Experience proves key in the conditions at national schools MTB





Experienced proved the key in the wet and slippery conditions for downhill competition on day two of the National Schools Mountain Bike Championships in Dunedin.

Albert Snep from Scots College, Wellington in action in the downhill competition at the National Schools Mountain Bike Championships presented by EVO Cycles at Signal Hill, Dunedin. Photo Credit: Kane Fleury Photography

New Zealand under-19 champion Jess Blewett from Wakatipu High School in Queenstown claimed female under-20 title while Wellington’s Albert Snep (Scots College), who competed on the world circuit in Europe this year, won the male under-20 honours.

The event, hosted by Mountain Biking Otago and presented by Evo Cycles, has attracted over 400 riders from an impressive 110 schools around the country, with riders facing the demanding test of Signal Hill, made more challenging with wet conditions overnight and some rain throughout the day.

Blewett held off the challenge to be five seconds clear of Mt Hutt College rider Caitlin Titheridge, who was third in the enduro competition on day one.

Snep clocked the fastest time of the day with a 3:19.13 run to finish just over a second clear of Nelson College rider Todd Ballance, a joint winner of the enduro.

“It was pretty good the whole way through. I had a couple of squirly sections and I slipped a bit at the bottom but besides that it was really good. I am really happy to be up here racing and thanks to the people who have put it on,” said Snep.

Mount Hutt College rider Reilly Duff followed up victory in the South Island Championships to claim the under-17 male title in a tight battle with Riley Adlam (Wakatipu High) and Sam Weir (Riccar3ton High).

“I kept my cool and knew if I stayed on, it would be whoever got down the hill fastest and it worked out well. The track was a lot different than the seeding run when it was quite wet. It was a lot drier than I thought it would be and I could probably have pushed harder if I knew it was as dry as it was.”

Wanaka’s Kalani Muirhead made it two titles in two days in winning the female under-17 downhill to go with the enduro win on day one. The under 16 winner from last year and current South Island champion dominated her competition in the challenging conditions.”

“It started raining just before we went down which made it interesting. The tracks were ok in the rock garden and through the trees they were pretty dry but as soon as you got out into the open it was definitely muddier. I slipped everywhere when I touched my brakes. I had one crash which wasn’t too bad and got down in one piece.”

Former world BMX age group medallist Sacha Earnest (AGC Parnell) impressed in winning the female under-14 title as did Leah Smith in the under-15 after finishing second in the enduro.

Kaikoura’s Oli Clark was the other double winner, claiming the male under-13 downhill in emphatic fashion after an impressive enduro victory.

Focus moves to the cross-country on the final day of competition in Dunedin on Sunday.

Results, Day 2, Downhill:

Males, under 13: Oli Clark (Kaikoura High) 3:44.27, 1; Jack Collins (Christchurch South Intermediate)  4:16.30, 2; Rory Meek (Remarkables Primary) 4:19.00, 3. Under 14: Ryan Hastings (John Paul College) 3:54.34, 1; Luke Wayman (Christchurch South Intermediate) 4:02.63, 2; Benjamin Sziranyi (Bohally Intermediate) 4:07.52, 3. Under 15: Seth Buckley (Nayland College: 3:45.52, 1; Patrick Duff (Mount Hutt College) 3:48.86, 2; James Elkington (Waimea College) 3:50.05, 3. Under 16: Marcus Blair (Cashmere High) 3:32.72, 1; Cameron Beck (John Paul College) 3:33.46, 2; Nico Arnold (Lincoln High) 3:40.51, 3. Under 17: Reilly Duff (Mount Hutt College) 3:31.53, 1; Riley Adlam (Wakatipu High) 3:34.12, 2; Sam Weir (Riccarton High) 3:36.58, 3. Under 20: Albert Snep (Scots College) 3:19.13, 1; Todd Ballance (Nelson College) 3:20:44, 2; Indy Hawthorne (Shirley Boys) 3:24.94, 3.

Females, under 13: Juliet Freeman (Mt Pleasant) 7:09.40, 1; Amy Benson (Mt Aspiring College) 7:14.46, 2; Hayley Harris (Terrace School) 7:43.28, 3. Under 14: Sacha Earnest (ACG Parnell) 5:17.48, 1; Winnifred Goldsbury (Beckenham) 6:04.69, 2; Grace Trotter (Ashburton Intermediate) 13:02.53, 3. Under 15: Leah Smith (Cashmere High) 4:43.82, 1; Awen Lloyd (Nelson College) 5:05.38, 2; Caitlyn Flavell (John Paul College) 5:44.44, 3. Under 16: Abby Ross (Craighead Diocesan) 3:56.88, 1; Rebecca Hufflett (Nelson College) 5:00.34, 2; Rachel Cunningham (Taieri College) 6:04.90, 3. Under 17: Kalani Muirhead (Mt Aspiring College) 5:01.34, 1; Emma Wilson (John Paul High) 5:16.05, 2; Millie Day (Kapiti College) 5:00.34, 2; Rachel Cunningham (Taieri College) 6:04.90, 3. Under 20: Jess Blewett (Wakatipu High) 5:06.59, 1; Caitlin Titheridge (Mt Hutt College) 5:11.84, 2; Maia Jowett (Wakatipu High) 5:34.56, 3.