Blenkinsop, Armstrong and Robbie claim Downhill titles at 2018 Oceania Mountain Bike Championships
Sam Blenkinsop (New Zealand) and Virginia Armstrong (New Zealand) claimed the elite Downhill titles and Sam Robbie (New Zealand) the under 19 men’s on the final day of the 2018 Oceania Mountain Bike Championships in Dunedin, New Zealand, Sunday February 11.
Blenkinsop turned back the clock to claim his second Oceania title in commanding style having tasted Oceania success in Methven, New Zealand in 2014.
Rain overnight made for tricky conditions on the Signal Hill course, with Blenkinsop setting the fastest time in seeding by more than 12 seconds, leaving him the last rider to start in the final.
With rain continuing to fall throughout the day the conditions only became trickier with Blenkinsop one of six riders needing to re-start his run following a red flag after a crash.
The 29-year-old was undeterred by the conditions or re-start as he raced down the course stopping the clock in 3mins 13.65secs to take gold. Silver went to Wyn Masters (New Zealand) as under 19 champion Robbie grabbed elite bronze.
“I am happy to get through it, have no injuries and come away with the win. It was also good training in these wet conditions because we can get them in the World Cup season,” Blenkinsop said.
“The re-start was harder because I was better at the top of the course in the first run. It was cleaner with the rain in that first run but with no rain in the re-run it had clogged up a bit.
“I almost threw it away in the first corner when I hit a root and slide out,” he added of the conditions. “I had another huge moment at the bottom. My chest hit the seat and my legs were hanging out the back like Superman but somehow it worked. I don’t know how I rode it out but I must have got lucky.”
In the elite women’s Armstrong was too quick as she took a commanding victory over rising star and 2017 under 19 champion Shania Rawson (New Zealand) by 14 seconds.
Robbie lead home a New Zealand 1-2-3 in the under 19 men’s clinching gold in 3mins 30.29secs ahead of 2017 bronze medallist Josh Oxenham and Anton Cousins.
2018 Oceania Mountain Bike Downhill Medallists
Gold – Sam Blenkinsop (New Zealand) 3:13.65
Silver – Wyn Masters (New Zealand) 3:29.77
Bronze – Sam Robbie (New Zealand) 3:30.29
Gold – Virginia Armstrong (New Zealand) 5:38.60
Silver – Shania Rawson (New Zealand) 5:42.91
Under 19 Men
Gold – Sam Robbie (New Zealand) 3:30.29
Silver – Josh Oxenham (New Zealand) 3:36.38
Bronze – Anton Cousins (New Zealand) 3:37.15