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Elite downhill riders Rhys Willemse (QLD) and Holly Baarspul (WA) celebrated victory today taking out the 2011 UCI Oceania Championships and round four of the 2010-11 Jayco Australian Mountain Bike Series in Mt Major near Shepparton.

Rhys Atkinson (NSW) secured the overall national series jersey after placing second in the elite men’s category while national champion, Leonie Picton (VIC) who was undefeated all series until today, took out the elite women’s national series title.

"Pit Chat" from Sean Anderson and DirtTV:
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In the men’s under 19 event, world junior champion Troy Brosnan (SA) remained undefeated all series. Proving true to form, he came away with the win over fellow South Australian and national champion, Connor Fearon by just a tenth of a second.

In the elite men’s event, Willemse posted a swift time of 2:12.05 which saw him claim the leader's hot seat and a resultant nervous wait as the final six riders made their way down the course. The top two qualifiers, Rick Boyer (NSW) and Joshua Button (NSW) made their way down the mountain, however former series leader Boyer was unable to match the pace and Button ran into some bad luck with a flat rear tyre allowing Willemse to claim the win.

The newly crowned Oceania champion was over the moon with the win.  “I’m just excited, so stoked,” Willemse said. “A lot of people had been riding over the track, which made it choppy and really hard to ride. I pushed it a lot harder, and to come out on top today, I’m just stoked.”

Rhys Atkinson clocked 2:12.61 to take silver and the series title, followed by Timothy Eaton (2:13.22) with bronze.

Reigning Oceania Champion, New Zealand speedster Cameron Cole entered as the pre-race favourite but was a little off the pace today finishing in fourth position in 2:13.29. 

Elite Men Top 20 Results

In the elite women’s event earlier today, a breakthrough performance by West Australian youngster Holly Baarspul saw her collect her first senior elite title and win over national champion and series victor, Leonie Picton (VIC). 

The 18-year-old was particularly happy to wrap the season with an impressive performance given it was her first year in the senior elite category.  “I’m stoked with the win,” said Baarspul. “It’s my first year in elite and I wasn’t ever expecting a top five finish this series, so to be able to win Oceanias is pretty sick. It was awesome riding with her (Leonie Picton) all weekend, I think she rubbed off some of her winning charms onto me. She deserves the series win overall, that’s for sure.”

Elite Women's Results

The ongoing duel between national champion Connor Fearon and world junior champion Troy Brosnan came to a head in the men’s under 19 event with Brosnan taking out both the Oceania Championships and national series title. Brandon Yrttiaho (QLD) secured third position. 

“It was pretty close, it’s been close all season,” Brosnan said. “I got some pretty good support from the spectators. I just kind of let it go loose, and it got a bit wild but in the end I had a little bit in my legs, and only just got it. It’s good racing between Connor and I and hopefully it will stay like that overseas. I wanted to get the series wrapped up and to win all the races is a bonus, really good.”

U19 (Junior) Men Top 20 Results

In the overall national series standings, Brosnan and Fearon also finished in the same order. 

Kiwi rider, Sarah Atkin claimed the under 19 women’s Oceania title and at just seventeen years of age was the fastest female across all categories today. 

Practice video from Jake Lucas:
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Final Australian Series Overall Standings (Top 3)

Elite Men Downhill
1. Rhys Atkinson - 250 points
2. Rick Boyer - 246 points
3. Tim Eaton - 196 points

Elite Women Downhill
1. Leonie Picton - 305 points
2. Julia Boer - 228 points
3. Holly Baarspul - 226 points

Under 19 Men
1. Troy Brosnan - 320 points
2. Connor Fearon - 233 points
3. Brandon Yrttiaho - 230 points

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bturman bturman 3/20/2011 12:10 AM

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