Du Plessis is SA’s best and Ngubane makes history

The junior men’s and women’s downhill got Friday’s competition underway In blustery conditions and it was American Richard Rude Jnr who hurtled down the Cascades MTB Park Downhill course... Read more

The junior men’s and women’s downhill got Friday’s competition underway In blustery conditions and it was American Richard Rude Jnr who hurtled down the Cascades MTB Park Downhill course five seconds faster than second placed Loris Vergier whilst the women’s title went to Great Britain’s Tahnee Seagrave.

And very much part of the occasion was he host nation’s Theo Ngubane, right, who became the first black South African to compete in the downhill discipline at a World Championships and was incredibly happy with the opportunity to compete at the biggest downhill spectacle in the world.

The junior women’s clash was the first of the morning and with only five competitors it was a one horse race as Seagrave, last year’s silver medallist, took the rainbow striped jersey in a time of 4hr 52min 001se, finishing seven seconds ahead of second placed Australian Danielle Beercroft.

The obvious absentee from the event was defending champion Holly Feniak who did not take to the course in the timed runs on Thursday, giving Seagrave the inside line to the title after she ended first in the timed runs.

Seagrave’s victorious run was slower than her efforts yesterday however, coming into the encounter, the British youngster was confident that if she kept it together coming down the hill she had a great chance of winning the gold medal.

ÔÇ£The win hasn’t quite kicked in yet,ÔÇØ the elated winner said shortly afterwards. ÔÇ£Even though Holly (Feniak) didn’t ride today anything could have happened coming down and I just needed to get down the hill. ÔÇ£I just wanted to make sure that I had a clean run because I was really nervous about crashing!

ÔÇ£I was slower than my run yesterday but I wanted to be cautious today because a crash can cost you the title,ÔÇØ she added.

The wind appeared to be a factor for many of the riders as they flew down the hill however bronze medallist, Tegan Molloy of Australia, did not find it to be too much of a factor on her run. ÔÇ£The wind wasn’t too bad when I came down because it was quite early but it did pick up a bit later.

ÔÇ£It got a little gusty which can put you off but it didn’t really make much of a difference during my run,ÔÇØ the Australian mentioned.

In the junior men’s American Richard Rude Jnr blew away the rest of the field to claim the win five seconds ahead of the first placed qualifier Frenchman Loris Vergier and third placed Briton Michael Jones.

The American was in fourth place at the first split and really put the hammer down in the final section of the course to claim the gold, knowing only too well what he was going to have to do in order to win. ÔÇ£I made up the time that I missed out on on the pedal section of the course and I had trained for that coming into the event.

ÔÇ£I knew that if I did well in that section of the course I would be tired in the end but the end has a lot of jumps and not as much peddling,ÔÇØ the new world champion said. It was a case of just getting through the run for the American and he was not too aware of what else was happening and the elements that might have been affecting his ride.

ÔÇ£I really wasn’t thinking too much coming down, I just wanted to make sure that I kept my ride together and got down the hill as fast as I could!ÔÇØ

JP Du Plessis was the best placed South African rider who, having occupied the leader’s ‘hot seat’ for a period of time, eventually claimed 19th place overall. A mechanical meant that South Africa’s best qualifier, Gregg Brown, only managed to finish in 45th, forty five seconds off the pace.

Back to Ngubane though. ÔÇ£It was a miracle that I was even here today,ÔÇØ Ngubane said. ÔÇ£I won a competition two years ago and was able to come watch the 2011 World Cup. I got to meet top riders Troy Brosnan and Sam Hill and now to be here, racing the World Champs myself, is just a dream come true.ÔÇØ



Junior Men
1 Richard Rube Jnr. (USA) 4:06.640
2 Loris Vergier (FRA) 4:12.367
3 Michael Jones (GBR) 4:14.043
4 Noel Niederberger (SUI) 4:14.424
5 Dean Lucas (AUS) 4:15.548

Junior Women
1 Tahnee Seagrave (GBR) 4:52.001
2 Danielle Beercroft (AUS) 4:59.513
3 Tegan Molloy (AUS) 5:11.449
4 Fiona Ourdouillie (FRA) 5:13.732
5 Ayako Nakagawa (JPN) 6:05.792

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