The Subaru Australian Mountain Bike Championships will take place in Bright, Victoria this week from March 6-10 presented by Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA). Australia’s cross country, down hill and trials riders will descend on the Alpine Shire for 5 days of international standard racing.
Riders will be competing to take home the National Champion title for 2014, as well as to score valuable international ranking points. Australian athletes have an extra incentive to record points as this year sees Australia hosting a round of the World Cup series in Cairns in April. The Championship race comes two weeks after the National Series finished in Echuca and Thredbo for XCO and DH respectively.
Olympians Dan McConnell and Bec Henderson will headline the gruelling Cross Country disciplines, with both riders undefeated in the discipline in the final two rounds of the recent Subaru National Mountain Bike Series.
In 2013 the formidable McConnell won the first World Cup race of his career in Albstadt, Germany and went on to record an incredible second place in the World Cup Series for the year. Henderson had her final year in the Under 23 Category in 2013, winning two World Cup races on her way to claiming the World Cup Series title. Both riders will lead stellar fields in Bright.
That’s not to say it will be domination from the two Trek Factory Racing riders. The consistency of Cam Ivory through the season netted him the Series, and along with Michael Crosbie they are both U23 riders who could win the race. And what about Jared Graves? He stormed to the top step of the podium in the first round of the XCO Series in Adelaide but didn’t race Echuca. The women’s racing has been tight, and Peta Mullens, Tory Thomas or Jenni King could win on the day and it wouldn’t be deemed an upset. The top tier of women’s XCO is very tight at the moment.
Mick Hannah (QLD) is the reigning National Champion, and the 3rd ranked Down Hill rider in the world. He will be joined by sister, team-mate and fellow reigning National Champion Tracey Hannah in spectacular Down Hill racing.
Former dual junior world champion Troy Brosnan will also be racing, aiming for to complete the gold double coming off the back of winning the recent Subaru Australian Mountain Bike Series.
National Championships action will also take place in fast and furious Cross Country Eliminator and the highly skilled Observed Trials discipline. Watch out for Australias’ first Trials World Championships medallist Janine Jungfels (QLD) who will be attempting to defend her National Champion title.
On Monday at the Championships the Real Insurance Cross Country Marathon Series starts for 2014. The five race series across 3 states will present riders with significant challenges, not the least of which is the 3 to 4 hours that it will take the winner to complete each race.
Headlining the long-format race will be reigning National Marathon Champion and 4-time World 24 Hour racing Champion Jason English (NSW).
Alpine Shire Mayor Peter Roper said the championships event was a fantastic addition to the local events calendar.
“Not only is this a fantastic way for competitors and their supporters to enjoy everything the Alpine Shire has to offer, it also brings the exciting sport right to the doorstep of locals. We have some of the best tracks and trails for mountain biking, fantastic touring routes for road cycling and a network of shared trails for the recreational rider and families,” Cr Roper said.
Spectators are welcome at the championships free of charge. All information can be found on the event website .
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