Chapman grabs top-10, Rawson medals in daunting downhill




Christchurch downhill rider Rupert Chapman scored a career-best top-10 finish on the final day of the UCI World Championship in Cairns today.

The 25-year-old, who rides for the Pivot Factory pro team, finished 10th from 68 finalists to lead the Kiwi contingent on a dusty and uniquely testing downhill course made challenging with loose conditions in the Cairns rainforest.

New Zealand grabbed a further medal with Tauranga’s Shania Rawson finishing second in the junior women’s downhill, while there were three Kiwis in the top-20 in the junior men’s competition for gravity riders.

Chapman, the 2016 New Zealand champion, finished seven seconds behind winner Loic Bruni (France) who edged out veteran Cairns star Michael Hannah by 0.3s.

The course was technical over rocks in the top section, soft and dusty jumps in the middle section, with the final part requiring pedalling speed and power.

“I am pretty stoked and had a good run. I just pedalled for the off-season in the final part of the course. I’m stoked,” Chapman said.

“My run wasn’t perfect but it was hard to have a perfect run on that course today because it was so loose. It was all I could have asked for.

“I will head home now for some time out for skiing and surfing and then get back on the bike. I am with my Pivot team again next year so I’m looking forward to a big year.”

Teammate Sam Blenkinsop placed 15th to continue his outstanding sequence of top-20 finishes that stretches back every year since his ninth placing in Scotland in 2007.

Rawson, part of the Subway Mountain Bike National Performance Hub, rode last and managed a clean run in 4:31.318 which was less than three seconds behind French winner Melanie Chappaz.

Auckland’s Liam Bethell was fastest of the Kiwi junior men finishing 15th, a spot ahead of Arrowtown’s Sam Robbie with Boaz Hebblethwaite 20th completing the riders in the top-20.


Elite men: Loic Fruni (FRA) 3:26.656, 1; Michael Hannah (AUS) 3:26.995, 2; Aaron Gwin (USA) 3:28.623, 3; Jack Moir (AUS) 3:29.257, 4; Troy Brosnan (AUS) 3:29.649, 5. Also NZers: Rupert Chapman 3:33.768, 10; Sam Blenkinsop 3:35.488, 15; Matt Walker 3:38.738, 29; Ed Masters 3:39.462, 30; Keegan Wright 3:41.557, 35; Wyn Masters 3:42.815, 40; Brook MacDonald 4:08.437, 62;

Junior women: Melanie Chappaz (FRA) 4:28.617, 1; Shania Rawson (NZL) 4:31.318, 2; Flora Lesoin (FRA) 4:35.552, 3.

Junior men: Matt Walker (GBR) 3:37.796, 1; Joe Breeden (GBR) 3:41.244, 2; Max Hartenstern (GER) 3:41.774, 3. Also NZers: Liam Bethell 3:50.095, 15; Sam Robbie 3:50.102, 16; Boaz Hebblethwaite 3:54.155, 20; Billy Meaclem 3:55.314, 22; Nils Heiniger3:57.251, 29; Josh Oxenham 3:58.128, 30; Charles Makea 4:02.794, 35.