New Zealand National DH Series - Round 4 Report and Results

Feb 19, 2018
by Cameron Mackenzie  



Welcome to Quake City - Christchurch, New Zealand. Training grounds for Sam Blenkinsop and home to some of the country's best backcountry riding. The penultimate round of the New Zealand Downhill National Series rolled into town this weekend and gave riders a rude wake-up call for what South Island racing is all about. No groomed trails or padded trees to be seen. Just a shit load of rock & sketchy trails cut into tall tussock.

Out of the trails the race had to choose from, they chose to use Lava Flow in Victoria Park. Not many's first choice for a race track, but after the Port Hills fire almost one year to the day, it was one of the hardest options that the organizers had to choose from. It sure as hell delivered though.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
A few delays this morning meant everyone had a chance to look at the upper part of the track.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Keegan Wright and Connor Hamilton are members of the #longhairdontcare club.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
First one out the gate this morning and straight into the rocks.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
That early morning light!

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Ashley Bond looked strong on track throughout the day, and it showed come race time.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Early morning trains to get things started.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Billy Meaclem cooked his bike during a local club race yesterday, so he was doing it on a 26" beast today and keeping the fire going.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Guy Johnston just casually pulling up during practice.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
The Bulldog on the charge in the upper rock gardens.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
After a nightmare at Oceanias, Shania was happy to be feeling healthy and racing a dry track this weekend.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Boaz and Finn rode most of practice together to help figure out lines. Clearly it helped the both of them.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Keegan Wright made short work of all the precarious features.

NZ National DH series
Sam Robbie was ripping and tearing during practice. Even ignoring the chance to roost a photographer.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Rupert lives locally, but because Lava Flow is often overgrown he has just as many runs on this track as anyone else.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Local cross-country enthusiast, Kieran Bennett, was floating about this morning during a training ride but wasn't keen to race due to his focus being on the upcoming NZ Enduro in a few weeks.

NZ National DH series
Elliot Lees getting after it.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
But then there was Keegan Wright charging without any regard for what was beneath his tires. Without a timing board, you would have believed Keegan was the man to beat.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
A very barren landscape out the hill today.
NZ National DH series
Lava flow lived up to its reputation of being overgrown, but the spectators still managed to find their ways around to all the good vantage points.

NZ National DH series
Brook MacDonald was on fire today riding such an aggressive track.

NZ National DH series

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
In the Master's category Mike Evans was out giving Dane Nimmo a run for his money but had to settle for 3rd.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Dane Nimmo, on the other hand, continued with his sandbagging success and cleaned up Masters once again.

NZ National DH series
Finn was the name with the target on his back today. Hometown track, but a few mistakes in his race run cost him and ended up finishing 2nd in U17.

bigquotesHad a mint day on the bike, but in my race run, I rode off track and had to run back up the hill. Loved racing a super rocky and dusty track which is the kind of stuff I regularly ride!Finn Hawkesby-Brown


NZ National DH series
Considering Blake Ross doesn't train on rocks, he did well to finish only 4.4 seconds back on Finn Parsons for 5th.

NZ National DH series
After Guy's success at Oceania Champs in Dunedin last weekend, a good result was highly likely. However, Guy crashed in his race run still managed to pull it back for a 3rd place. He must have been on a blinder.

bigquotesI had a bit of crash in my race run today but I'm still stoked to pull a 3rd on the very rocky lava flow.Guy Johnston


2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Not a jump in site for Partick Hale today. Instead, he had to try riding his bike in straight line.

NZ National DH series
James Carley got offline in his finals, but boy did it look sick.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Louis Vuleta didn't look to be taming the rocks today but rode to respectable 10th in U19.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Tuhoto-Ariki Pene is one of the kids to watch out for. His result today (5th in U19) may not have reflected his talent, but he was one of the few juniors who was stomping the rock gardens like an Elite.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Sam Robbie may not have had the same success as last weekend, but 4th with the flu still shows he's on form coming into National Champs next weekend.

NZ National DH series
Boaz!! What more can you say? The local boy rode his ring out today and came up short of the win in U19 by only 0.10.

NZ National DH series
Josh Oxenham was back to his winning ways today, despite his early morning brake dramas.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Ash got into a rhythm that worked for her today and rode a control run down to a solid 3rd place in Elite Women.

bigquotesLava Flow lived up to its name - it felt like riding on the moon. Awesome day out on the hill today. The wind stayed away and the open, exposed track was getting better each lap. Was epic to race some rocks and good to be back on the downhill bike after 9 weeks off! Looking forward to National Champs next weekend.Ashley Bond


NZ National DH series
Dispite Shania racing back at full health, she was no match for Kate Weatherly once again.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Kate Weatherly was visibly faster on track, and that showed. Finishing 18.74 seconds up on Shania.

NZ National DH series
Matt Prior was charging on the home trails.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
Ben Karalus got out on the hill today, but didn't have the pace to keep up with the seasoned downhillers and rounded out the Elite's Top 10.

NZ National DH series
Guy Gibbs has been destroying the national series this season. Another podium finish for him today with 5th, 7.78 seconds back.

NZ National DH series
World number 10, El Chapo, Stingray or whatever other aliases Rupert has rode smart and safe today and stomped his way into 4th place.

bigquotesAh yeah it was really fun, we don't ride Lava Flow that much because it's always windy or overgrown but the weather was perfect for the race today and I'm sure everyone had a great day!Rupert Chapman


NZ National DH series
Keegan Wright had the pace to continued with the big name World Cup boys today and will be happy with 3rd before looking to defend his national title next weekend.

2018 NZ Nationals DH Round 4 - Christchurch
It was of little surprise to see Brook riding so comfortably today. The rock and gradient only played to his strengths and he finished up on 1.08 behind Blenki.

NZ National DH series
Sam Blenkinsop is on fire at the moment! Another win today and I'm it won't be his last this season.

Results


NZ National DH series
Elite Men's Podium


NZ National DH series
Elite Women's Podium





Elite Men's Results

1st - Sam Blenkinsop ( 2:13.79 )
2nd - Brook MacDonald ( 2:14.87 )
3rd - Keegan Wright ( 2:16.63 )
4th - Rupert Chapman ( 2:16.81)
5th - Guiy Gibbs ( 2:21.57 )

Elite Women's Results

1st - Kate Weatherly ( 2:50.41 )
2nd - Shania Rawson ( 3:09.15 )
3rd - Ashley Bond ( 3:43.19 )


Full Results


Mentions: @cameronmackenzie



17 Comments

  • + 30
 So disappointed that Keegan didn't get the jandal dress code memo before prize giving. Sad.
  • + 3
 Keegan’s syndactyly does not really allow him to wear Jandles.
  • + 4
 Blenki about to get crazy with the orange juice.
  • + 22
 NoGlovesLand.
  • + 3
 Hahaha!!!!
  • + 15
 Damn I want to see Blenki on a top step of WC podium again!
  • + 6
 Yeeeee Guy Gibbs, you have done great this season!!!!!!!!
  • + 4
 Why is this guy still racing in women's category? It's ridiculous.
  • + 8
 What about all these ladies racing with the men? Get a fookin haircut!
Zalev, thanks for your educated and nuanced analysis of the situation. That was sarcasm, you probably need that to be pointed out.
  • + 4
 Great photos and reportage - cheers!
  • + 1
 Nice one!

Would love to see the results of Juniors & Groms included in these round-ups.

It's cool to see the stars emerging.
  • + 4
 YES BLENKI
  • + 2
 Smashed it again Kate! Take it to the next level...see how it goes...
  • + 2
 Great coverage Cam!
  • + 1
 How about Bulldog's calf muscles?
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