The first day of the 2010 Mountainbike National Championships was completed Friday on Mt. Albert in Wellington. BMX Olympian and World Champion Sarah Walker and brother Matt claimed the prestigious Four Cross National Championship titles in storming displays. Dual Slalom racing took place earlier in the afternoon to warm the crowd and riders up for the main Four Cross event in early evening on a sunny Mt. Albert. Open Men’s winner Wyn Masters (New Plymouth) was dominant throughout the knock-out style, two-up racing format, producing a powerful display of bike handling to take the title. Matt Walker was a very close second on the parallel slalom course, with Auckland’s Mike Davis producing his best display of the summer to claim third. In the Women’s slalom, current National Downhill champ Harriet Harper got the better of Sarah Walker by a mere 0.6 seconds on time differential to win the 2010 Dual Slalom title.
Four Cross racing followed on from the Dual Slalom, on the tight and challenging course that suddenly looked very narrow with four riders competing together, elbow to elbow and at speed. Matt Walker and Daniel Franks (Christchurch) set the pace through qualifying and the early elimination rounds, with high seeds Wyn Masters and Daniel Heads (Tauranga) knocked out of contention for the major final in the semi heats. Walker went on to win after a bold passing move on Franks in the first corner in the final, which stuck firmly and carried him through to the finish and the 2010 Four Cross Mens National Champion title. Mike Davis took home his second third place of the day.
The Women’s race provided a forum for BMX star Sarah Walker to really show her power and speed—never threatened during the heats, Walker won the final emphatically to add the 2010 Four Cross Womens National Champion title to her list of accomplishments. Wellington rider Sarah Atkin impressed to take second ahead of Harper.
The National Championship programme continued on Saturday with Cross Country racing on Mt. Victoria, full report still to come.