Race Report: New Zealand Mountain Bike Downhill Cup - Final Round, Hunua, Auckland
The final round of The New Zealand Mountain Bike Downhill Cup played host to some of the world's top international riders and was set on the super fast and explosive Hunua track in Auckland. Check out the highlights video presented by Kingpin Bikes and the rider interviews from WynTV to see what went down!
Blenkinsop, 24, won the elite men's race in a time of 2:31.61, two seconds ahead of fellow professional Brook MacDonald (Hawkes Bay) in 2:33.01. Matt Walker, brother of Olympian Olympic BMX medalist Sarah, took third place in 2:33.33.
France's Emmeline Ragot showed her class to blitz the rest of the field in a time of 2:53.34 to win the elite women's race with the UK's Jess Stone second in 2:58.31. Alanna Columb was the first New Zealand home, in third place, with a time of 3:00.59.
Ragot, the two-time world champion, was happy with her run, but wasn't taking any risks before her professional season starts in Europe soon,
"It was my first race in a while and first proper ride on my bike. I was really enjoying it, and it was a fast track," Ragot said.
"I didn't try the big jumps, they were a bit scary and it's not prime season right now. If it were a World Cup then maybe I would try, but not here. I'm trying to stay safe."
Hot, dry conditions, combined with a fast track made for exciting racing.
The round served as the final showdown before the mountain bike national championships next weekend in Rotorua, the feature event of the inaugural Rotorua Bike Festival.
Words by: John Colthorpe (EIVOMEDIA) // Pictures by EIVOMEDIA and Simon Watts