‘Right now, because the pain is over,’ replied one rider with a wry grin and a wink when asked about his favourite moment of the 2016 Cape to Cape.
Despite this event challenging all participants, regardless of ability, the tangible sense of achievement at the finish made it more than worthwhile.
As the riders rolled in, so did the stories. Perhaps the best summary of the event came from Samara Sheppard, winner of the elite womens category who said ‘everything from the diversity of the trails, the huge field and the locations make this event so special’.
The day’s racing was as exciting as expected. Tasman Nankervis had a two-minute lead coming into the stage, which he held onto seemingly effortlessly, with his Torq troops keeping the lead bunch under control. The camaraderie amongst the Torq team was clear to see, with Nankervis’ teammates riding hard to support ‘Tas’.
‘This race has been one of the easier stage races I’ve done. The Torq boys worked so hard for me at the front that I almost never touched the wind, and I just enjoyed the singletrack,’ said Nankervis. We’re excited to see more of this humble young man.
With no change in the overall standings due to the tactical racing of the Torq squad, the race was animated by Reece Tucknott, who was accompanied initially by none other than Paul van der Ploeg.
The pair attacked early in the stage, and were building a dominant lead in the singletrack before disaster struck for van der Ploeg, who suffered a mechanical that left him unable to continue.
The fighting spirit all the competitors showed today was embodied by the effort of Reece Tucknott at the front of the field. Alone, deep in the pain cave, the media vehicle tracked Reece battling on the long straights that made up large parts of stage four. The West Australian showed the fight that every finisher of the Cape to Cape showed by never giving up.
With his father Tony on the microphone calling the event, the crowd waited nervously to see if Reece could hold his advantage to the line. When Reece came across the line solo, the emotion was obvious. Today’s win was a very classy performance indeed, kudos Reece.
‘I won a stage in the Port to Port, but to take the win today with all of the riders that are here and the awesome crowd is huge for me,’ said Reece.
Reece also worked on the event, organising the Sundown Shootout, which was an event highlight: ‘It’s been a real eye opener for me this year working on the event, seeing just how much work goes into it all. I’ve got so much respect for everyone involved.’
The women’s race ended with similarly exciting scenes. It was neck and neck between Sheppard and Mullens all day, before Sheppard again demonstrated her strength, dropping Mullens and crossing the line solo. Sheppard has now completed the Port to Port and Cape to Cape double in the same year- a first in the elite female category. When asked about whether she would return, Sheppard asked ‘How could I not defend the pink jersey?’.
‘This race has been so hard because Peta (Mullens) is so strong. I was trying to make an attack stick from the first day, so when I finally got a break yesterday I was almost in disbelief. Winning this amazing event, and just being a part of the atmosphere makes all the training worth it,’ said Sheppard.
In the mens masters, Jon Gregg sealed back to back wins in the overall. An unbelievable result considering the depth of talent at this year’s event. We’re eager to see if Gregg can back up his unbelievable consistency next year.
In the womens masters, Marie-Claude Baars also sealed the win. ‘I’ve loved the singletrack throughout the event. Stage three was simply amazing,’ said an elated Baars at the finish. Baars and Gregg’s domination of the masters’ categories has been fantastic to watch.
Scratching underneath the ‘race’ exterior however, it’s clear to see that the Cape to Cape is much, much more.
For many riders today, simply finishing this gruelling course was an amazing achievement.
Riders at the finish line were talking about just how well this event encapsulated not only the best mountain biking, but amazing scenery, wonderful venues like the Xanadu Winery and Colonial Brewery, and a unique atmosphere amongst the thirteen hundred plus competitors.
Entries for next year’s Cape to Cape, which features a layout change to focus more specifically on the exploding number of trail centres in the region open tonight. We’re already counting down the days, and you should be too!
1. Samara Sheppard – 02:21:13
2. Peta Mullens – 02:24:36
3. Briony Mattocks – 02:29:28
4. Jo Bennett- 02:33:07
5. Holly Harris – 02:33:25
1. Reece Tucknott – 02:15:23
2. Tasman Nankervis- 02:16:05
3. Brendan Johnston – 02:16:05
4. Kyle Ward – 02:16:22
5. Chris Hamilton – 02:16:34
1. Samara Sheppard – 08:38:22
2. Peta Mullens – 08:41:45
3. Briony Mattocks – 09:05:50
4. Jo Bennett – 09:14:00
5. Jessica Simpson – 09:21:11
1. Tasman Nankervis – 07:45:01
2. Brendan Johnston – 07:47:21
3. Chris Hamilton – 07:48:06
4. Kyle Ward – 07:48:33
5. Craig Cooke – 07:52:27
For a full list of categorised results, please click here!