26 Apr 2013

Jason English (Merida OnTheGo) and Jenni King (Target Trek) have won the 2013 Subaru Australian Cross Country Marathon Champions in Atherton, QLD.

English took out the gruelling 103 kilometre race in a time of five hours, 18 minutes – just over two minutes ahead of 2012 defending champion Andy Blair (Swell-Specialized).

Peter Hatton (Giant Racing) rounded out the podium, crossing the line in five hours, 33 minutes.

A five-time solo 24 hour mountain bike world champion, English had the endurance to come from behind to clinch the win.

English with his trademark victory wheelie. We’ve seen it many, many times! With such a tough, drawn-out race, the conditions suited English’s diesel engine.

“Because this race went out to 5 hours it worked in my favour,” English commented.

English moved from fifth place to second after two laps of the challenging tropical terrain before taking the lead with just 13 kilometres left to race.

“I knew if Andy didn’t slow down he would keep the gap.” English said of his second lap feats. “I had to rely on the challenge of the tough climbs to work their magic in my favour.”

The green and gold jersey adds to English’s solo 24 Hour Australian title won over the Easter long weekend in Canberra.

“Two national titles in 3 weeks, I feel a bit greedy but I’m stoked,” English remarked.

Blairy set the pace for 90km before English bridged the gap and rode away. Nonethless, Andy declared himself happy with the result.

After leading for the majority of the race, second placed Blair said he gave it everything.

“I wanted to ride my own race – if anyone got across to me I wanted to make them work for it,” Blair said.

“When Jason reached me I couldn’t hold his pace and he got away from me. I’m really happy with my race today though.”

In the women’s race, it was Victoria’s Jenni King who prevailed to claim the national title ahead of Therese Rhodes (Liv/Giant) and Sarah Riley (Liv/Giant).

King completed the 103 kilometre course in a time of six hours, 45 minutes – 15 minutes ahead of Rhodes and a further 23 minutes to Riley.

Jenni King is one of Australia’s most experienced and successful XC racers and it was her day in Atherton.

“I was just happy to finish, I had heard how tough the course was,” King gasped.

“I wasn’t even thinking about the result, but it’s a bonus to take the national title,” the 2012 Olympic Cross Country National Champion said.

2012 defending champion Peta Mullens (Target-Trek) was forced to withdraw midway through the race, leaving the door open for teammate King to claim the Australian jersey.

Irish national Jenny Fay (Swell-Specialised) was the first across the line but unable to claim the Australian National title.

“I rode away into the lead early in the second lap,” Fay described. “From there I raced conservatively but still working on the climbs which are my strength – the course suited me down to the ground, in fact if I could dream of a course this is it.”

Fay was disappointed her nationality prevented her from claiming the Australian title.

“It’s a bittersweet day given I still have Irish nationality so I can only claim the race win. I’m looking forward to racing the Irish national marathon champs in September,” Fay explained.