Stage One A Blast At The Ingkerreke Commercial MTB Enduro

Words by Rapid Ascent @ Stephen Billington | Images by Expose This

Defending Champion Andy Blair, and six-time National Champion Rowena Fry blast around the 42km Stage 1 of the Ingkerreke Commercial MTB Enduro to take convincing wins in Alice Springs today, 13 May 2013.

Stage 1 winner Andy Blair.

The course was described by Rapid Ascent’s race director John Jacoby as ‘rude, rocky and rough’; and with the wet conditions a far cry from the hot red dust competitors were expecting, it was nothing to stop the 200 riders ready and raring for Stage 1.

The 42km course began from the Chifley Alice Springs Resort under neutral support through town, before popping out on to the western side for the beginning of the single track MTB madness.

It was stage winner Rowena Fry’s first time to Alice Springs, and despite the weather, she had a blast, finishing in 1:39.42 just four seconds ahead of Jenny Fay; with Jenni King taking third place in 1:45.19.

“Being from Tassie, the rain suits me just fine. What an awesome little stage!” Fry said.

“It was a bit of a frantic start with lots of mud and puddles; then Jenny Fay came across to me and we rode together the whole race having a blast! There’s just so much fantastic single track; and short climbs which suits us both.

“There was nothing splitting Jenny and I, but when we came into the velodrome, I was just ahead and felt a little ‘Fabian Cancellara inspiration’ and managed to pinch the win,” continued Fry.

Third placed Jenni King was all praise for Fry, and was happy with her Stage today.

“Fry is always tenacious and loves the single track. I think I rode as well as I can, but I always struggle a bit on the flat open windy bits. But the single track parts I really enjoyed, particularly the rocky parts. All up I’m very happy.” King said.

In the men’s seeded field, it was Andy Blair setting the pace early on taking out the King of the Mountain at Railway Cutting Hill which was the first steep climb of the course.

Blair appeared to have one of the cleanest bikes at the finish line, claiming to have stayed on the front so he didn’t get too much spray as riders roared down the slick and super- fast decent on the other side of Railway Cutting Hill.

Blair edged out rivals Shaun Lewis who took second place, and Ben Mather in third, with a winning time of 1:27.25.

“The wet weather was new to me today as every other year it’s been sunny.” Blair said.

“The course was quite grippy because the sand’s a bit harder in the wet, so it was really fun and you got really fast. There was heaps of single track, it was just awesome,” added Blair.

Returning to some much loved mountain biking, Wade Wallace (cyclingtips.com.au) took on Alice Springs for the first time… in his new category as a ‘veteran’ after celebrating his 40th birthday yesterday.

Wallace took out the veteran male category for Stage 1 in a steaming time of 1:36.37. Knowing his background on the road bike, it’s fair to say Wallace will be one to watch going into tonight’s Stage 2 ANZAC Hill Climb.

“I sussed everyone out in the beginning during the neutral start to work out where I’d fit in. I ended up following one of the Specialized riders and he pushed into the single track.” Wallace said.

“It was perfect conditions, nice and tacky; but with some sharp rocks hitting my pedals, I know now to be more careful for the rest of the week,” laughs Wallace.

STAGE 2, the ANZAC Hill Climb begins at 4:30pm local time (Alice Springs). Results will be posted online and via Rapid Ascent’s Twitter and Facebook accounts this evening.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 14th May, sees riders take on Stage 3, a 49km course starting out on 4WD tracks before becoming an almost continual trail of single track through some of the region’s best trails. The stage begins at Telegraph Station at 9am, before finishing up at Lasseters Hotel Casino from 11am.

STAGE ONE MEN
1. Andrew (Andy) Blair 1:27.25
2. Shaun Lewis 1:28.46
3. Ben Mather 1:28.49

STAGE ONE WOMEN
1. Rowena Fry 1:39.42
2. Jenny Fay 1:39.46
3. Jenni King 1:45.19

OVERALL STANDINGS MEN
1. Andrew (Andy) Blair 1:27.25
2. Shaun Lewis 1:28.46
3. Ben Mather 1:28.49

OVERALL STANDINGS WOMEN
1. Rowena Fry 1:39.42
2. Jenny Fay 1:39.46
3. Jenni King 1:45.19

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