2018 Oceania DH Champs - Photo Recap and Results

Feb 11, 2018
by Cameron Mackenzie  


Oceania Champs isn't an event that rolls into town every day. Run once a year, but alternating between Australia and NZ, the event provides an opportunity to race against off-shore riders that many wouldn't usually get. For 2018, the circus rolled into the student and party mecca of Dunedin, New Zealand, but this time with an apparent lack of Australian riders.

In the weeks leading up the race weekend, the start lists began to look something like a World Cup with all the big name Kiwi riders signed up to race. However, as the weather forecasts became more reliable, the invites for a street race in Chile came in, injuries started happening, the and the Pro Elite field started dwindling.

Signal Hill has long been the main trail centre in Dunedin, boasting some 300m of elevation and home to one of the better DH tracks on the Kiwi roster. It was a well-welcomed venue for such a prolific event and provided more than enough challenge for the riders.


Oceania MTB Champs 2018 - Dunedin

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 - Dunedin
With the sun out on the first day of practice, spirits were high.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 - Dunedin
The course boasted many rock gardens, often easier to ride than walk.
Oceania MTB Champs 2018 - Dunedin
Offering up a huge amount lines, a lot of track walking and stopping was done to work it all out.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 - Dunedin

Oceania MTB Champs - Dunedin 2018
Wyn Masters was charging everywhere during practice.

Oceania MTB Champs - Dunedin 2018
Cole Lucas made very short work of the rock gardens here in Dunedin.

Oceania MTB Champs - Dunedin 2018
Louis Hamilton was at home in the dust.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 - Dunedin

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 - Dunedin
Jumps that were easily hittable on Saturday were to become very hard work on Sunday

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin

Oceania MTB Champs - Dunedin 2018
Josh Oxenham charged those sneaky inside lines.

Oceania MTB Champs - Dunedin 2018

Oceania MTB Champs - Dunedin 2018
Shania Rawson felt strong and up to speed during practice on Saturday, but after a few crashes on Sunday things didn't go her way.

Oceania MTB Champs - Dunedin 2018
Rupert Chapman held things down for team Pivot this weekend. With Eddie Masters nursing a hurt knee, it was up to Rupert to get after it.

Oceania MTB Champs - Dunedin 2018
Sophie Tyas made a rare appearance this weekend to race in Sport (Open) Women, but with no-one else in her field, she could just have fun.

Oceania MTB Champs - Dunedin 2018
The battle of Josh Oxenham and Sam Robbie continued this weekend with many asking who would have it.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 - Dunedin

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 - Dunedin
Finn Hawkesby-Brown had the advantage in U17 of being used to this kind of terrain, whereas the majority of his competitors are from the north and not used to this much rock.

Oceania MTB Champs - Dunedin 2018
Patrick Hale didn't care about what was beneath his wheels and proceeded to just pull up and get loose just about everywhere.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 - Dunedin
At home on dry, dusty and rocky courses, Recce Potter was looking tapped.

Oceania MTB Champs - Dunedin 2018
A dry track and an in-form Blenki, good luck to the others!

Billy Meaclem laying it over during to close out day 1 of racing.
Billy Meaclem laying it over to close out practice.

The course conditions between practice and race day were complete opposites. As the forecast suggested, the rains came in overnight and on Sunday riders were meet by an almost entirely different track. With the track on Signal Hill being a mix of rock and clay, but also extremely hard packed, the course turned into a complete mudslide.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
The only place that was dry was underneath the tents on race day.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Big clean-up jobs were on the cards.
Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Thankfully the local fire department were on hand to provide suitable wash down facilities

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Riders thought they could go about riding the same lines as they did during practice, but the overnight rains made all the roots and rocks incredibly slick.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
The only thing riders could do was let it go, there wasn't any hope of trying to control it.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
"Hey Jonty... you've got a bit of mud on your face.."

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
As per usual, Patrick Hale let it all hang out, even in the mud.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Hucking through a wet rock garden!? Some juniors have no fear.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Wyn's new GT rig parked up.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Despite the treacherous conditions, Sophie Tyas had a great weekend back racing and it showed.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
If you didn't bring your roll-offs then it was either run no goggles or punch the lens out.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
You're doing it wrong...

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Louis Vuleta reaching for a penny.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Reece Potter seeded close to 30 seconds up on 2nd place in Sport Men and managed to hold onto it for his race run and take the win.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
After Shania crashed and was struggling with the pain, all Vinny Armstrong had to do was not crash too much and was able to take the Elite Women's win.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Blake Ross couldn't put a good run together when it counted and finished up 8th in U17's. I suspect his run was riddled with crashes.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Guy Johnston demolished the U17 field and claimed that number one spot.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Isaac Ewen crashed coming into the wild chute and slid on his stomach the whole way down.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Isaac Ewen has had easier days on the bike.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Sam Robbie made short work of the slippery course and laid down a time that would have placed him 3rd in Elite.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Sam Robbie has been hunting hard all season for a win, and today finally tasted that glory by taking the U19 title.

bigquotesIf I'm honest I was really battling all weekend as I have been really ill the last few weeks. I enjoyed the track in the wet more than in the dry and just rode it like it was dry.Sam Robbie

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Rupert Chapman looked far from comfortable in these conditions today.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Rupert managed to piece together a safe enough run and landed himself on the 5th step in elites.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Bryn Dickerson is one of the most underrated riders in NZ. Quietly going about his business all weekend, he slipped into 4th place in Elites.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Jamie Lyall crashed hard during his race run and snapped his ankle causing a course closure and re-runs for the top 6 elite men. Healing vibes going out to him!

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Wyn rode smart and safe all weekend, but after Jamie Lyall crashed during the race runs, Wyn (along with five others) had to do a re-run and didn't seem very happy with his run.

bigquotesWas all around a solid weekend for my first race of 2018, apart from the rain on Sunday which sure made it a challenge. I think I crashed every run today! During my race run, I got through all the hard stuff and started celebrating that bit early... next minute I was on the deck. But all in all, I'm stoked on the weekend and the bike!Wyn Masters

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Blenki didn't appear to bothered by the rain and made short work of the wet upper rock garden during morning practice.

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Blenki getting out of shape in the greasy open turns and then proceeded to ride the bull all the way to line to clinch his first Oceania Title.

bigquotesThe weekend was good, it was sweet to come away with my first Oceania championships and good to ride two days of different conditions; fast and fun first day in the dry, and loose and technical in the wet on second day made for a good time for all. I know the spectators enjoyed watching us.Sam Blenkinsop

Results


Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Elite Men's Podium

Oceania MTB Champs 2018 Dunedin
Elite Women's Podium


1st - Sam Blenkinsop ( 3:13.65 )
2nd - Wyn Masters ( 3:29.77 )
3rd - Gareth Burgess ( 3:30.63 )
4th - Bryn Dickenson ( 3:31.74 )
5th - Rupert Chapman ( 3:35.34 )

1st - Vinny Armstrong ( 5:28.60 )
2nd - Shania Rawson ( 5:42.91 )


Full Results


Mentions @cameronmackenzie



36 Comments

  • + 38
 I'd love to see larger women's purses at Downhill races, but honestly when only a couple women show up it just doesn't make sense. Money isn't going to get more girls into the sport.
  • + 5
 Yea. Not many DH women competing here in NZ at the moment. Which is a bit sad given a few years back there used to be better numbers.
  • + 1
 Do you guys think it kinda goes together? If the prizes were bigger, would more women compete? Or do you think thats just not how it happens?
  • + 13
 @VTwintips: Perhaps but I don't think it's the real reason why women aren't turning up to these races. Women's participation at enduro events in NZ is quite a bit stronger by comparison. And while it certainly has a long way to go the number of youth women in the sport is an encouraging sign.

Personally I just think that it comes down to the fact that enduro is a lot more accessible, if for no other reason that its racing done on the same bike that most people ride week in and week out here. However I would argue that the race culture in grassroots NZ enduro is more inclusive than the DH scene, regardless of gender. And this inclusiveness of the race format—chill up, bomb down—makes for good times all round.

If you want to look at the reasons for low participation I would suggest the combination of a male-dominated race culture together with expensive equipment as the two main drivers resulting poor uptake by women in NZ.
  • + 2
 @DDB1 @VTwintips Did you watch the Tracy Moseley interview on Dirt ? I like the way she talks about DH tracks nowadays, and the impact it might have on newcomers (juniors and women). dirtmountainbike.com/features/interviews/25-years-world-cup-racing-tracy-moseley.html
  • + 1
 I think women participation in local and national events doesn't get the due attention. Here in Italy it kinda goes up and down during the season but it's always a bit low. On the contrary as others have said enduro gets more participation. I think prize money isn't the issue, enduro is probably a "friendlier" type of racing than dh. Enduro mtbiking represents also a lot bigger slice of market sales so it obviously ( and unfortunately IMO ) gets more support from bikeshops, companies and whatnot. It would surely be super interesting to be able to compare the cost of a dh and an enduro season for say "privateers". It also comes down to overall participation at the races.
  • + 4
 @VTwintips: I don’t think that’s it is. How many men do you know who got into racing for the money?
  • + 4
 The prize purse for men increases as a response to increasing competition, exposure, sponsorship, etc.
The prize purse for women is being manipulated in an attempt to attract more participation.

Very strange. It's like we are trying to subsidize women into these sports where women don't naturally gather. Artificial. How many of us guys started with crappy bikes, spending countless hours outdoors on trails we had no idea would exist, crashing, sweating, bleeding.. Some of us rode all by ourselves for many years or even to this day.

How many women do you come across while biking? I'm not trying to block women from the sport.. I'd love to meet girls through biking (my #1 hobby) but I think we are thinking backwards. We should support/sponsor/expose if it makes sense. If women are going towards enduro, let's put more exposure to that instead of trying to drag people into genres that have been empty forever.
  • + 29
 The video of Blenki going through the rock garden is gold
  • + 16
 Video from Blenki's Instagram:

www.instagram.com/p/BfC4bGMHDpS
  • + 2
 @dougfs: WOW 100% Commitment to the game.
  • + 11
 "If I'm honest I was really battling all weekend as I have been really ill the last few weeks. I enjoyed the track in the wet more than in the dry and just rode it like it was dry." #humblebrag
  • + 6
 It’s not the prize alone with the girls Danielle ( my daughters) entered the Oceania Championships but when we went to book the flights and accommodation plus food and car hire it was going to cost her $3500 to &4000 for the weekend . This is her cost as she has no sponsors giving her any money. It’s a shame as she was really looking forward to retaining her title from last year .
  • - 38
flag robaussie99 (Feb 11, 2018 at 21:25) (Below Threshold)
 She's more than welcome to go to work and earn that money, thats what being sponsored is, working for money... no? It's probably what 90% of the other overseas entrants at oceanias had to do in order to be there.

also, $3500-4000 - from aus? for 3 nights accom, plus flights? Maybe flying private and staying at the Hilton....
  • + 10
 Why is Reece potter racing in sport? #sandbagger
  • + 2
 Exactly same thought. And he would be 3rd in Elite if I am right. Robbie fifth, not 3rd ....
  • + 3
 Guy Gibbs got 2nd with a 3:19, but being a British citizen not a kiwi or Aussie means he's not on the final results. Though the vital race report covers this. I think he should get a mention and a photo at least in this report.
  • + 5
 Guy Gibbs puts 10 seconds into Wyn on a stock 2015 Giant Glory he bought used proving you don't need the latest and greatest to be a quick c*** He probably hasn't put on new tyres since he bought the thing either. Someone at PB should do a bike check with this guy in CHCH next weekend.
  • + 2
 @FreeRadicals: he's very fast, also a very nice chap. Also completely unsponsored. He destroys on a bike and should really get way more coverage than he does.
  • + 2
 @FreeRadicals: yup seen it. Thanks.
  • + 7
 Sam killed it!!
  • + 6
 Good read, great pic's...!!!!
  • + 3
 Don't know if I'm more surprised by the lack of gloves or the lack of comments about them.......
  • + 5
 Killer photos as usual.
  • + 1
 Great placement for Wyn on a brand new bike. Is this a sign of things to come?
  • + 2
 Wow, 50% slower for the women, that's an incredible gap...
  • + 1
 I didn't know Wyn Masters signed with Trek...
  • + 1
 Damn Blenki's time...
  • + 1
 mud mud mud. yeah!
  • + 1
 BLENKIIII x3x3
  • - 2
 Only 2 Aussies in the mens elite and low numbers all round it looks like DH is dying out in NZ
  • + 1
 ??

I can't remember there ever being a bigger group of pro DH riders in NZ.

I don't think DH is dying, I think the Nats and Oceania comps are dying.
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