe0:00:19.19
18Phillip Piazza0:00:19.85
19Liam Panozzo0:00:20.98
20Mitchell Bryant0:00:21.51
21Jeremy Powell0:00:22.89
22Max Kreuzer0:00:23.24
23Blake Nielsen0:00:23.28
24Ben Goff0:00:24.25
25Jon Odams0:00:25.62
26Angus Maddern0:00:27.86
27Barry Nobles0:00:29.08
28Ben Crundwell0:00:29.47
29Cillian Kennedy0:00:31.31
30Angus Jackson0:00:33.74
31Damon Cuotts0:00:34.16
32Sam Brownlie0:00:34.90
33Bruce Moir0:00:39.14
34Rex Dubois0:00:39.62
35Geoff Grennan0:00:40.79
36Remy Adderton0:00:43.08
37Daniel Wilson0:00:43.95
38Benjamin Leslie0:00:47.23
39Kyle Coutts0:01:24.23
40Ashley Maller0:00:22.77
41Dylan Prohm0:00:23.44
42Pedr Lapp0:01:09.08
DNSTimothy EatonRow 42 - Cell 2
DNSTony ScottRow 43 - Cell 2
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Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Caroline Buchanan0:04:06.42
2Claire Buchar0:00:00.72
3Lisa Mathison0:00:09.90
4Madeline Taylor0:00:17.38
5Shelly Flood0:00:36.33
6Jacqui Lovett0:00:46.24
7Philippa Rostan0:00:53.59
8Victoria Armstrong0:01:31.27
9Tracey Knight0:01:34.85
10Kelly Bayliss0:01:37.32
DNFTrudy NicholasRow 10 - Cell 2
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Under 19 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Thomas Crimmins0:03:27.91
2Dean Lucas0:00:01.75
3Luke Ellison0:00:02.48
4Aiden Varley0:00:04.61
5Ben Hill0:00:06.10
6Peter Knott0:00:08.02
7Matthew McCorkell0:00:09.00
8Brent Smith0:00:10.47
9Brent Capel0:00:10.98
10Cameron Ryan0:00:15.61
11David Maggs0:00:17.29
12Jackson Davis0:00:20.61
13Benjamin Dengate0:00:24.01
14Hayden Poptie0:00:24.90
15Geoff Wilson0:00:26.59
16Connor Mackne0:00:27.64
17Zac Moss0:00:28.36
18Connor Read0:00:28.70
19Cody Love0:00:29.10
20Lachlan Davies0:00:41.68
21Jack Lynch0:00:42.60
22Jake Morrison0:00:49.21
23Nicholas Greentree0:01:04.83
24Adam Dickson0:01:11.51
25Connor O'Dwyer0:01:13.97
26Connor Surgeoner0:01:48.17
27Max Keys0:01:19.96
DNSOliver ZwarRow 27 - Cell 2
DNSScott BowdenRow 28 - Cell 2
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Under 19 women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tegan Molloy0:04:09.65
2Danielle Beecroft0:00:04.54
3Elle Wale0:01:23.40
4Gemma Greentree0:06:46.95
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Under 17 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Max Warshawsky0:03:33.71
2Andrew Crimmins0:00:00.20
3Callum Morrison0:00:04.36
4Louis Armitage0:00:06.89
5Joel Willis0:00:08.29
6Remy Morton0:00:08.92
7Dan Booker0:00:16.26
8Jackson Frew0:00:16.71
9Cosi Hofman0:00:23.95
10Alec Reid0:00:25.18
11Luke Donnelly0:00:25.56
12Josh Pollock0:00:34.23
13Jackson White0:00:36.34
14Henry Hunt0:00:37.93
15Alex Dickson0:00:40.01
16Kyle Longmore0:00:45.80
17Riley Harman0:00:57.86
18Travis Bann0:01:23.84
DNFMatthew TaylorRow 18 - Cell 2
DNFNick BussmannRow 19 - Cell 2
DNSJoshua MatthesRow 20 - Cell 2
DNSAlex OakesRow 21 - Cell 2
DNSLiam JeffriesRow 22 - Cell 2
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Under 15 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Darcy Coutts0:04:17.68
2Christopher Findlay0:00:11.07
3Oskar White0:00:23.07
4James Findlay0:00:26.17
5=Campbell Byrne0:00:27.25
5=Riley HorsmanRow 5 - Cell 2
7Patrick Butler0:00:28.31
8Sheldon George0:00:38.47
9Matt Kelly0:00:46.39

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