NZ National Downhill Series at the Nelson Top Gun

‘Sunny’ Nelson certainly lived up to its name for the first event in the Nelson ‘Top Gun’ race series today. Round 4 of the NZ National Downhill series, the first leg in the South Island was moved away from Kaka, in the Maitai valley, and was this year raced on Fringe Hill up the Brook Valley.

Fastest man on the hill - Phil Atwill

Fastest man on the hill - Phil Atwill

Over one hundred and ten riders made their way down the hill in this new one-day format. Practice kicked off at 9am, but with a 50min uplift return, riders had to make the most of the practice runs they could get, with most riders only getting 4 practice runs. Due to time constraints the seeding run was bypassed, and finals followed immediately after lunch.

2 was the number of the day for Wyn Masters

2 was the number of the day for Wyn Masters

The Fringe Hill track was fast and loose. The wear and tear on the track started to show by the time the final came around, corners were blowing out and ruts developing, which put on a great show for the spectators with drifts and roosts all over the show.

Kieran Bennett rounded out the podium in third place

Kieran Bennett rounded out the podium in third place

British World Cup rider Phil Atwill took the win, and then made the most of the off-season sun, Wyn Masters followed, with hometown hero Kieran Bennett coming in third. Sam Blenkinsop took fourth on his new stealth prototype Norco, and Ben Karalus rounded out the Elite Podium. Shania Rawson took the Elite Womens win, with Sarah Atkin behind her and Agata Bulska coming in third with an unfortunate flat tyre and an injured knee.

Riders dipped in and out of the sunlight all the way down the track

Riders dipped in and out of the sunlight all the way down the track

New Zealand summer made an appearance meaning dust galore!

New Zealand summer made an appearance meaning dust galore!

There was a lot of love for the track today

There was a lot of love for the track today

Racers drew a crowd at an intersection with the Dun Mountain Trail

Racers drew a crowd at an intersection with the Dun Mountain Trail

Dry conditions meant this high line over the roots was on!

Dry conditions meant this high line over the roots was on!

Focusing on the job in hand meant riders may have missed these views

Focusing on the job in hand meant riders may have missed these views

Local pinner Jo Perrott - 2nd Masters Female

Local pinner Jo Perrott - 2nd Masters Female

The dust piled up!

The dust piled up!

Riders annihilated the catch berm after this jump in practice, it then claimed a few riders

Riders annihilated the catch berm after this jump in practice, it then claimed a few riders

Nearing the bottom and the track gets faster and more open

Nearing the bottom and the track gets faster and more open

U19 rider Skye Follas looked fast all day

U19 rider Skye Follas looked fast all day

It took a committed rider to fully attack this track

It took a committed rider to fully attack this track

Celebratory beers for the winning holiday maker!

Celebratory beers for the winning holiday maker!

Full Results

Images: Jay French & Rach Gurney