Championships ‘brilliant’, despite rain

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Wet weather made for entertaining riding on Sunday.

The Oceania mountain bike championships were held on Signal Hill at the weekend, a culmination of months of work for Mountain Biking Otago members.

Club president Kristy Booth said all the hard work put in to creating and maintaining the tracks was worth it.

“It went brilliantly, except for the rain on Sunday,” Booth said.

“But you just get on with it and keep going.

“I think spectators enjoyed the mud.”

The rain affected the downhill event, as most of the riders had practised when the course was dry.

It was among the most slippery and muddy conditions Booth had seen the hill in, she said.

“It made for some entertaining riding.”

Booth said she had received great feedback about the Signal Hill tracks from New Zealand and Australian riders.

Riders enjoyed that the “technically-demanding” course had a lot of variety, she said.

The tracks were known for having clay and rocks, which provided different kind of riding for North Islanders, she said.

“Of course, it all went out the window when it rained and it just became a matter of who could stay on their bikes.”

There were a couple of injuries during the event but that often comes with taking part in the sport, she said.

Christchurch rider Sam Blenkinsop won the elite men’s Oceania downhill title in 3min 13.65sec and Virginia Armstrong, of Auckland, won the elite women’s event in 5min 28.60sec.

New Zealand cross-country riders Anton Cooper and Samara Sheppard successfully defended their titles in 1hr 21min 54sec and 1hr 24min 28sec, respectively.