Racing: Welby wows as SRAM Singletrack Mind Series heads towards a thrilling conclusion

Words by Chocolate Foot | Images by Chocolate Foot, Dave Bateman Photography

After the threat of bush fires necessitated the rescheduling of round 4 of the SRAM Singletrack Mind Series, a more favourable day dawned in the NSW Southern Highlands venue of Welby. With next to no rainfall in the previous month, the trails were set to be dry, dusty and loose in sections but with the hard work of the Southern Highlands Cycle Club the 10km circuit was superbly prepared to take on over 200 riders for the 7 hour duration of the race.

Alltrack Juniors rider Ben Metcalf, a portrait of focus and determination.

Alltrack Juniors rider Ben Metcalf, a portrait of focus and determination.

From the start the pace was being driven by the Onya Bike Hitters team from Canberra but in hot pursuit was solo rider Andrew Lloyd who, only 3 weekends before, placed 2nd overall in the 24 hour solo World Championships to multiple World champion Jason English. Lloyd’s rival in this series has been 2012 Singletrack Mind Series champion Ed McDonald who had a strong start to the Series but Lloyd’s form has come together at just the right time as his recent results would suggest. Lloyd put in a string of fast laps early in the race to distance McDonald, a gap he would not be able to close upon. Callum McNamara fought his way back from 8th place to secure the final spot on the podium.

He almost beat all of the teams too: Andrew Lloyd won the Solo Men category and came an impressive 2nd overall.

He almost beat all of the teams too: Andrew Lloyd won the Solo Men category and came an impressive 2nd overall.

The Masters Male solo category is always hotly contested but with the in-form Jason McAvoy unable to attend it would present opportunities for the rest of the contenders. Canberra’s Paul Brodie took the early lead but at the half way point, Series leader Garry James clawed back the margin and continued to add a 2 minute lead each lap taking a convincing win while a hectic racing schedule for Phil Welch meant that he arrived with sore legs and went home with extremely sore legs but he was happy to hold on for 3rd place.

The pairs categories diced and battled all day but saw some familiar names on the podium by day’s end. The Short Circuit Cancer Chix racked up their third win in a row in the Women’s category after edging out the team of Kelly Mapleston and Sophie Wood. The Masters Pairs is always an intriguing stoush, all three teams tied on laps but Jason and Paul Morgan crossed the line first followed by SXC racing only 3 minutes back. The teams of Roast Beef & Frogs Legs and Mr & Mrs Pollock continued their well-mannered duelling, Doug and Danielle Pollock getting the upper hand at Welby as the British/French combo suffered mechanical problems, also allowing Michael and Hanslip and Katherine Cox to slip into 2nd place.

Katherine Cox (pictured) and Michael Hanslip saw their consistency rewarded with 2nd place in mixed pairs.

Katherine Cox (pictured) and Michael Hanslip saw their consistency rewarded with 2nd place in mixed pairs.

The only team to beat Solo Men’s winner Andrew Lloyd to the overall event win was the Onya Bike Hitters combination of Aaron Bashford and Glenn Columbine. Bashford also claiming the fastest lap time of the race. With form like that it was really only a race for the lower steps of the podium and it was their mates in Onya Bike 2 in 2nd place.

Plenty of categories remain undecided which is sure to make the final round at Kinross State Forest near Orange an exciting and tactical race. Entries are now open for the Series finale and with the drawcard of the amazing singletrack of Kinross, it’s set to be a massive event.

For more Info and entry details go to: www.chocolatefoot.com.au

 

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