Words | Cameron Cole Photos | Cameron Mackenzie
The 2018 New Zealand National Champs were held in Wanaka (XCO) and Cardrona (DHI) on the 24th and 25th of March. The Hyperformance athletes who attended were rewarded with incredible courses to compete on. The stage was set in the dramatic Queenstown and surrounding lakes high country for champions to be crowned.
Downhill racing at Cardrona Alpine resort has a long history in the sport in New Zealand. The classic New Zealand high alpine environment provides excellent terrain to challenge riders. The weather in the days leading up to the event resembled conditions more akin to autumn with snow settling on the ground at the top of the course. Riders were greeted by clear skies on practice day which allowed the racing lines on course to form well. On the morning of finals the course was shortened due to strong gusty winds closing the upper section of the chair lift. Soil conditions remained all time providing excellent grip for riders.
Junior Under 17 Men
Finn Hawkesby - Brown - 5th
Finn rode to another strong result with another top 5 finish to round out his domestic season. Finn now looks to Crankwrox Rotorua where he will be competing in four downhill events during the festival.
"I had a really fun time racing at cardrona the track was so good. I had a good race run and ended up 5th place not to far off the pace."
Junior Under 19 Men
Boaz Hebblethwaite - DNS
After building some solid momentum coming into national champs with a win at the New Zealand Open and a 2nd placing at Round four of the National series Boaz was in contention for a top placing. However, he sustained a crash which kept him out of the finals. Boaz is now looking forward to getting overseas for some more international experience.
"I had a pretty solid crash in the weekend on my last practice run for national champs so unfortunately I wasn't able to ride seeding or race run. It was awesome to see all the other boys send it and put some good runs down though."
Amy Cole - 3rd
After missing out on competing in much of the national series; Amy, now a veteran in the Elite women's downhill category showed her experience by taking another national champs medal on one of her favorite courses on the national calendar.
"It was awesome to be back racing with everyone on a really fun track."
Defending Elite woman champion, Alanna Columb, was unable to participate this year following a riding accident in January. We wish Alanna all the very best for her recovery.
Junior Under 15 Women
Rebecca Hufflet - 1st DH and 1st XC
New to racing, Rebecca Hufflet has had an awesome first season with wins in the U15 National Cross Country in Wanaka and the National Downhill in Queenstown following cross-country 1sts at the Oceania Champs and South Island Champs. Rebecca is now looking forward to Crankworx Rotorua where she will be competing in the Secondary School Nationals.
Cycling New Zealand press release can be found here.
The next major event for our Hyperformance Hardware athletes is Crankworx Rotorua 17 - 25th March 2018.