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Record Riders Take Part in the Australian Interschools Mountain Bike Championships

Posted on 18 Mar, 2019

One of the biggest events of the summer, the Australian Interschools Mountain Bike Championships, took place in Thredbo over the weekend with exciting gravity action, records tumbling, super impressive riding and mountains of mateship.

This was the 22nd running of the participation event and it was the biggest yet – 660 school aged riders from over 140 schools saw 1500 race starts. The championships have four age divisions riding in three point scoring competitions plus two fun novelty events. Downhill, Cross-Country and Flow Motion all accumulated points for the school and the Pump Track Challenge and Sprint Relay were big crowd pleasers.

“This year’s event marks a turning point for junior grass roots mountain bike competition in Australia, with events that catered for most levels of riders we saw a substantial increase in competitors compared to last year” said Danny Taliana – Manager of Thredbo MTB.

The introduction of the Flow Trail race has given beginner and younger riders the opportunity to experience downhill racing without the tough technical features, the kids are stoked and more confident” he said.

First day of racing was the Maxxis Flow Motion Cup – the pits were packed with bikes and kids of all sizes, the vibe was nervous but excited. Over 600 kids lined up to take on the 4.5km loose and dusty track.The pint sized groms in division 4 were able to have a shadow rider to get them down the mountain and they clocked some impressive times.  Fastest on the day were Division 2 riders Aidan Adams from Jindabyne Central School and Mansfield Secondary College’s Elise Empey. The hecklers on the hill certainly added plenty of entertainment, especially in the bottom berms getting riders home with a smile.

Downhill day saw early showers dampen the track adding another element to the already challenging ride. It didn’t seem to slow anyone down with Riverview rider Josh Arcus crossing the line in 5:04 in the men’s while Elise Empey the fastest female with a 6:11. As this event encourages participation, riders had the choice to take on the more technical Cannonball Downhill or a modified mix that included the Flow Trail.

All divisions were hotly contested in the Rockshox Pump Track Challenge and it fired up the family crowd as they cheered the kids through the berms and over the rollers to the finish.

The final day was the Osprey Cross Country, with around 500 kids lapping the 2.5 kilometre Friday Flat loop. Each division had a set number of laps to complete with division 1 completing six. The course is 70/30 uphill to downhill and at altitude, it tested the fitness of the competitors.

The mass start saw the riders at the front power out early. A highlight was in div 1 men’s where Oliver Arcus lead the whole race, but around lap 2 he had a mechanical where his axle was loose so he kicked it back in and kept riding. Within 30 metres of the finish line it finally gave out, so he picked up his bike and ran to the finish, while he lost the number one spot he ran into second.

It was a battle of the brothers all weekend with Riverview riders Oliver and Josh Arcus finishing on various heights of the podium in most events, it was Josh that eventually took out the King of the Mountain.

Consistency was key with the crowning of eight divisional Kings and Queens of the mountain for those who participated and placed well right across the weekend.

The jewel in the crown, the Overall Champion School, saw Jindabyne Central School win the shield, it was a shock result as Heathcote High had an eleven year reign. St Ignatius College Riverview won the boy’s school title and Saint Mary’s Wollongong winning the girls.

Along with riding there was a great show of mateship it was awesome to see the kids getting behind not only their fellow team members but also to support those they didn’t even know.

Click here to checkout the results from the 2019 Australian MTB Interschools Championships.

Click here to checkout all images of competitors from the event!

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