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Laurence congratulates Leuchs

Team RoadCraft Take Brake Burner
9 Feb, 2009
New Zealand�s elite cross-country mountain bike riders Marcus Roy, of Invercargill, and Kashi Leuchs, of Dunedin, traded their lightweight cross-country race bikes for downhill mountain bikes at the weekend and showed that they are as competitive in this code, with Roy setting the second fastest lap (20.03), and Leuchs winning the team�s event with a total of 17 laps.

This race was never about winning for Roy and Leuchs � the 2009 NZone The Ultimate Jump Brake Burner fitted into the Team RoadCraft Tour simply because it is such a unique event that focuses on the fun aspect of mountain bike riding.

�It fitted so well into the whole concept of the RoadCraft tour � it�s about having fun mountain biking; riding great trails with great scenery and on great machinery [bikes]. It also just happened to be a downhill race,� three-time Olympian Leuchs said.

The event captures the imagination of most mountain bike riders as it comprises 6 hours of chairlift-accessed (Coronet Express), mostly downhill (462m vertical), 5km trail at Coronet Peak that can be ridden and enjoyed by riders of all abilities. Probably more siginificant is that the event attracts top downhill riders and top cross-country riders and puts them head-to-head.

�It was cool to ride with the downhill guys � I got passed a few times, but when we got to the climbs the cross-country guys could generally pass the downhill guys back quite quickly,� Leuchs said.

To ensure the fun side of this race was the main priority, Roy and Leuchs signed up on competing teams and each invited a friend to join them.

Leuchs� team mate choice of good friend Laurence Mote proved wise as the two rode in relay throughout the 6-hour race to win the teams event by 30 seconds. Riding under the team banner of Moose and Knuckle the pair won with a total of 17 laps, creating much comical debate as to who put in the extra �winning� lap.

�This event is so special � you�re doing lot of downhill and you�re pumping all the way down and then you get to the bottom and you�re exhausted, but everyone is grinning. It�s a very social event � there are friendly people everywhere. Even out on the track everyone is friendly and nice as they�re passing or getting passed,� Leuchs said.

Roy enjoyed the chance to ride with some of New Zealand�s top downhillers, but was not surprised to post one of the fastest lap times, only beaten by 0.01 of a second by Andy Reid, of Blenheim.

�The course was very well suited to a cross-country rider � the downhill wasn�t too technical and the short, sharp climbs played to the advantage of a shorter travel bike. I had a cross-country bike with 100mm of suspension [front and back] and I could lock my suspension out for the climbs � some of the downhill guys were riding with 200mm travel and were riding bikes weighing twice that of mine,� Roy said.

�Even on the downhills I wasn�t losing that much on the downhill riders and I never got overtaken in a lap,� Roy said.�

Roy asked friend and training partner Andrew Ballantyne, of Invercargill, to join his team, but a crash in a fast section of the trail saw Ballantyne�s left shoulder pop out, rupturing his AC joint and ending his day.

The next event on the Team RoadCraft calendar is the inaugural Alpine Epic 260km four-day stage race from Mt Somers to Tekapo from February 25 to 28. The 50km Motatapu Icebreaker starting at Glendhu Bay, Wanaka on March 14 and finishing in Arrowtown will conclude the tour.

Click to enlarge...
Kashi on the edge

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