Masters, talented gravity juniors impress at Mountain Bike World Cup


Kiwi gravity riders made an impressive start to the Red Bull UCI Mountain Bike World Cup campaign in Leogang in Austria.

Caption: Brook MacDonald on action at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup downhill at Leogang, Austria. (Credit: Bartek Wolinski – Red Bull Content Pool).

Ed Masters (Pivot Factory) led the way with 11th placing in the elite men after a strong run in qualifying where he finished ninth fastest. The Taranaki rider backed it up to be fast through the middle stages of the final and finished strongly, placing between Loic Bruni (FRA) and Greg Minnaar (RSA), who have seven world titles between them.


Masters finished just over three seconds behind winner Troy Brosnan (Australia).


George Brannigan (Propain Factory) was 36th, Wyn Masters (GT Factory) 50th, Brook MacDonald (MS Mondraker) 50th after a promising qualifying effort, and Matt Walker (Pivot) 60th of the kiwis who qualified.


Rotorua’s Lachie Stevens-McNabb claimed a podium spot in the junior men’s downhill, finishing fifth for his YD Racing team. The national junior champion finished 3.7s behind winner Paul Menoyo Busquets (ESP) with four New Zealand juniors in the top 17 finishers.


Talented Thames prospect, Guy Johnston (The YT Mob) was eighth in 3:53.184 after qualifying ninth, with James MacDermid (YD Racing), second to Stevens-McNabb at the nationals, finished 15th after he qualified fourth fastest.


Rounding out the leading New Zealand juniors was Christchurch’s Alex Wayman (YD Racing) in 19th.


In the women’s elite competition, Queenstown’s Jessica Blewitt, the national champion, just missed out on a place in the final after placing 19th in final qualifying.


Attention turns to cross-country tomorrow with Anton Cooper (Trek Factory) on the front row of the grid, although compatriot Sam Gaze (Alpecin Fenix) is a non-starter after a knee injury restricted his preparations.