Nelson’s Josie Wilcox and Rangiora’s Craig Oliver have claimed the honours at the Marathon MTB National Championships in Rotorua.
The pair claimed the elite titles as part of the annual Isuzu Utes Whaka 100 in Rotorua which attracted around 3000 entries across a range of events staged on the famed trails in the Whakarewarewa Forest.
Wilcox, the radiographer from Nelson, claimed her third elite victory at the Whaka 100, overcoming defending champion and under-23 cross-country world champion, Sammie Maxwell.
The Nelson rider, runner-up to Maxwell at the Torpedo7 MTB National Championships in February, took the lead from the defending champion at the halfway mark. Maxwell fought back to reclaim the lead before Wilcox again went to the front at the 60km mark, remaining clear to claim her third win in the prestigious 100km event and went on to win the challenging event in 5:46.22.
Maxwell, just returned from her full season on the MTB World Cup circuit where she won the under-23 XCO world title and runner-up in the U23 world cup, fought on to finish runner-up 14 minutes back.
Sarah Gilbert (Christchurch), part of the MitoQ Racing team, was third in 6:25.41.
Oliver, also part of the MitoQ Racing team, got the better of younger brother Ben, the men’s elite defending champion.
It was a similar story to the women’s race with Ben Oliver, also just back from the international MTB racing season in Europe and North America, making his way to the front by the 40km mark ahead of older brother Craig.
However Craig Oliver edged ahead at the 54km time check and from that point was not headed, winning in 4:56.27.
Ben, also with MitoQ Racing, was only four minutes behind in second with a further four minutes back to renowned Canadian endurance MTB rider, Cory Wallace, a two-time Canadian MTB Marathon Champion. Palmerston North's Caleb Bottcher followed closely to finish third in the Elite Men National Championships.
The under-23 national men’s honours went to Napier’s Ben Wilson in 5:46.32, just 2:45 ahead of Taupo’s James Officer.
The event also doubled as the official MTB Eliminator Nationals, staged earlier in the competition, and run over a 300m circuit on an elimination basis.
Cambridge rider Lochlan Brown, third last year, prevailed in the final over Ben Oliver, after also winning the semifinal over Oliver. Wellington’s Jesse Cseh was third.
Maxwell made it two in a row in winning the women’s final from Amelie Mackay from Christchurch and Australian Holly Lubcke third.
Event results: www.whaka100.co.nz