February 15th, 2015

George Brannigan Defends National Title



In a team 1-2 that saw Trek World Racing’s George Brannigan and Brook MacDonald claim the gold and silver at the New Zealand National Downhill Championships today in Rotorua, the team also saw the continuation of the title staying 'in house'. Since Justin Leov won the title in 2012, Trek World Racing riders have taken their Sessions to the winner’s circle 4 years running.

In a superb run today, George was the only rider to break the three minute barrier on the new course at the Skyline Rotorua Mountain Bike Gravity Park, finishing in 2mins 59.85secs. Brook took second with a 3m 03.35secs with both riders well clear of World Number 5 Sam Blenkinsop in third at 3mins 05.82secs.

George said he didn’t let the fact he was defending champion play on his mind.

“To be honest I just treated it like any other national race because in New Zealand everyone is so laid back, and I think that helped because I didn’t feel any pressure,” said Brannigan.

He also enjoyed the chance to retain his jersey on the new course.

“Everyone had to adapt to this new course, but it’s the style of track I like – fast and rough. Coming down I had a couple of moments, but that’s just natural because the track is so loose, so I was like ‘man I hope I stay on’, and I did.”

Brannigan had earlier set the fastest seeding time, with a 3:00.69 run, nearly five seconds better than his closest rival.

“I got three (minutes) flat in seeding and didn’t pedal too hard, so I knew I could break it (the 3 minute barrier) – so I just pedalled hard and it worked out”.

Both George and Brook take some time off from local racing now to focus on the upcoming events at Crankworx Rotorua at the end of next month.

Lower Image: 2015 National Championships, credit: Mead Norton Photography

For details: www.rotoruabikefestival.com and www.cyclingnewzealand.nz



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