Seven In A Row For English And Thomas Returns At The 2014 Australian Solo 24 Hour

Words by Rocky Trail Entertainment | Images by OuterImage.com.au

The seventh JetBlack 24 Hour mountain bike endurance event was held at The Australian Botanic Garden, Mt Annan in Sydney on the weekend. For the first time, the JetBlack 24 Hour also hosted the official Australian 24 Hour Solo National Championships and Jason English from Port Macquarie (NSW) defended his title in the men’s overall. Victoria’s cross-country racer Tory Thomas re-claimed the women’s title after a victory in 2004 again at Mt Annan.

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Jason English on track to his seventh 24H Solo National title at Mt Annan.

Event promoters from Rocky Trail Entertainment gathered close to 400 competitors and over 300 supporters and event crews to one of the most iconic cycling events in Sydney. The JetBlack 24 Hour this year also hosted the official Australian 24 Hour Solo National Championships. Almost one fifth of the field competed in the race for the official national titles and in the men’s the big race favourite confirmed his dominance in the sport. The five-time 24 Hour Solo World Champion Jason English from Port Macquarie claimed the national title for the seventh time in a row on the popular 9.8km track that included some brand-new sections, which were launched right in time for the event.
“The last time I raced here was in 2011 and since then the track has changed a lot. It’s longer, has a lot more great features that are fun to ride and in a 24-hour race that keeps you on your toes. I have to admit that it was a very tough day out and looking at how it unfolded it could have been anyone’s race. I’m very happy to win number seven!” exclaimed an ecstatic English. Race conditions had been tough with temperatures climbing into the low thirties and the competition for the green and gold jersey of the overall solo winner was fierce.
Jason English crosses the line at Mt Annan after over 350km in 24 hours (36 laps of the 9.8km course).

Jason English crosses the line at Mt Annan after over 350km in 24 hours (36 laps of the 9.8km course).

Andrew Lloyd from Newcastle was one of the strongest contenders early on and eventually won his  23-29 age group title. Sam Moffitt and David Speering from Canberra came in second and third overall after 24 hours of racing and Michael Timp from the Central Coast’s Noraville in NSW claimed fourth. Kevin Pullen from South Australia was fifth.
Interstate riders flock to Mt Annan
Almost 50 riders from interstate competed in the JetBlack 24 Hour event – the Commonwealth Games racer Tory Thomas from Victoria took out the women’s 24 Hour solo national title and with 33 completed laps phenomenally claimed the fifth overall place in the entire solo field. Thomas last had won the coveted title in 2004 and spoke of her history in the sport.
“It’s great! I guess my 24hr career ended against my choice in 2005, I was hit by a car and so I took up cross-country racing but I just wanted one more crack”.
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Race start to the seventh JetBlack 24 Hour event.

Liz Smith from Wollongong proofed to be Tory Thomas’ strongest competitor and attacked her fiercely in the early morning hours of the Sunday. Tory’s determination was unbeatable and Smith couldn’t bridge the gap, finishing in second overall and winning her age group title.
“To come second behind Tory Thomas who has collected so many accolades in her racing career so far makes me proud and I am satisfied with my result”, said Smith who plans to ramp up her endurance training to compete in a 24 Hour Solo World Championship event in the future.
With Meredith Quinlan, Wendy Stevenson and Briony Mattocks three regulars at Rocky Trail races from Sydney’s Northern Suburbs and national title winners in their respective age groups completed the top-five female podium.
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Podium of 24H Solo National Champions of all age groups (l-r): Peter Arch (23-29), Peter Selkrig (50-54), Ash Turner (45-49), Andrew Lloyd (23-29), Briony Mattocks (23-29), Phil Mathewson (60+), Tory Thomas (35-39), Jason English (30-34), Wendy Stevenson (50-54), Meredith Quinlan (40-44), Catherine Wood (45-49), Alex Beedie (U23), Elvio Fernandes (35-39), Liz Smith (30-34).

Team and social 6+6H categories are popular at Mt Annan
Almost half of the entire racing field had competed in sub-categories, which provided participants with a break overnight between six pm and six am.“We find that these 6+6-hour categories are a great introduction into 24-hour racing and they are popular with racers across the board: from endurance riders who prefer not to race at night to juniors and groups of friends and couples”, said Race Director Martin Wisata from Rocky Trail Entertainment.
The overall race win for the team with the most completed laps in the JetBlack 24 Hours race went to the Pedal4Pierce Onya Bike team from Canberra. A team of six riders clocked in 44 laps in just over 24 hours and took out the line honours of the event.
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