Words by Flow | Images by Flow

The Margaret River Special Stage is always a hit with all the riders, perhaps it’s the sweet singletrack, or the finish at Colonial Brewery?

If you closed your eyes in today’s pristine Margaret River singletrack you could’ve mistook the deafening buzz of freehubs for  swarms of bees. The reality of perfect singletrack is far more appealing though, so we’ll steer away from bizarre ponderings.

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The start of a really great day of riding, and the grape vines were lapping up the sunshine as much as the riders.

Stage three of Cape to Cape 2016 began with a neutralised mass rollout from Xanadu Winery. The sight of over thirteen hundred riders snaking their way through Xanadu’s vineyard-lined driveway was truly spectacular.

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The absolute definition of a ‘blue bird day’, there was not a single cloud in the sky, which sure had a positive impact on the vibe at the start. Tired bodies but happy nonetheless.

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The classic rollout, from Xanadu winery the monstrous field snakes through the vineyards and out towards the Margaret River township.

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There’s always one, but perhaps not to this level… The big personality and wingspan of Paul Van Der Ploeg can’t keep his frothing levels down.

From the winery, the riders cruised through the main street of Margaret River. The excitement this event generates not just for mountain bikers, but all of the local residents was evident by the huge crowds lining the main street.

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With the main street in town closed off for the neutral roll-through, the town were treated to a real show. 1300 riders flooded the street like a dam wall bursting, letting a sea of colour and waving riders flow through the crowds.

After the spectacular rollout, the excitement was maintained by an all-out sprint at the front of the field into the first section of trail. Paul ‘Plowking’ van der Ploeg could be seen powering up the road, but it was last year’s winner Kyle Ward who timed the holeshot, leading into the first section of trail.

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Guns and tongues out for Andrew Liddawi, he loves day three too!

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And they just kept on coming! How many riders!??

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And as soon as they reached the arch, it was ON! With Reece Tucknott chomping at the bit to get into the singletrack.

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No doubt about it, this place is so damn nice to visit. We’re huge fans of the amazing variety of great things to do here, it’s tops.

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The pine forests that surround the town are in operation but there seems to be a great relationship between the recreational users of the forest and the owners of the trees, hence the bliss-full singletrack. The history of timber production continues to this day with the logging industry in the Margaret River pines.

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Odams and PVDP flashing through the woods.

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Yeeeehaaaa! This is the ultimate, flowing berms, pumping and floating through the pine forest. Perfection at its most perfect.

Today’s stage twisted and turned through the Margaret River Pines singletrack, which had riders pumping and weaving through uncountable berms and rollers amongst towering pines.

In the elite male field, it was another story of Torq versus Trek with Kyle Ward fending for himself.

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WA’s fastest XC kid, Nav Coole is holding his own amongst the big guns this week.

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Sadly the Specialized trio of Cam Ivory, Jenny and Andy Blair fell sick through the night, a tough pill to swallow for the race leader, Cam Ivory that was looking and feeling damn good!

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Odams closing in on his goal of a top ten finish in WA.

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Brendan Johnston and his quiet and smooth style through the singletrack on the way to a stage win, well done buddy!

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Powering through the native forests.

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With a wet winter behind us, the forest was a wash of colour with native flowers and bright greenery. We’ve never seen it looking this good!

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Hitting mach 10 on one of the many fast singletrack straights, the traction and rolling speed has contributed to super fast racing times overall.

The lead group of Chris Hamilton, Tasman Nankervis, Brendan Johnston, Michael Potter and Kyle Ward retained a healthy advantage over the field for the entire race. Coming up the day’s final climb, a brutally steep fireroad, their pace was unsurpassed.

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Welcome to WA, now hold on! It’s pea gravel time, this stuff will scare the living daylights out of any east-coaster. Don’t turn too hard, brake too much or do anything sudden with these little marbles under your tyres, it won’t be pretty!

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Ethan spraying our camera equipment with pea gravel, you owe us a beer mate…

Brendan Johnston took the stage win, but the story of the day was race leader Cam Ivory, who had lost over five minutes only halfway through the stage. Unfortunately, the entire Specialized team of Ivory, Andy Blair and Jenny Blair fell victim to a stomach bug, hence Ivory’s battle to even make it to the start line today. Andy didn’t make the start, Jenny pushed hard but when she caught up to a suffering Cam Ivory on course their support team pulled them straight off the course and into the car. We hope they recover soon and can still enjoy their time all the way over from the east coast.

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Pretty lushness, we hope it didn’t go entirely unnoticed by the riders, the trails today are particularly scenic.

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Tricky rock section to catch you off guard, don’t snooze or you’ll lose.

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Sam Hill breezes on by with hardly a noise or any visible effort in the technical rocky section.

Tasman Nankervis and Chris Hamilton rounded out the elite male podium, with Nankervis taking the leader’s jersey from Ivory, a great achievement from the talented young rider.

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All smiles for famous guy!

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Tree hugging hippies everywhere around these parts.

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Ka-splat.

“I really enjoyed today’s stage, it’s been a while since I’ve ridden anything that well-groomed,” said Giant’s Jonny Odams at the finish line. Judging by the hundreds of riders splayed out across the Colonial Brewery lawn recounting stories and sharing a beer, it was a sentiment shared by all.

The first attempts at profiting from Jarrah timber was when a party of convicts cuts the first jarrah timber for export from Augusta. The work took so long due to difficulties with the tough jarrah that no profit is made and the convict party was recalled.

The first attempts at profiting from Jarrah timber was when a party of convicts cuts the first jarrah timber for export from Augusta. The work took so long due to difficulties with the tough jarrah that no profit is made and the convict party was recalled.

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Awwwww, nice.

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From 1900-14 about 17 million railway sleepers were cut from Augusta-Margaret River forests.

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A bridge crossing on the old railroads makes for a nice walk, ride or kiss.

The advantages of Jarrah was first noted in 1832 when the severely damaged hull of HMS Success was repaired using jarrah and successfully sailed back to England.

The advantages of Jarrah was first noted in 1832 when the severely damaged hull of HMS Success was repaired using jarrah and successfully sailed back to England.

In the elite women’s race, it was also an exciting stage that saw the leader’s jersey change hands. Peta Mullens and Samara Sheppard traded blows for most of the stage once again, before Sheppard broke away with ten kilometres to go and held the lead to the finish. With a slim margin between the two, tomorrow’s racing will be very exciting. A strong ride from Briony Mattocks saw her take third place.

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Ewwwwww guys! All the way from Alaska, this pair stuck together and made the most of it today.

The timber industry supported infrastructure and commercial growth in the region such as number of mills (Kudardup, Karridale, Boranup and Jarrahdene) and two long jetties (Flinders Bay and Hamelin Bay).

The timber industry supported infrastructure and commercial growth in the region such as number of mills (Kudardup, Karridale, Boranup and Jarrahdene) and two long jetties (Flinders Bay and Hamelin Bay).

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Samara Sheppard kept close to Peta Mullens but made a decisive attack and came over the last climb ahead taking the stage and earning valuable seconds.

10 Mile Brook Dam was created in the mid-1990s to create a new supply of water for the quickly growing Margaret River and other townships.

10 Mile Brook Dam was created in the mid-1990s to create a new supply of water for the quickly growing Margaret River and other townships.

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Yeoooooo, finished!

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Jess Simpson and some tasty fuel.

The question we’re left asking about the masters’ categories, for both the men and women is whether anyone can threaten Jon Gregg and Marie Claude-Baars, who have demonstrated consistency and strength all week.

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One for me, one for you, the frothies were flying out the doors of the Colonial Brewery.

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We reckon this guy saw his beer waiting for him from 100 yards, well earned mate!

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The vibe-omiter was running high at the brewery, a seriously nice afternoon to relax, re-fuel and reminisce on the great ride achieved.

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SO MUCH GOOD FOOD!

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A mountain bike race or a food and beer festival, we’re confused…

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Time for another.

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Fresh buns for sore buns.

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Down from Perth, and her first time mountain biking this was the favourite day so far. Congratulations!

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The race finished at a brewery, did we mention that already?

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Is this a violation of some sort of dress code?

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On tap inside, or tinnies in the sun.

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Legend!

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Pushing out the knots that only 3006987 sweet corners can inflict on the body.

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Tasman in yellow, the young shredder admires his new jersey.

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Samara takes the lead in what has been a great race thus far, It’s coming down to the wire tomorrow!

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It’s a rotating podium this year, with lead changes and upsets galore. Tomorrow will be tight!

Tomorrow is the final stage of this year’s Cape to Cape. The riders will travel 64 kilometres from Colonial Brewery to the Dunsborough Country Club. The race will take in two singletrack hubs in the ‘Middle Earth’ trails and also the flowing trails at Meelup.

Riders have loved the variety of trails on offer at the event, and tomorrow is no exception. Be sure to tune in to see all the action from the trails, as well as how the racing ends up!


TODAY’S RESULTS

FEMALE OPEN

1 Samara Sheppard 02:11:38

2 Peta Mullens 02:12:16

3 Briony Mattocks 02:16:40

4 Jo Bennett 02:20:17

5 Jessica Simpson 02:23:11

 

MALE OPEN

1 Brendan Johnson 01:56:47

2 Tasman Nankervis 01:56:48

3 Chris Hamilton 01:56:53

4 Kyle Ward 01:57:09

5 Michael Potter 01:57:10

 

For a full list of results, click here!