Nathan Mummery and Janine Jungfels have again proven they are a class above the competition at the 2023 AusCycling Trials National Championship.
In warm conditions at Friday Flat in Thredbo, NSW, competitors battled it out on the purpose-built course, comprising of five sections made from industrial objects and urban furniture.
Janine Jungfels was the only competitor in the Elite Women’s category, but her outstanding combination of precision and power outshone many of the men she rode against in the Expert category.
Jungfels also used her experience to full effect, strategically putting one foot down on difficult gates, which enabled her to keep sections alive and acquire more points on subsequent gates. Putting both feet down prevents further points from being acquired.
The 450-point performance was also remarkable given the 2015 World Champion had limited preparation coming into the event.
“I wasn't really sure what to expect because I’ve really only been riding back on the bike for the last three weeks, because I had some bad post-concussion symptoms from a mountain bike crash, so that wasn’t ideal leading into this. But it was good. Good challenging sections and I managed to get through a couple of them, so that was fun,” Jungfels said.
The Queenslander also said she looked forward to competing at the National Championship each year.
“It's always a fun event, and it's great catching up with all the interstate riders as well. We’ve all got common interests and love riding, so we always just have a bit of banter and catch up again. That's always really fun.”
After picking up a Trials bike only a few months ago, Katherine Hosking took out the gold medal in the Novice Women’s category. Hosking placed fourth in the Elite Women’s Cross Country Olympic National Championship and took bronze in the Elite Women’s XCC National Championship last week.
Nathan Mummery’s recent experience at international level set him apart from the rest of the field in the Elite Men’s competition.
Mummery, also from Queensland, looked powerful and composed from the outset, and made few mistakes on the way to scoring 790 points out of a possible 900.
11-time National Champion Andrew Dickey returned to the sport after a three-year absence and looked the most likely to challenge Mummery, but his final score of 460 points demonstrated the difference between the two riders.
Speaking to AusCycling after the win, Mummery reflected on the warm conditions during the event and how Dickey drove his own performance.
“I felt pretty confident, but I think it was pretty hard with the heat today. We didn't really have any shade and the sections were also quite long, so I’m feeling pretty tired, and I’m glad it’s done and dusted,” Mummery said.
“I was a bit lucky with the start. I feel like I got a bit of a start on [Dickey] and got a bit of lead, but look, he’s won 11 National titles, so he's always a pretty formidable opponent. We rode together during the event, so I could sort of keep track of him and try and get ahead of him, and today I was lucky enough to edge him off.”
It is the sixth consecutive title for Mummery, who despite building his own legacy in the sport, admitted the National Championship brings a particular level of pressure to perform.
“It's probably the most important event of the year for me. When I go to World Champs or a World Cup, you feel like an underdog where if I can get top 20 or top 15, that's sort of the target for me at my level. But when you come to National Champs, I want to win, so there's a lot more pressure. Yeah, this means a lot to me.”
Matt Harding took out the bronze medal with a score of 410 points.
Trials riders now have their sights set on the UCI World Championships later this year, with Jungfels, Mummery, Harding, and Sebastian Zepeda hoping to represent Australia at Glasgow in August.
The 2023 AusCycling MTB National Championships is proudly supported by Destination NSW and the Department of Regional NSW.
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