AVANTI'S NIC LEARY OWNS MT VIC

Emma, the kids, and I headed up to Mt Vic today to catch some of the Mt Vic cross-country action and were not disappointed. We made it just in time to catch the first lap of the elite and under 23 fields and it was clear everyone on the course was at home in their respective pain caves, especially Nic Leary who had something like a five minute lead on the rest of the women's field from the end of lap one. 

The second day of the 2010 Mountainbike National Championships was completed today on Mt. Victoria in Wellington. Quality fields in all categories took on the technically challenging and highly regarded Mt. Vic course, in the multi-lap Cross Country Olympic format race.

The morning race start for age group categories was exceptional on several fronts—the absolutely crushing display from Christchurch Under 17 Mens winner Anton Cooper, the emergence of the lightning quick Under 17 Female winner Kara McDermid (Palmerston North), and a first national championship title for Rotorua's Mark Leishman's long cycling career. For Leishman racing today in the 30-40 mens category, this victory and title was a return to his roots. Mt. Victoria was where Leishman first raced competitively in the mid 90s and today's race completed a journey through many different cycling variants for the talented dirt racer.

The feature event in the afternoon for Elite/U23 and Under 19 Men and Women promised a lot of action, and right from the start gun this was certainly delivered. With amazing settled and hot weather combined with the highly technical race course came a level of attrition that claimed several fancied athletes. However, Mens Elite winner Mike Northcott (Tokoroa) and Women's Elite winner Nic Leary (Rotorua) controlled their races from the front to claim well deserved National Championship titles. Brendon Sharratt (Wellington) and Dirk Peters (Rotorua) claimed the 2nd and 3rd podium spots, with Peters also the Under 23 National Champion. Fiona McDermid rode strongly to 2nd place in the Women's race, with Samara Sheppard (Rotorua) 3rd and like Peters, claiming a deserved Under 23 National Champions title.

The Under 19 race was a showcase for two athletes riding off the front of most races they compete in. Richard Anderson (Blenheim) dominated his rivals from the start gun to win, and Alexa Peters (Rotorua) did the same to her competitors to win her National Championship title.

Competition continues on Sunday with the Downhill National Championship event at Long Gully. Racing is under way at 1.30pm, after a morning practice session and seeding at 11am. Short Track Cross Country racing also takes place on Sunday at the Long Gully Downhill venue at 12.30.

If you want to buy a race photo you can check out the full gallery here.