After almost 4 months away from racing it was finally time to pin on a start number again. It was possibly the strongest Oceania champs field there has ever been with all the top riders throughout New Zealand and Australia taking to the start line in Dunedin.
I expected the Aussies to be riding well after Cam Ivory and Dan McConnell had been training hard for their road Nationals just a couple of weeks prior and for my fellow Kiwi’s, Ben Oliver and especially Sam Gaze to be on hot form too.
The course in Dunedin was very similar to when we raced there in 2018, with 3 main climbs and descents. It was the driest I’d ever seen it in Dunedin too and the course was starting to get very dusty and blown out. I’d have to be careful not to puncture or crash in the race.
I had a good clean start and hit the first corner in the lead. I was able to get into the singletrack first and open out a small advantage by the top of the first climb. I crossed the line after the first lap with a 5 second lead over Cam Ivory and set about riding a steady tempo and gradually stretching my lead out to around 50 secs heading into the last couple of laps.
I kept a lid on things to make sure not to cook myself before Nationals just 2 days later and rode the last laps conservatively to see home my advantage and cross the finish line to claim my 5th Elite Oceania title in a row! Cam Ivory finished second and Dan McConnell sealed 3rd spot on the podium.