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Walker earns breakthrough win at New Zealand Downhill Cup

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) TeamResult
1Matt Walker0:02:56.70
2Brook MacDonald0:00:01.38
3George Brannigan0:00:03.26
4James Dodds0:00:04.50
5Matthew Scoles0:00:04.59
6Remi Gauvin0:00:04.80
7Richard Leacock0:00:05.20
8Kieran Bennett0:00:05.31
9Reuben Olorenshaw0:00:05.46
10Hayden Lee0:00:06.22
11Bryn Dickerson0:00:08.23
12Luke Stevens0:00:08.39
13Sam Perry0:00:08.77
14Thomas Jeandin0:00:11.56
15Jamie Lyall0:00:11.94
16Glenn Hayden0:00:12.52
17Daniel Meilink0:00:12.69
18Daniel Heads0:00:12.92
19Jarrah Davies0:00:13.87
20Junya Nagata0:00:14.19
21Kazuki Shimizu0:00:15.57
22Sam Stevens0:00:20.82
23Octavio Teixeira0:00:22.65
24Martin Kuhn0:00:33.88
DNSThomas Mathews

Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarah Atkin0:03:31.98
2Gabby Molloy0:00:03.44
3Madeline Taylor0:00:06.40
4Sophiemarie Bethell0:00:20.57
5Adrienne Hooper0:00:39.34

U19 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Louis Hamilton0:03:04.82
2Jake Robinson0:00:04.77
3Lawrence Cawte0:00:05.30
4Kyle Lockwood0:00:07.25
5Jamahl Stringer0:00:12.62
6Zach Baker0:00:12.67
7Harrison Redshaw0:00:16.43
8Michael Melles0:00:17.31
9Kurt Summerfield0:00:18.11
10Jack Futter0:00:19.62
11Jackson Hine0:00:19.69
12Nick Roydhouse0:00:20.64
13Jack Dodd0:00:22.75
14Dan McCombie0:00:24.24
15Callum Sprosen0:00:25.86
16Russell March0:00:25.87
17Andy Wilson0:00:28.11
18Reuben Stovold0:00:29.58
19Danie Kattenberg0:00:31.32
20Cole Smith0:00:31.72
21Luke Hooper0:00:32.62
22Jordan Burns0:00:36.13
23Jeremy Clegg0:00:36.64
24Daniel Corbett0:00:36.98
25Alex Kennett0:00:41.66
26JD Devlin0:00:44.25
27Aled Dunn0:00:49.34
28James Shipp0:00:56.58
29Kierren Grant0:01:17.66
DNSJoseph Styles

U17 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Izac Anderson0:03:24.26
2Josh McCombie0:00:00.20
3Carl Goodwin0:00:01.67
4Kale Edwards0:00:02.08
5Scott Dockary0:00:02.80
6Ezra Adams0:00:06.32
7Hayden Melles0:00:07.50
8Nathan Saunders0:00:09.19
9Peter Bethell0:00:09.31
10Jack Humphries0:00:09.66
11Logan Henry0:00:13.29
12Jordan Titchmans0:00:14.22
13Nick Disher0:00:15.59
14Nick Goodson0:00:22.31
15Thomas Goodman0:00:22.65
16Daniel Horgan0:00:23.08
17Matt Lawton0:00:28.24
18Aaron Ewen0:00:29.82
19Daniel Sinclair0:00:32.50
20Paddy MacKenzie0:00:33.07
21Toa Palanihi0:00:34.78
DNFJonathon Kennett
DNFTane Wilson
DNSConnor Hamilton

Senior men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Scott McGregor0:03:10.58
2Steven Pattle0:00:01.35
3Kurt McDonald0:00:02.58
4Tristan Ratcliffe0:00:06.68
5Asher Ellery0:00:06.85
6Devlin Montana0:00:07.08
7Tyler Perrin0:00:07.15
8Carl Edmondson0:00:08.61
9Andy Sherratt0:00:11.02
10Tyler Brooker0:00:11.39
11Phillip Marfell0:00:12.42
12Jason Lang0:00:13.04
13Leonard Sonntag0:00:14.52
14Brendon Lumsden0:00:15.75
15Tom Humphries0:00:16.19
16Thilo Rucknagel0:00:17.53
17Adam Ahmed0:00:18.48
18Ryan Hunt0:00:19.81
19Mitchell Lucas0:00:20.97
20Florian de Vires0:00:21.53
21Zachary Small0:00:21.92
22Mason Jenkins0:00:24.12
23Keita Mochizuki0:00:24.19
24Matthew Ridd0:00:26.34
25Sam Fisher0:00:26.54
26Troy Newton0:00:26.79
27Jason Conner0:00:27.16
28Brendan Regon0:00:27.73
29Scott Taylor0:00:28.79
30Cole Titchmans0:00:29.79
31Shanan Whitlock0:00:31.05
32Daniel Oosterbaan0:00:33.20
33James Robbins0:00:34.29
34Luke Wheeler0:00:35.22
35Jayden Harris0:00:35.92
36Aaron Chan0:00:40.68
37Craig Tomsett0:00:41.59
38Chris Old0:00:42.72
39David Robbins0:00:45.99
40Jaco Keyser0:00:46.26
41Jack Sharland0:00:49.90
42Rhys Dunn0:01:22.03
43Joel Tunbridge0:04:02.15
DNFKyle Stannard
DNSRobert Chappell
DNSOllie Knight
DNSStefan Keyser
DNSElliot Jenkins
DNSZac Chandler

Master 1 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Adam King0:03:13.12
2Jamie Nicoll0:00:06.04
3Craig McGinnity0:00:08.26
4Mathew McGovern0:00:10.37
5Campbell Wilson0:00:14.47
6Clinton Williams0:00:15.03
7Jeremy Jones0:00:17.65
8Kevin Warner0:00:19.41
9Mark Harrowfield0:00:20.34
10Liam O'Keeffe0:00:25.38
11Tim Warner0:00:27.44
12Shaun Hodges0:00:41.70
13Marcos Barbosa0:00:44.33
14Kerry Halse0:00:45.97
15Leon Duggan0:02:59.61
DNSTony Boroviec
DNSDarren Doell

Master 2 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Darryn Henderson0:03:22.01
2John Baddiley0:00:24.58
3Clayton Villars0:00:33.42
4Greg Larsen0:00:44.56
DNFVaughan Love

Open women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kaytee Campbell0:03:54.34
2Julie Berry0:00:02.55
3Caroline Freise0:01:16.69

U15 boys
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ihakara Pene0:03:50.62
2Jack Hale0:00:03.13
3Cole Lucas0:00:03.58
4Simon Janssen0:00:46.47
DNSDrew Simmonds
DNSJared Prescott

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