Locals shine in downhill mountain bike races
Local and international names were among the top 10 place getters at the first round of a major Queensland downhill mountain biking series last weekend on the Sunshine Coast.
The KWT Maxxis Sunshine Series downhill event attracted 244 riders from across Australia and overseas.
Event coordinator Hayden Lester of the D’Aguilar Range Cycling Club said it was a quality start to the year.
“We are up on the average numbers from previous years, and are expecting around the 200 mark for the upcoming races,” he said.
Mr Lester said the international presence in this year’s series reflected the current climate of the Australian mountain biking scene.
“It’s really positive, and I think it will be a growing trend,” he said.
Frenchman Simon Cardon won the main race, the Elite Men’s, while Columbian Camilo Sanchez placed seventh.
Cardon, who returns to France next week, said the track was very physical and the competition was good.
“I really liked the local competition; good atmosphere, nice people,” he said.
Three locals represented Brisbane in the top 10 Elite Men’s.
Lindsay Klein of Hawthorne placed second, while Brandon Yrttiaho of Forest Lake and Jay Taylor of Indooroopilly placed fifth and ninth respectively, with only 1.5 seconds between them.
Yrttiaho, who won last year’s series in the Under 19s category, said he was excited to be racing in Elite Men’s this year.
Brisbane dominated the Elite Women’s race, with Lee Harley in first place and Sarsha Huntington a very close second.
Competitors enjoyed fine weather and a sturdy track despite heavy rain the day before, allowing spectators to get close to the action.
The next race round will be at Ilinbah on the Gold Coast on 30 May.
Series’ competitors are aiming for the final Downhill Queensland State Championships, to be held over the weekend of 11 and12 September at Mount Stuart, Townsville.
There will be five races before the championships.