There was a changing of the guard at the 2017 Downhill National Championships at Mt Joyce, Queensland with two new elite champions crowned on Sunday afternoon.
Jack Moir (NSW) and Ronja Hill-Wright (ACT) claimed their first ever Australian title with wins in the elite men and women’s category.
Moir, who qualified in third stopped the clock in a time of 2:09:55, more than a second ahead of Connor Fearon (SA) and four time national champion Troy Brosnan (SA).
It was a last minute decision to race the nationals for the Central Coast native and it certainly paid off as he now wears the Australian colours on his sleeve for the rest of the world cup season.
“What a privilege.”
“I’ve been training pretty hard and starting to feel like I’m riding good again and excited to see what I can do overseas,” the Intense Factory rider said while sitting in the hot seat after the race.
“There are so many guys here who’ve been on a world cup podium so I am just stoked.”
It was a tough day for Brosnan, who for the first time in four years will walk away without the title of national champion, but the world number three was full of praise for the New South Welshman who took out the downhill title at Crankworx in Rotorua recently and finished 13th at the opening world cup round in Lourdes, France last month.
“I give it up to him (Jack) he’s riding really good and I’ll be excited to see what he can do in the world cups,” Brosnan said.
“I felt good after seeding and tried to go a little faster in the race and I think and just a couple of tiny mistakes led to a few seconds.”
For the third straight year Fearon would be taking home the silver at the national championships.
“I had a really good run and that’s all you could ask for,” the South Australian commented.
Disappointment for Tegan Molloy, who after qualifying fastest on Saturday, crashed on her final practice run putting her out of the finals.
“I’m absolutely gutted she couldn’t race,” Hill-Wright said after she crossed in a time of 2:44:71 ahead of Sian A’Hern (ACT) and Kaitlin Lawlor (QLD).
“I’ll now head overseas for a couple of world cups and Crankworx and wear the sleeve proudly.”
Despite Molloy’s absence, Hill-Wright, who currently lives in New Zealand, had to overcome a quick run by A’Hern who was racing in the elite women for the first time and threw the challenge down to the field.
“There was nothing else I could’ve given with that run and I’m so happy to take away the silver,” the Canberra based rider remarked.
It wasn’t the only time the family name was mentioned on the podium with younger brother Kye, proving he also has a bright future taking out the U17 Men gold medal ahead of Pacey Stockton and Caleb Rees (QLD).
While Baxter Maiwald (VIC) capped off a stunning 2017 to claim the Junior Men national crown more than three seconds ahead of Darcy Coutts (VIC) and Patrick Butler (NSW).
In his last year in the category, Maiwald survived the sketchy conditions which saw the track blow out in certain sections causing a few riders to come undone.
“I’ve been wanting this for so long and it may take awhile to sink in,” Maiwald said as he now looks towards the UCI MTB World Championships to be held in Cairns later in the year.
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