Adelaide’s Fox Creek trails were home to the 2017 Gravity Enduro National Championships over the weekend. Hosted by the Inside Line Downhill Club, racers were faced with the most technical and challenging stages this renowned trail network could offer. After eight stages of racing over two days, Troy Brosnan (SA) and Rowena Fry (TAS) won the 2017 elite men and women’s championship titles.
Brosnan, who was four seconds behind Connor Fearon (SA) heading into the final day, was able to pull back the time to take top step by three seconds ahead of fellow South Australian Fearon and last year’s champion Chris Panozzo (VIC).
“It’s kind of interesting to actually be an enduro national champion; I’m not even the downhill national champion,” the Adelaide resident remarked. “After yesterday I knew I had to make that time up and really gave it all on that first stage and surprised a little bit it worked out.”
For Fry, the 30-second gap she held to the 2016 champion Phillipa Rostan (SA) was enough to take out her first national enduro title with Shelly Flood (SA) in third.
The Tasmanian two-time cross-country Australian champion proved she was an even match for the local downhillers on their home track and added another title to her already impressive resume.
“I was always a little bit worried cause I didn’t actually feel that great on the bike today but knew I had a bit of time up my sleeve and could be a bit more conservative and stay upright,” Fry said.
There was more local joy with junior men up-and-comer Sam Walsh claiming the green and gold jersey making it a perfect season after winning the national series.
Sam’s time of 17:58:24 would have placed him 5th in elite men.
More than 200 riders were part of the weekend hosted by Inside Line Downhill MTB Club which used 22km of Fox Creek’s best trails.
Find the full results here.
Panozzo made it back to back titles in the elite men ahead of Ben Cory and Jordan Prochyra, while Rostan claimed her first ever Australian enduro title in the elite women leaving Shelly Flood and Emily Parkes to fill the minor placings.
Despite Saturday’s compulsory practice being dry, Sunday was the total opposite, with the venue receiving around 46mm of rain forcing race organisers to cut some of the stages.
With sections of stage 3 unrideable, the race director started riders at the half-way mark before by passing stage 4 all together and finishing on stage 5.
“I’m glad that cut that top bit out on stage 3 as that clay can just turn icy like and you’ll slide all the way down,” Rostan said.
“I rode really well on the first two stages despite the conditions and I knew Em Parkes was really fit, so I just had to pedal as hard as I could on the first stage.”
The South Australian local was consistent across the four stages, with an overall time of 17min 51:23secs, 17 seconds in front of the reining title holder in Parkes.
It capped off a remarkable 2016 enduro season for Rostan, having taken out the national series with three wins and now the Australian title.
In the elite men, Panozzo, the current national champion, admitted it would be a tough ask to hold on to his title in the bleak and slippery conditions.
“It was hard to know how hard to push, you know if you’d done enough and what conditions would be like so an interesting day for sure.”
“Everyone probably had a stack at some point in the day given conditions, it was a nervous wait.”
Panozzo held off the challenge of this season’s national series winner in Ben Cory, to finish with an overall time of 13min 37:24secs, while Troy Brosnan, who was riding for fun, finished fifth in his first time back on the bike in three weeks after the completion of the UCI MTB Downhill world championships.
Panozzo thinks there are good signs ahead for the 2017 and 2018 national championships also to be held at Eagle MTB Park.
“I think Adelaide has got a huge amount of great trails and hopefully this is a learning and year and can only get better.”