Three-time Olympian and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Dan McConnell proved far too good during the opening two rounds of the Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) Cross Country Olympic (XCO) National Series at Kinross State Forest, claiming both men’s Elite races.
McConnell dominated, clocking 1.38.31 to win Saturday’s opening round and then 1.46.34 to pass the post first in Sunday’s second round.
He did reasonably easily on Saturday’s punchy 4.7km loop, beating second-placed Russell Nankervis by exactly 50 seconds but was pushed to the brink by Ben Bradley on day two. McConnell triumphed by just 11 seconds on the all up then all down, 6km trail.
It was neck-and-neck between McConnell and Bradley the entire race too on Sunday.
They finished their first and second laps in identical times, before the latter broke away by three seconds in the third.
McConnell pulled back one second on the fourth lap, before whizzing past Bradley and extending his gap to 11 seconds by the end of the fifth and final circuit.
“Happy to take the win, a great way to start 2017,” McConnell said on social media.
“Orange put on a super fun and technical course.”
Cameron Wright dominated the junior division, winning reasonably comfortably on both days, while Brian Price and Aiden Lefmann won the Expert division on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Riley King was superb in the Under 17s, winning comfortably by 16 seconds on both loops, with Charlie Todd coming in second in both races.
King clocked 52.00 through three laps of the 4.7km circuit on Saturday and then 42.55 on the 6km loop the second day, securing maximum Series points for the weekend.
Dylan George came second to Caleb Todd on day one, before reversing the result on Sunday. The two both rode magnificently, clocking sub 45 minutes on day one and then sub 26 on the second.
Eden Dickson was strong in the Under 13s, winning both days, as was Fraser McQueen, who finished second on day one. Lachlan Fergusson took bronze on Saturday, before finishing second on Sunday.
Of Orange’s racers, Michael McDonald ran fourth in Masters 1 on Saturday, Leo Presslaber came ninth in Masters 4 on day one while Derek Williamson ran eighth both days and Mark Chapman performed superbly, finishing sixth in Masters 6 on both loops.