Australia achieved outstanding results yesterday in the Downhill events of the 2017 UCI MTB World Championships held in Cairns.
Local heroes Michael Hannah (2nd in Elite Men) and his sister Tracey Hannah (3rd in Elite Women) lead the charge and excited their hometown crowd.
Australian riders featured in the Top 10 of all categories with an incredible 4 in the Top 6 for Elite Men’s Downhill.
Ellie Smith was the best Australian junior woman of the day finishing 5th, whilst Ben Zwar finished 6th in a very competitive junior men’s race.
In the Elite Women, terrific rides by both Danielle Beecroft (5th) and Sian A’hern (9th) thrilled the crowds in anticipation for local, Tracey Hannah, who after recovering from a ‘hard crash’ found incredible speed on the remainder of the course to come within two seconds of taking the win.
Sam Hill started the Elite Men’s race and sat number one on the hot seat until a blistering run by sentimental favourite, Michael ‘Mick’ Hannah moved him into the top spot. Australian’s occupied the top spot on the hot seat, until very late in the day when eventual winner Loic Bruni recorded the fastest time moving Mick Hannah into second position. Joining Mick Hannah in the top six riders of the day were Australia National Champion Jack Moir (4th), the incredibly fast Troy Brosnan (5th) and crowd hero Sam Hill (6th).
Australia stamped its’ authority as one of the best downhill nations in the World.
Downhill MTB racing is not recognised by the Australia Sports Commission (ASC) or other government agencies for funding as the discipline falls outside the ASC’s Winning Edge (Olympic) funding program. Mountain Bike Australia receives no direct government or ASC funding or support for any of the MTB disciplines.
Mountain Bike Australia continues to lobby the ASC and state governments for recognition and financial support of all MTB disciplines in Australia.
MTBA CEO stated, “Australian’s achieve outstanding results around the World in all MTB disciplines and this needs to be recognised and respected for funding opportunities similar to those offered to other sports”.
“This current situation needs to change, youth of today are motivated by many sports and recreational pursuits, if we are serious about improving our nation’s health, Governments need to recognise and support the next generation in the activities they are motivated by”, he said.
Coppin acknowledged the tremendous support provided to our Australia riders by the MTB community as a whole, recognising the support of local MTB clubs, coaches, manufacturers, bike stores and many others in the wider community as well as support from the national body where possible.
With the support of the MTB community and a significant injection of finance and support from other sources, such as the ASC, Australia is capable of creating one of the greatest Downhill programs in the World, from juniors to the elite.
There are many synergies between DHI racing and other extreme sports which are equally valuable to the fabric of Australia sport, as are Olympic Gold medals. It is now time to recognise and support these as valuable and reward the sport as proud Australians.
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