Derrick, Brumley Win Australian Worldloppet Race

FasterSkierAugust 30, 2004

Kangaroo Hoppet 14
August 28, 2004
Falls Creek, Australia

Conditions were just about perfect today for the 2004 Kangaroo Hoppet at Falls Creek in North-East Victoria. In a day of exciting racing and close finishes local skier Ben Derrick from Falls Creek smashed the previous course record, completing the 42km event in the smoking time of 1:35:10. The women's 42km event came down to a sprint, with Templestowe's Clare-Louise Brumley winning over KT Calder from Canberra. The Kangaroo Hoppet is Australia's leg of the Worldloppet series of cross country ski races, which includes 14 long-distance ski events world-wide attracting over 90,000 participants annually.

After a very warm week a good freeze overnight set the track hard and fast, and in stark contrast to 2003's blizzard conditions the only weather protection required was some good sun-block. About 1000 skiers from over 20 nations took part in the 42km, 21km, and 7km distances, including the Deputy Premier of Victoria and Minister for Environment John Thwaites, who after officially launching the start of the 42km event skied in the 7km.

A large pack of eight skiers broke away from the field early on in the 42km event, and was still intact at the 10km mark when they hit the “Paralyser”, the first major climb. Former Finnish 50km champion Sami Pietilae made a decisive move as they started into the climb, and only 31-year-old Derrick and 19-year-old NSW Institute of Sport skier Ben Sim were able to follow. Ironically Pietilae was the next to crack as Derrick then Sim made successive attacks as they came up on top of the Bogong High Plains. The two leaders shared the lead until the 38km mark when Derrick, sensing Sim starting to tire, made a concerted effort to break clear. Sim was unable to respond and Derrick went on to win by 26 seconds. Pietilae skied a solo race for third place, 3 minutes off the pace, with Mt Beauty's Paul Murray finishing in fourth.

For most of the women's 42km event you could have thrown a blanket over the top two skiers, who had broken away from the rest of the women soon after the start. The lead swapped back and forth between 26-year-old Brumley and 23-year-old Calder for most of the race, and many of the top men were unable to follow their pace. Calder managed to break clear on the last climb before Wallace's Hut, but Brumley bridged the gap and the two were together again for the last 5km home. The pace picked up as they came off the Rocky Valley Dam wall and Brumley lead over the last hill into the finish straight. Making a final effort to make up ground Calder tripped herself up, and the victory was Brumley's. Three-time Hoppet winner Belinda Phillips of Falls Creek was third, with Sydney's Camille Melvey in fourth place off the podium for the first time in 9 years.

It was a record fourth Kangaroo Hoppet win for Derrick, who lives, works and trains out of the Howmans Gap Alpine Centre at Falls Creek during the winter. Derrick will head to Europe with other members of the Australian Team at the end of year to compete in the 2005 World Championships in Germany and other Worldloppet events.

At the flower-giving ceremony Minister Thwaites announced that Falls Creek would become the official National Team Training Centre for Cross Country Skiing, with a substantial financial investment in the National Team by the Falls Creek Resort Management. Falls Creek and the National Team will work together to promote cross country skiing and help Australian cross country skiers reach new levels of excellence in international competition.

Full Results:

2004 Kangaroo Hoppet 42km

Top 10 Men
1 Ben Derrick, Victoria
2 Ben Sim, NSW
3 Sami Pietilae, FINLAND
4 Paul Murray, Victoria
5 Chris Darlington, NSW
6 Daniel van der Ploeg, Victoria
7 Andrew Wynd, Victoria
8 Andrew Mock, Victoria
9 Mark Raymond, Victoria
10 Leon Spiller, Victoria

Top 10 Women
1 Clare-Louise Brumley, Victoria
2 Katherine Calder, ACT
3 Belinda Phillips, Victoria
4 Camille Melvey, NSW
5 Robin Rodd, Victoria
6 Mary Feeney-Hall, USA
7 Rhiannon Palmer, ACT
8 Jane Scheer, NSW
9 Sandra Paul, Victoria
10 Nicole David, GREAT BRITAIN

2004 Australian Birkebeiner 21km

Top 5 Men
1 Mark van der Ploeg, Victoria
2 Paul Gray, Victoria
3 Ian Bottomley, Victoria
4 Teruyuki Katayama, JAPAN
5 Tatsuya Ikeda, JAPAN

Top 5 Women
1 Esther Bottomley, Victoria
2 Sally Cunningham, ACT
3 Sonomi Tomogane, JAPAN
4 Aimee Watson, NSW
5 Robyn McLennan, Victoria

2004 Joey Hoppet 7km

Top 5 Men
1 Simon Flower, Victoria
2 Callum Watson, NSW
3 Chris Cook, Victoria
4 Campbell Townsend, Victoria
5 Cal Britten, Victoria

Top 5 Women
1 Chloe McConville, Victoria
2 Jaffa Withers, Victoria
3 d'Arcy Baxter, NSW
4 Kelly Hertzog, Victoria
5 Claire Bradbury, NSW



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