Anton Cooper and Samara Sheppard claim 2017 Oceania Cross-country Mountain Bike titles

New Zealand stole the show at the 2017 Oceania Continental MTB Championships with Anton Cooper and Samara Sheppard claiming elite Cross-country titles at Jubilee Park, Toowoomba on Sunday March 12.

In the elite men’s Cross-country defending champion Anton Cooper (New Zealand) was off to a flying start, taking the lead on the opening lap. A combination of a crash and mechanical saw Cooper’s hopes of back to back titles fade, slipping to fourth at the half way point of the five lap race.

Undeterred by the bad luck a late surge by the former under 23 world champion saw Cooper power by his rivals taking the title in one hour 25 minutes. Silver went to Cameron Ivory (Australia), 33 seconds behind with Daniel McConnell (Australia) completing the podium 1min 57secs back.

“I’m stoked to back up my title from last year with another win. The points are the biggest bonus for me,” Cooper said of his win and the qualifying points earned.

“I had a good start but dropped my bottle at the end of the first lap which didn’t help things. Then halfway through the second lap I had a big crash while out in front which unfortunately caused my chain to come off and get super twisted.

“Luckily my mechanic was onto it and managed to unwrap it and reset my chain guide. From there it was just a lot of chasing!

“Really happy to have the form to chase down the leaders after making life hard for myself. A great way to start the season.”

New Zealand’s Samara Sheppard took the lead of the elite women’s race on the opening lap and never looked back. After steadily building her advantage throughout the four-lap race Sheppard took a convincing solo victory by two and a half minutes on Australia’s Holly Harris. Defending Champion Rebecca Henderson (Australia) had to settle for bronze, four minutes and 52 seconds behind the winner.

Megan Williams (Australia) took the under 23 women’s race in one hour 28 minutes, nearly 10 minutes clear of Charlotte Culver (Australia) who collected silver and Charlotte Rayner (New Zealand) bronze.

In the under 23 men’s race Tristan Ward (Australia) stopped the clock in one hour and 32 minutes, just shy of one minute ahead of Reece Tucknott (Australia +56) with Ben Bradley (Australia) completing the podium.

The under 19 women’s title went to Jessica Manchester (New Zealand) who dominated the race finishing 5mins 45secs ahead of silver medallist Katherine Hosking (Australia) as Liv Bishop (New Zealand) rounded out the podium.

Sam Fox (Australia) lead home an Australian 1-2-3 in the under 19 men’s race stopping the clock in hour 14 minutes and 33 seconds. Matt Dinham crossed the line 33 seconds behind for silver with Cameron Wright taking bronze just over a minute behind.

In the downhill Australia’s Joshua Button emerged on top in a close battle for the elite men’s title in 2mins 46.05secs. Half a second faster than Keegan Wright (New Zealand-2:46.56) who took silver and Wyn Masters (New Zealand-2:46.70) bronze.

Danielle Beecroft (Australia) claimed the gold in the elite women’s stopping the clock in 3mins 14.52secs. Silver went to Lisa Mathison (Australia-3:16.85) and bronze Ronja Hill-Wright made it an Australian 1-2-3 in (3:23.60).

Shania Rawson (New Zealand) won the junior women’s downhill, while Joshua Clark (Australia) took out the junior men’s category.

2017 Oceania Mountain Bike Medallists

Elite Men
Gold – Anton COOPER (NZL)
Silver – Cameron IVORY (AUS)
Bronze – Daniel MCCONNELL (AUS)

Elite Women
Gold – Samara SHEPPARD (NZL)
Silver – Holly HARRIS (AUS)
Bronze – Rebecca HENDERSON (AUS)

Under 23 Men
Gold – Tristan WARD (AUS)
Silver – Reece TUCKNOTT (AUS)
Bronze – Ben BRADLEY (AUS)

Under 23 Women
Gold – Megan WILLIAMS (AUS)
Silver – Charlotte CULVER (AUS)
Bronze – Charlotte RAYNER (NZL)

Under 19 Men
Gold – Sam FOX (AUS)
Silver – Matthew DINHAM (AUS)
Bronze – Cameron WRIGHT (AUS)

Under 19 Women
Gold – Jessica MANCHESTER (NZL)
Silver – Katherine HOSKING (AUS)
Bronze – Liv BISHOP (NZL)

Elite Men
Gold – Joshua BUTTON (AUS)
Silver – Keegan WRIGHT (NZL)
Bronze – Wyn MASTERS (NZL)

Elite Women
Gold – Danielle BEECROFT (AUS)
Silver – Lisa MATHISON (AUS)
Bronze – Ronja HILL-WRIGHT (AUS)

Under 19 Men
Gold – Joshua CLARK (AUS)
Silver – Baxter MAIWALD (AUS)
Bronze – Josh OXENHAM (NZL)

Under 19 Women
Gold – Shania RAWSON (NZL)
Silver – Ellie SMITH (AUS)
Bronze – Sally POTTER (AUS)

Photos: Element Photo & Video Productions