New downhill national champions crowned

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There was plenty of drama for the final day of the AusCycling Mountain Bike National Championship in Thredbo, NSW.

The wind played havoc in the morning forcing the cancellation of the masters and age category races. The winners in those categories were decided on seeding times.

In the under 17, under 19 and elite finals, the start line was moved lower down the mountain for rider safety due to the high wind gusts at the top of the chairlift.

MEN

Luke Meier-Smith (NSW) claimed his first elite downhill national title in emotional scenes at the 2023 AusCycling National Championships in Thredbo.

After a disappointing seeding run, which saw Meier-Smith crash and finish with one of the slower times, he put it all on the line for the final.

One of the first riders on the course, Meier-Smith posted a blistering time of 3.58.654 minutes putting him into the hot seat.

It was a tense wait for the Central Coast rider, as he sat through 65 other riders to see if his time was good enough to claim the Australian sleeve.

Only Canadian superstar Jackson Goldstone, who was competing in the Cannonball competition was quicker than Meier-Smith, posting a time of 3.57.226mins.

“I’ve been really stressed. I can’t believe it, to become national champion even though Jackson beat me, I’m stoked. I can’t believe it I’m stoke with second and national champ, that’s what I was chasing,” an emotional Meier-Smith said.

“I was a bit battered up, my arm was pretty sore so I was a bit cautious, but I was pretty happy with my run, but all in all really stoked.”

Eight-time national champion Troy Brosnan (SA) finished with the silver just over a second back, with Kye A’Hern (NSW) taking the bronze.

Fastest Australian after seeding Remy Meier-Smith (NSW) suffered a crash which saw him roll across the finish line, while last year’s national champion Connor Fearon (SA) suffered a flat tyre and finished back in 53rd. One of the crowd favourites Sam Hill (SA) who made his return to the national scene finished 18th.

In the Junior Men, Kael Foale (SA) backed up his sizzling seeding run yesterday to claim his first national title.

Lewis Allbon (ACT) did his best to try and nab the top spot, but the South Australian had the course dialled to ensure he would be wearing the green and gold for the next 12 months, with Jed Stanton (VIC) in third

WOMEN

Sian A’Hern (ACT) has claimed her third national downhill title today in emphatic fashion.

After posting the fastest qualifying time yesterday, A’Hern put down one of the runs of her life.

The Canberran set the Thredbo course alight with a time of 4.24.707 mins – 14 seconds ahead of silver medallist Lia Ladbrook (Vic) and last year’s national champion Ellie Smith (NSW) who took the bronze.

“I’ve been working so hard honestly for like three years, just getting myself together. I couldn’t be more stoked. Thredbo is such a special place to me, it continues to be so special again,” A’Hern said.

“It means the world. After my brain injury last year, I didn’t think I would race again, and here we are third national title and to beat the likes of Nina Hoffman, mind blown.”

It’s been a long road for the 2021 champion as she now has the opportunity to wear the Australian sleeve over to Europe for the 2023 UCI World Cup season.

In the junior women, Queensland’s Sacha Mills, was almost 12 seconds quicker than local Jindabyne rider Georgia Henness (NSW) to claim the national title. Alix Luckman (NSW) claimed bronze.

Full results can be found here.

Main photo: Matt Rousu


The 2023 AusCycling MTB National Championships is proudly supported by Destination NSW and the Department of Regional NSW.

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram/ Tik Tok: @AusCyclingAus

#MBNats23 #LetsRideTogether

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