Young Armidale mountain bike rider Michael Harris will wear the green and gold for Australia when he competes in the Oceania championships in New Zealand next week, having won the junior men’s cross country mantle at the Mountain Bike Australia national championships in Bright, Victoria on 18 March.
The Armidale School Year 12 student carved up the course at the championships, completing the three lap 5.2km course in a time of one hour, three minutes, 52 seconds and six one-hundredths of a second (1:03:52:6).
Going into the event ranked third, Michael sat on the wheels of Kian Lerch-Mackinnon for the first two laps, tailing the Victorian by barely a second at the line. He then made his move in the third lap, overtaking his rival and clocking 20:26:29, his cumulative time being 24 seconds faster than Kian Lerch-Mackinnon, who had been ranked second going into the championships. Almost a minute and a half later was third place getter Luke Pankhurst, from the Northern Territory.
“My race managed to go exactly to plan and I managed to hold onto Kian throughout the race, which was paramount. On the last lap I dug really deep and attacked at the last moment possible and managed to pull a small gap which opened on the last downhill before the finish,” Michael said.
He said is immensely looking forward to going into next weekends’ Oceana Championships as the Australian title holder.
“I am very excited to race for Australia especially being in the champs jersey, it’s a dream come true and something I wasn’t expecting, making it even better.”
Michael went into the tournament on the back of his second place in the U19 men’s category in the final round of the National Mountain Bike Series at Toowoomba, ultimately finishing third overall in the series results.