Cameron Ivory (NSW) and Peta Mullens (VIC) have secured the gold at Round 3 of the Subaru National Mountain Bike Series in Pemberton, Western Australia, presented by Mountain Bike Australia.
Sunday’s race was the second leg of a double-header in the idyllic location in the South Western corner of Australia, with riders having to contend with tired legs and a brand new challenging course.In the Elite Men’s category, Ivory and Brendan Johnston (ACT) had an entertaining battle, with Johnston holding a small lead for the majority of the race.
The riders came together on the final lap, with Ivory making the definitive move as they crossed the finish line for the second-last time. “That was so hard trying to chase down Trekky [Johnston],” said Ivory. “I kept getting him, then losing him, coming back, and with a few laps to go I just left it all out there. Luckily I caught him at the start of the last lap and just went for home from there.”
The 2013/14 National Series Champion is happy to return to the top step of the podium, and is looking forward to the challenge of keeping the position. “I had my European season last year and learned a lot so I’m trying to put it to use this year,” he explained. “Hopefully when Dan McConnell comes back I can see how I compare to him.”
In second place was Johnston, who set the initial pace for the race and held on to the lead until the very final lap. “I had pretty good legs so I wanted to make it as hard as I could,” said Johnston. “I thought I could hold Cam [Ivory] off but he never really got out of sight and with one lap to go he showed why he’s the rider he is. “I’m happy with a second place, for me today it wasn’t so much about the position but having a solid race, the course is a credit to the course designers and event hosts, it made for good racing both days.”
Third place went to 2013 Cross Country Eliminator World Champion Paul van der Ploeg (ACT) who pushed hard on the final laps to move through the field.
For the second day in a row, Liam Jeffries (VIC) took out the U19 Men’s title and now wears the Subaru Series Leader’s jersey.
Second place went to Luke Brame (NSW), with Bryan Dunkin (NSW) finishing third.
In an exciting Elite Women’s race, Peta Mullens (VIC) took the win and in the process claimed a rare victory in front of 2014 Commonwealth Games Bronze medallist Bec Henderson (ACT). In early running, both riders went hard to have a 36 second gap on the field after only the first lap. The two women would stay together until the end of lap three, when Mullens crossed the finish line 4 seconds in front of Henderson. “I was feeling pretty sick out there,” explained Henderson. “I was giving it everything on the first few laps but Peta marked me and she could tell I wasn’t on it. She probably didn’t even know that I was trying to attack, but I was and she rode amazingly.” On lap four, Mullens made the race her own, creating an unassailable lead of over two minutes, which she extended to almost five minutes on the way to the win.
“I think yesterday I left it all out there and today I wanted to do the same and I think I can be content with that,” said Mullens. “On the third lap she [Henderson] gave it a bit of stick and then didn’t really get the gap she wanted and started to suffer a bit. I thought that on the fourth lap it was my time to go when she was probably at her weakest and feeling yesterday’s race in her legs.”
Second place went to an ecstatic Jodie Willett (QLD) who again rode through the field to a result that surprised even herself. “Obviously Bec wasn’t having a good day and she really showed her class yesterday so don’t believe she’s down at my level,” said Willett. “Jenni and I had a great battle again and she kept me honest. We were both cramping for the last half of the race, which made it tough but I am stoked with second place.”
Jenni King (VIC) rode strongly to round out the top three.
The Under 19 Women were again in action today mixing it with the Elites, with West Australian local Sarah Tucknott (WA) taking both wins for the weekend and Megan Williams (QLD) scoring her second silver medal.
A special mention goes to Under 15 rider Zoe Cuthbert (ACT) who again won her category, remarkably finishing as the seventh rider on course at the time, with only Elite riders ahead.
The Subaru National Series continues in two weeks from 6 – 8 February with Cross Country Round 4 and Short Course Cross Country Round 2 in Stromlo, ACT and Downhill Round 2 in Thredbo, NSW.
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