Learning curve for mountainbiker

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Mechanical problems cost Oamaru downhill mountainbiker Connor Sandri a chance for better finishes at the UCI downhill mountain biking World Cup races in Canada and the United States and World Championship in Oslo, Norway, recently.

Sandri, 17, who raced at these meets for the first time, suffered his first mechanical problem at the race in Canada where he crashed and missed out on a place in the next round. With the top 30 riders going through, Sandri finished 31st.

Then at the next race of the series in America he suffered his first mechanical problem and this resulted in him missing out by 0.1 of a second.

Sandri then returned home for about a week before he headed to Oslo with the New Zealand junior elite side to compete in the World Champs.

More mechanical problems continued to plague Sandri in Norway, with him losing his shocks, which were eventually fixed so he could carry on and finish his race.

In one of his races Sandri crashed twice, but still managed to pick up a respectable 24th placing, before finishing 30th in the following race – something his father said he was disappointed with, despite being the third fastest of six kiwis in his race.

“He thought he could do better than that and if he didn’t crash twice then he may well have, but it’s a fantastic learning curve for him.”

Sandri’s father Mike said despite the disappointment of missing out during the qualifying it was still a fantastic experience for his son.

“He may not have performed quite as well as he may have hoped, but he still did really well considering it was his first time competing in these events,” he said.

His father said he still had another year to compete.

It’s going to be a busy few months for Sandri with him competing in the Southern Series starting this weekend and then full on until January next year.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: PAULA SYMES

BIKE TROUBLES: Bike problems at recent meets overseas cost Connor Sandri a higher placed finishes.