Hawkes Bay pair Brook Macdonald and George Brannigan impressed by qualifying in the top seven of the downhill at the penultimate round of the mountain bike world cup near New York today.
Macdonald, sixth in last week's world cup action in Canada, was sixth fastest in qualifying at Windham, while Brannigan was one spot back.
Five Kiwis qualified for the elite race, with Sam Blenkinsop 11th fastest, Cameron Cole 19th and national champion Justin Leov 28th.
The course retains much of the track from previous years, aside from some small sections that were washed out from Hurricane Irene which threatened the staging of the event.
Four other Kiwi riders missed out on a place in the top 80 to qualify for Monday's (NZT) final.
Meanwhile, last week's winning world cup pair, Samara Sheppard and Anton Cooper, are chasing more podium honours in the crosscountry this weekend.
Sheppard achieved a breakthrough victory at Mont Sainte Anne to move her to No 3 in the world in the women's under-23 category, while Cooper devastated the junior men's field and is now leading the world cup standings.
Brad Hudson, Tom Bradshaw and Mathew Waghorn will contest the men's under-23 class, while Oceania champion Amber Johnson and Samantha Hope will compete in the junior women's race.
Cooper is joined by Nigel McDowell and Tom Filmer in the junior men.
Results from downhill qualifying at the mountain bike world cup in New York today:
Aaron Gwin (USA) 2:27.803, 1; Steve Smith (CAN) 2:28.399, 2; Damien Spagnolo (FRA,) 2:29.379, 3. Also: Brook Macdonald (NZ) 2:31.867, 6; George Brannigan (NZ) 2:32.590, 7; Sam Blenkinsop (NZ) 2:33.104, 11; Cameron Cole (NZ) 2:34.160, 19; Justin Leov (NZ) 2:35.454, 28 (all qualified); Tom Matthews (NZ) 2:48.083, 109; James Rennie (NZ) 2:52.371, 132; Kieran Bennett (NZ) 2:53.606, 135; Edward Masters (NZ) DNF; Daniel Aitken (NZ) DNS.