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Leov and Cole on Top DH Form
3 Jun, 2010
New Zealands World Class Downhill racers continued their preparation for this weekend's UCI World Cup on opposite sides of the Atlantic over the weekend.
US Open, Diablo Freeride Park, Vernon, New Jersey
Justin Leov (Trek World Racing, Dunedin) and Kieran Bennett (DRD Tomac, Nelson) competed at the lucrative US Open yesterday. The popular event run during the US Memorial Day holiday weekend drew over 500 professional and amateur competitors for its eighth edition. Leov's World Cup team were in attendance, and just as with the previous weekend's race Leov's teammate Andrew Neethling proved to be the form rider to beat. Neethling won by the slimmest of margins with Leov only fractions back in 3rd place. Bennett had a forgettable weekend - off track excursions in both qualifying and in the race run putting paid to any hope of challenging for the podium, finishing with a disappointing 34th. 
Brief Results US Open, New Jersey
1 Andrew Neethling (RSA) 2:19.60; 2 Gee Atherton (GBR) 2:20.10; 3 Justin Leov (NZL) 2:20.40; 4 Steve Smith (CAN) 2:21.00; 5 Sam Hill (AUS) 2:21.50; 34 Kieran Bennett (NZL) 2:36.50
IXS European Downhill Cup, Innerleithen, Scotland
Nine New Zealand Downhill racers were in action at Innerleithen - the first time the IXS Eurpean Cup had included a venue in Scotland. Being so close to the venue for this weekend's UCI World Cup at Fort William, the calibre of field was high with an influx of World Cup athletes and teams.
Cameron Cole (Maxxis - Rocky Mountain, Christchurch) continued his strong run of form at the rebuilt Innerleithen course, which dropped 260 meters over a length of 1.6 kilometers and is also known for being technically demanding. Oceania Champion Cole raced to fifth behind surprise winner Ben Cathro (Scotland). Cathro's speed and pace is well known to the New Zealand downhill community, having spent the 2009 summer racing in the NZ MTB Cup - this IXS win a major result for the likeable Scot.
Next best of the New Zealand contingent was Wyn Masters (Kenda - Playbiker, New Plymouth) in 15th, a result which NZ National Champion Masters will be aiming to improve on at Fort William on a race course which better suits his particular strengths.
Brief Results, IXS Euro Cup, Innerleithen
1 Ben Cathro (GBR) 2:57.28; 2 Lewis Buchanan (GBR) 2:58.47; 3 Matt Simmonds (GBR) 2:58.58; 4 Nick Beer (SWI) 2:58.63; 5 Cameron Cole (NZL) 2:59.10; 15 Wyn Masters (NZL) 3:05.51; 35 Joseph Nation (NZL) 3:14.72; 41 Richard Leacock (NZL) 3:16.94; 47 Aari Barrett (NZL) 3:18.62; 48 Dan Simms (NZL) 3:18.90; 53 Brook MacDonald (NZL) 3:19.62; 58 James Hoggan (NZL) 3:20.66; 94 Sam Baker (NZL) 3:29.75
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