The weather gods brought the noise to Thredbo for the final round of the NSW Red Ass DH series. Forecasts of mixed weather and un-melted snow scattered over the hill provided a forewarning to competitors, but a field 200+ strong came from around the state to compete on a freshly refurbished Thredbo course.
Saturday practice began at a (not so) tropical 12 degrees, with the course deteriorating rapidly throughout the day. The course incorporated plenty of new features along with revamped older sections and a certain new double had a few riders coming unstuck.
As seems to be the trend at Thredbo, the atmosphere throughout the pits was relaxed and light hearted with plenty of friends old and new catching up and discussing the riding to be had.
‘The most technical part would have to be down through Bunny Walk. The track’s pretty standard the whole way down, it’s just the length that gets you in the end,’ expressed Graeme Mudd.
Sunday brought inconclusive weather forecasts and a game of luck and strategy to the field with competitors varying their bike setups to prepare for potential havoc. High winds added a new dimension of difficulty, and track conditions continued to deteriorate.
Come race time things had gotten worse and the cold weather set in. Luke Newcombe from Lithgow got things rolling in elite with a cracker at 6:17:15, before Ryan Hunt took the hot seat with 6:16:60 just before the heavens opened. The snow and sleat already fallen from categories past provided some interesting racing for the top 10 seeded riders.
Mark Conliffe from Sydney took 35 seconds of his qualifying time posting a 6:03 and had the crowd going insane! Reagan Arthur started a trend by cracking the 6:00 barrier and times began to tumble. Boyer 5:55, Ellison 5:53, Vejvoda 5:52, Eaton 5:50. Next up was Bredbo local and fastest qualifier, Thomas Crimmins with a 5:49:85. Series leader Greame Mudd posted a 5:47 and Jack Moir managed a 5:46 on a worsening track.
With the greasy trail and poor visibility not hindering the times it was all coming down to the final rider, Canberra local Ben Cory. All eyes were watching when an explosion of white and blue came from the final forest section with Cory heralded for a potential win. With ease he slipped in a half pedal to cross the line freezing the clock at 5:44:41 securing the win and the adulation of the crowd.
‘It was a great weekend here at Thredbo and the crew have done a great job,’ Ben said after his race.
‘They have been building some new jumps and features.
‘It wasn’t too bad you know (the course). There was a light dusting of snow as we were going up, that all melted so all the dirt turns had heaps of traction. Some of the rocks and roots were a little greasy but that just made it more fun, more of a challenge.’
Other category winners were:
Elite Women: Tegan Molloy 6:45.7
U/19’s: Andrew Crimmins 5:57.39
U/17’s: Connor Mackne 6:07.30
U/15’s: Logan Quinn 6:40.77
Masters Male: Stephen Andreasen 6:35.18
Super Masters: Michael Green 7:03.73
Series winners were:
Elite Men: Graeme Mudd
Elite Women: Sarah Booth
U/19 Male: Thomas Crimmins
U/17: David Maggs
U/19 Female: Kellie Weinert
U/15: Aidan Wynn
Vet Men’s: Rick Kehoe
Masters Men: Stephen Andreasen
Masters Women’s: Colleen Boyes
Super Masters: Michael Green
Expert: Zac Green
Sport: Alastair Patterson.
For full results and more photos got to http://www.rockytrailentertainment.com.au