Steinhoff makes the most of his chance
Brian Steinhoff and Karen Smith powered their way to the men's and women's titles in the Winners Edge Bermuda National Mountain Biking Championships at Ferry Reach Park yesterday.
With the unavailability of Neil de ste Croix, the 2013 winner, and Dominique Mayho, who won the regular season, the door was open to Steinhoff and Mark Hatherley to see their name in the headlines.
The pair went tyre to tyre for the majority of the seven-lap race in the open male division before the new champion pulled away in the dying stages to capture the top prize.
Steinhoff did not have it his own way, however, as he found himself trailing Hatherley after the third lap. After eventually reeling in his rival on the sixth lap, when Hatherley's seat became loose, Steinhoff never looked back and finished the course in 1hr 6min 49sec.
The unlucky Hatherley was a distance back in 1:08:46, while Grant Goudge rounded out the podium places in 1:09:07.
Although he was pleased with his ride and execution of the game plan, Steinhoff said that victory was bittersweet owing to the absence of Mayho, who is overseas.
“It was tough out there,” Steinhoff said. “I was really trying to keep up with Mark for the most part, so that worked out in the end for me. He is a really strong rider and I knew that if I could keep up with him, I stood a good chance in the final stages.
“He lost me on the third lap for a bit, I caught him up around lap six due to mechanical problems and that was it.
“The one thing that would have made it a bit sweeter would have been Dominique being here, as he has been the person to beat all season.”
Smith was equally impressive in the women's division, as her time showed, finishing the eight laps of the women's course in 1:18:04, more than two minutes ahead of Ali Watlington, who crossed the line in 1:20:28, with Laurie Orchard third in 1:28:14.
“I'm pleased with the race, the course is difficult but you have to manage it as best you can,” Smith said. “The main plan was to get out early and set a good pace. From there the race dictates itself.”
The junior male and junior female titles went to Matthew Oliveira and Gabriella Arnold. Oliveira won the male category in 1:14:41, with Daniel Oatley second in 1:19:01 and Christian Oatley third in 1:19:53.
Arnold remains head and shoulders above the rest of the girls, this being her thirteenth national title as a junior. She was well clear by the time she crossed the line in 1:14:45, with Tristan Narraway second in 1:26:19 and Victoria Davis third in 1:31:19.
Conor White and Rebecca Harrison won the boys' and girls' races in the 13-16 category, while Manning Smith was the only 12-and-under rider.