Rotorua riders looking to peg back the Brits

By Sports Report,

Rotorua downhill mountain bikers will look to get one back off the British riders in round two of the New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup series at Mt Hutt today.

The opening round of the series at Bluff last weekend saw the elite men's and women's races won by visiting British riders, Bernard Kerr and Jess Stone; both of whom will be on the start line in Canterbury.

Lousi Hamilton and Desmond Curry were the best of the Rotorua riders, finishing third and eight respectively. The pair were followed by senior men's rider Steven Pattle 25 (overall) and under-19 men's riders Lawrence Cawte 17th, Keegan Wright 30th and Andrew Pittams 76th. In the under-17 men's division Nathan Sanders finished 70th, Rhys Pittams 74th and Jack Hale 83rd. Master men's rider Nigel Robinson finished 81st.

Christchurch rider Amy Laird will be racing in her home town, following a third placing at Bluff last weekend, and will hope local knowledge can give her the edge.

"I just think I need to do pretty much the same as last time but keep it clean this time. I had a crash on the second corner in Bluff so just need to fix that," said Laird.

The 30-year-old has a great amount of respect for her competitors and is optimistic but realistic about her chances of winning.

"Jess Stone is over from England and is probably by far the favourite. She's a top 10 World Cup rider who is down here for our summer's racing,"

Laird's fiance Cam Cole will also be in action this weekend in the elite men's race, having finished second behind British rider Kerr at Bluff, and will be hoping to go one better.

"We always have little competitions amongst ourselves, like if I finish within a minute of his time then I win. I normally set the time so that I just beat him which really frustrates him," said Laird.

"He's really good to ride and race with. I've learned a lot from him, especially since he's so calm and collected when he's racing."

Round three of the downhill mountain bike series will be in Levin on February 2-3.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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