September 2, 2021
1ST PLACE FOR NZ JUNIOR ELITE MENS TEAM
Kiwi Junior DH Team Win at World Champs
Led by some emerging young talent, New Zealand downhill riders enjoyed one of the most successful days overall at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Italy.
Rotorua’s Lachlan Stevens-McNab finished on the podium in the junior elite men, and with teammates James MacDermid and Guy Johnston finishing in sixth and eighth respectively, the Torpedo7 New Zealand trio won the Top Nation Award.
Stevens-McNab, a former multi-world champion through the early age groups in BMX, turned heads when he won the junior title at February’s national championships in Christchurch and in the process was fifth fastest overall.
He joined YD Racing teammate MacDermid in the YD Racing team to claim podium finishes on the World Cup this year. Stevens-McNab produced an outstanding run in the final to claim third place, only 3.560 seconds from winner Jackson Goldstone (Canada).
MacDermid was a further four seconds behind in sixth while YT Mob professional Johnston from Thames was eighth, a further second behind.
The junior men and elite women in particular had to deal with changing track conditions after overnight rain, which provided a further test down the famous Black Snake track at Val di Sole in the northern Italian mountains. It is 2.1km in length, starting at 1360m altitude and dropping over 500m of rutted, forested and gnarly rock sectioned track.
“I pulled it back a little bit today with the conditions and after I had a crash in qualifying,” said Stevens-McNab. “It is a hard track to push as hard as you can all the time, and it easy for things to go wrong. So, I decided to tone it back a little bit and get the best, smooth run.
“My run was pretty perfect and I am happy. There was one little mistake but it is pretty hard on this track to get everything perfect and get the best run. I am really stoked.”
It was the first time that three New Zealand riders have finished in the top-eight in junior men at the world championships, with the previous best a 1-2 finish for this year’s team manager Cameron Cole and Sam Blenkinsop at Rotorua in 2006.