There can be only one word to describe Sunday’s SRAM Singletrack Mind Series event and that is “perfect!” Glorious spring weather greeted riders as they rolled to the start line for Round 3 of the 5 event series and with mild temperatures all day, a course that was in excellent condition and a large, high quality field entered, a day of tight and thrilling racing was assured.
Off the start, the first riders to hit the front were talented youngsters Harry Wiles (Stevens Bikes) and Jack Lavis (Target Trek Racing) and experienced road racer turned solo rider Cameron Peterson. Recording the fastest lap of the day, Lavis took the lead in the overall race and the Men’s Pairs category while Wiles gave his team a solid lead in the Male Threes.
The solo categories featured some new and some absent names. With the World 24 Hour solo championships coming up soon many were keen to give the legs a final hard hit-out while some, including Series leader Ed McDonald, decided they’d start their taper period and skip the round. This would present an opportunity for others including Andrew Lloyd who trails McDonald in the Series by just 25 points. Lloyd wouldn’t have an easy run to the 80 points on offer as wildcard entrant Cameron Peterson kept the pressure on in the early laps but Lloyd kept to his race plan never relinquishing his lead. The Female Solo category saw an equally entertaining battle between Lana Moy and current solo 24 hour National Champion Liz Smith. Moy taking the early lead but Smith’s experience showed through as she put down a set of very consistent lap times to pass Moy and establish a small but decisive lead. Smith taking her first win in the Series this year after a pair of 2nd placings.
The Masters solo categories are always highly competitive and round 3 was no different. Janet Martin got off to a great start in the Female Masters but Series leader Wendy Stevenson showed her depth of experience to slowly but surely reel her in and take the win. The Male Masters would be an epic battle with 5 riders in contention almost to the end. After up and down results this Series, Jason McAvoy has found his legs at just the right time and by race end built up a 10 minute lead to the chasing pack of Mike Israel, Phil Welch and David Langley. The minor steps of the podium would be decided with only 1km to go when Israel reeled in a tiring Welch just prior to the final section of singletrack. The margin after 7 hours and 18 minutes of racing was just 13 seconds! The top four place getters hugged and congratulated each other on a great battle, a display of exemplary sportsmanship. The mighty Solo Clydesdales competition was also a gripping battle, early favourite David Smith was forced to withdraw with a mechanical problem leaving Cory Dimmer and Graeme Scott to battle it out. Dimmer the victor with a significant margin on laps and Clydesdale ‘burliness’!
The large team categories were well subscribed for this round, SXC Racing taking the Masters Threes, Target Trek’s team featuring Australian Champion Holly Harris comfortably won the Mixed Threes, the Female Threes saw Dirty TORQ walk the walk and talk the TORQ, and Stevens Bikes led from the gun to win the Male Threes. There was a good roll-up of junior riders at this round with many competing in the Open categories, however the Junior race category saw a dominant display from Target Trek over local teams Newy Coghead Dirtbags and 2Tyred. While only two teams competed in the Fab Fours, 2nd placed Velo Vita/TMO Sports kept chasing all day but didn’t manage to pip 2Up Racing, the margin just two and a half minutes at race end.
It was tight and competitive racing as always in the Pairs categories. A dodgy kebab was blamed for one of the leading Masters Pairs teams being unable to field a team, so the race would be team Ren & Stimpy’s to lose. They didn’t disappoint, leading from the gun with Gladjanus Racing in pursuit but the margin was a comfortable 15 minutes by the end. The Short Circuit Chix took a second win in a row on the Female Pairs while the Male Pairs saw an unexpected victory for Velosophy Racing who had intended to race in the threes until one of their team couldn’t attend on the day. It worked out pretty well for them, keeping the fast duo of Jet Cycles at bay by 6 minutes. The Mixed Pairs featured the top three teams all on 11 laps and only 3 and a half minutes separating 1st and 2nd. While they’re leading the Series it would be the first win for the consistent due of Martine Robin and Gary Harwood over Danielle and Doug Pollock.
Full results can be found at www.chocolatefoot.com.au/singletrack-mind-series.
Competitors raved about the excellent quality of the course which has been created and maintained by the Hunter MTB Association, volunteers who have put in hundreds of hours to craft a true singletrack nirvana.
The 4th round of the SRAM Singletrack Mind Series moves to the beautiful Southern Highlands on 20 October, the Welby track near Mittagong has seen significant improvements by the local cycling club, making for great riding and racing all within a few kilometres of a major regional centre.
For more info and entry details see: www.chocolatefoot.com.au