Third na­tional cy­clocross ti­tle for Hurst

Upper Hutt Leader - - CLASSIFIED - MATTHEWTSO

‘‘It was sim­i­lar to a Huttcross course ... I felt re­ally well pre­pared.’’

A Marl­bor­ough vine­yard was trans­formed into a Bel­gian mud bath as Kim Hurst took the Elite na­tional women’s cy­clocross ti­tle on Au­gust 19.

The GP from Up­per Hutt was ‘‘stoked’’ to have won the ti­tle for the third time, hav­ing missed out on the chance to race the na­tion­als at home last year due to in­jury. Her pre­vi­ous wins came in 2012 and 2014.

Hurst com­pleted eight laps of the track in a time of 1hr 15:06min, over six min­utes clear of run­ner up Anja Mc­Don­ald, of Nel­son/ Tas­man.

She said she felt at home on the muddy course, with the track sim­i­lar to those she en­coun­tered in the lo­cal Huttcross se­ries.

‘‘It was sim­i­lar to a Huttcross course. Slightly longer, but with chal­leng­ing, muddy ter­rain and tight cor­ners. I felt re­ally well pre­pared.’’

She was grate­ful for the Up­per Hutt City Coun­cil’s sup­port of the se­ries, which was piv­otal into her prepa­ra­tion.

Hurst felt even more at home among the large and bois­ter­ous con­tin­gent from the Hutt Val­ley and Welling­ton cy­clocross com­mu­nity that had made it across the Cook Strait to Blen­heim for the na­tion­als.

’’Even though I wasn’t the lo­cal girl, I cer­tainly felt like one.’’

It was a good day for the Hutt and Welling­ton con­tin­gent, with wins to Ni­cholas Kennedy, Welling­ton, in the male sin­gle speed cat­e­gory, and Yvonne Boland, Pe­tone, and Geoff Not­man, Welling­ton, in the fe­male and male ma­ture masters races. Gary Moller, Welling­ton, took out the male grand masters and Lisa Hunkin, Lower Hutt, won the fe­male non-champs race.

Hurst has lit­tle time to bask in her win, as she pre­pares to head to the United States next month for two World Cup races.

They will give her the op­por­tu­nity to qual­ify for the 2018 World Cham­pi­onships in the Netherlands, where her ul­ti­mate goal is to rep­re­sent New Zealand.

‘‘[I’m do­ing the World Cup races] all in the hope of se­cur­ing a top 30 plac­ing.

‘‘If I do, then I can rep­re­sent New Zealand in Hol­land in Fe­bru­ary. Cy­clocross is mas­sive over there, they can get crowds of 50,000. To be able to fly the flag in that sort of at­mos­phere would be in­cred­i­ble.’’

PHOTO: MATTHEW TSO/STUFF

Kim Hurst hur­dles a bar­rier in a race at Ngati Tama Park.

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