The Final Fling: Entries Open

Wild Horizons and Save the Children Australia are very excited to announce that The Highland Fling, one of Australia’s largest, longest established and most iconic mountain biking events, will be going ahead for its 13th edition on 12 November 2017. It is planned that this will be, after all those years, The Final Fling.

Wingello State Forest features incredible, flowing single track

The Final Fling will also be a major fundraiser for Save the Children Australia, raising funds to support the superb work they do for children and families in 24 countries around the world. In announcing the partnership, Paul Ronalds, CEO of Save the Children Australia, had this to say: ‘Save the Children Australia is very excited to be the charity partner of The Highland Fling mountain bike marathon. The funds we receive from the event will support our work in Australia and overseas, giving children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm.

We’re delighted to continue our extremely close relationship with Huw Kingston, founder of Wild Horizons – the organisation behind The Highland Fling. Huw is an Ambassador for Save the Children Australia and our largest ever individual fundraiser, so we are very pleased that he has seen fit to add another layer to this relationship.’

For many, the Fling isn’t the most serious ‘race’

Speaking on behalf of Wild Horizons, Huw Kingston was very happy about the decision: For over a dozen years The Highland Fling has brought together an incredible community of riders, supporters, sponsors, local community groups and local businesses to celebrate a festival weekend of all things MTB. It has put millions of dollars into the regional economy and offered a fundraising platform for numerous Southern Highlands community groups, the community in which we live. A number of factors saw us consider cancelling the 2017 event. We’d lost a couple of key sponsors for 2017 and had also had enough of the seemingly endless inefficiencies of our local Council. However part also related to my own personal priorities changing; a desire to spend even more of my energy engaging with the pressing issues of plastic pollution, children suffering disadvantage, and of course my own outdoor adventures and journeys.

However, when we announced the event might not happen in 2017, the groundswell of support was huge. In a bit of a light bulb moment, the solution appeared. Why not use the event as a fundraiser for Save the Children, an organisation I already have a very close relationship with? That, in conjunction with our incredible organising team, the support of the mountain biking community and the local Southern Highlands community surely meant we should do at least one Final Fling. A very worthwhile Fling!’

The Highland Fling attracts Australia’s best MTB marathon racers; Peta Mullens has claimed a handful of wins.

Hopefully the event will go out with a bit of a bang and raise a substantial amount for Save the Children Australia. In addition to the proceeds of the event going to the charity, there will also be plenty of opportunities for personal fundraising.

However amongst this good news is some sad news. In 2015 the Fling weekend grew to include the Bundy Run, a trail running event showcasing the delights of Morton National Park on the edge of Bundanoon. This young event attracted a new outdoor audience and saw a solid increase in numbers year-on-year. However the loss of that event’s headline sponsor last year due to their moving out of the running market (and our inability to attract a replacement) has meant that the financials do not stack up from a fundraising perspective. It is with a very heavy heart that we announce that the Bundy Run will not take place in 2017. We would like to thank all those runners who have supported that event in the past two years.

Wild Horizons would like to say a big thanks to everyone and in particular, our sponsors for bearing with us whilst decisions were made.

We look forward to seeing you at the Final Fling!

Entries for the 2017 Highland Fling are now open here.

For further information on the work of Save the Children Australia visit www.savethechildren.org.au

6-year-old Phuong Sophon in his 2nd grade lesson on writing and word recognition. Save the Children work with the Provincial Education Office in strengthening access to schools and improving the quality of education by giving technical support, capacity building as well as providing materials and furniture to target schools.

Racing: Bundanoon’s Highland Fling, a Weekend of Racing in the Southern Highlands

The Highland Fling kicked off on Saturday afternoon with the Bundanoon Dash, a fast and furious short course around town that sees riders, including mountain biking’s elite, line up to test their legs against each other before the main racing on Sunday. Cameron Ivory backed up again to take the win in 11:22 for the men, and Peta Mullens in 11:49 for the women.

The day wasn’t all about serious racing. The Kid’s Skills Clinic saw our next gen riders picking up some new moves on the bike, spectators were entertained by The String Family and our roving magician, and those who didn’t want to risk their taper took part in the Rolloff World Championships to see who could roll the downhill distance fastest or checked out the latest bling at our Sponsor expo.

Riders were welcomed to the start line on Sunday morning by the traditional dawn Bagpipe wake-up call.

The 100Mile and Full Fling (non-elite) riders set off at 7:20am, followed by the hotly contested Full Fling Elite race. This year saw a very strong line-up including both 2015 winners Andy Blair and Lucy Bechtel. They were joined by contenders Brendan Johnston, Cameron Ivory, Shaun Lewis, Tristan Ward and Michael Potter in the men’s race; and Peta Mullens, Briony Mattocks, Eliza Kwan and Imogen Smith in the women’s race.

In the men’s racing it was Brendon Johnston of Trek Racing Australia who took line honours in 4:21:57, also making him the first rider to win three Highland Fling mountain bike marathons.grp_whhf16-0570

“I really had no idea how far in front I was. I left Wingello and tried not to look back. Cam with with me, but I had my plan to make a move on The Kick and despatch him. From there I was by myself. It was as tough a course as ever, but I’ve done the work through the year and am proud to take the win against such tough competition.” 

In the women’s race, Peta Mullens was the first to cross the line in a time of 5:08:12, also giving her a third Highland Fling win.grp_whhf16-0405 grp_whhf16-0619

“It was hard out there. Like a five hour time trial! At first Briony, Lucy and I were together and that was the plan, to ride together, but our strengths and weaknesses were just too different. I made a break on a rocky descent and from there hit out on my own. Once I hit that last bit of single track, if there are no other girls with me, I know I should be home. The tailwind on the way home was a nice touch, thanks!” 

In the 100Mile, Ed McDonald was once again the strongest rider, taking the win in 7:51:01. In the women’s race, Charlie McCabe took first in 10:33:07.

The 2016 Highland Fling once again featured the Half Fling and Some Fling events, which also saw some fierce racing and a sneak peek at some of the upcoming mountain biking talent.grp_whhf16-0631


KEY RACE RESULTS IN THE 2016 HIGHLAND FLING:

 

Some Fling Men

Ian Watts (1:13:13)

Dylan George (1:14:58)

Zac George (1:17:36)

 

Some Fling Women

Verity Evans (1:25:07)

Maizy Evans (1:29:34)

Renee Skelly (1:32:58)

 

Half Fling Men

Matthew Dinham (2:17:52)

Callum Carson (2:09:18)

Lewis Cressy (2:10:52)

 

Half Fling Women

Emma Viotto (2:38:43)

Charlotte Culver (2:43:56)

Laura Wilson (2:52:40)

 

Full Fling Men

Brendan Johnston (4:21:57)

Cameron Ivory (4:24:47)

Michael Potter (4:44:32)

 

Full Fling Women

Peta Mullens (5:08:12)

Briony Mattocks (5:21:21)

Lucy Bechtel (5:30:10)

 

100Mile Men

Ed McDonald (7:51:01)

Max Richardson (8:01:48)

Stephen Tomczyk (8:23:30)

100Mile Women

Charlie McCabe (10:33:07)

Courtney Shinn (10:45:43)

 

Full race and category results are available here.

 

Find out more about The Highland Fling at

http://www.wildhorizons.com.au/highland-fling

 


The Highland Fling is made possible with the support of the following event partners:

Major Sponsors:

  • Focus Bikes: Born from a passion for the sport.
  • Ground Effect: Gear for the cycling revolution
  • Shimano: World leading cycling components
  • World Expeditions: One of the world’s leading adventure travel companies
  • GU Energy: GU FOR IT with fast food for athletes
  • Maxxis: One of the world’s most trusted tire brands
  • 4 Pines Brewing Company: Because we really, really love beer.
  • A full list of Sponsors can be found here.

CamelBak Highland Fling: Johnston and Mullens Victorious

The CamelBak Highland Fling celebrated 10 years with an all-star elite line-up and its most challenging course to date.

After last years weather glitch, the Southern Highlands turned on its normal blue skies and sunshine for the tenth running of the CamelBak Highland fling mountain bike marathon; the race considered one of the most challenging on the calendar.

Following a Saturday of fun racing, including the Rollloff World Championships and the Ravensworth Bundanoon Dash, Sunday saw riders receive the Highland Fling bagpipers wake-up call – the sound of serious racing.

 

The first gun sounded at the early start time of 7:20am for 100Mile (165km) racers and Full Flingers (non-elite) who set off at pace for a long day in the saddle. The most hotly contested racing of the weekend was next off the line, with the Full Fling elite; an all-star line-up that included Andy Blair, Shaun Lewis, Dylan Cooper, Mark Tupalski, Cameron Ivory, Jason English and 2013 Fling winner Brendan Johnston in the men’s field, and Jenny Fay, Imogen Smith, Naomi Hansen, Rebecca Locke and 2013 Fling winner Peta Mullens, in the women’s race.

“I wanted to make it hard from the start,” agreed Tupalski. “I’m really happy with the result, it was a hard ride but the new track in the Wingello stage was great.

 

In similar fashion to the 2013 race, Mark Tupalski helped set a fast pace at the start, with only three other riders, Brendan Johnston, Andy Blair and Chris Hamilton able to go with him. The group stayed together for some time before both Blair and Hamilton were lost, and not able to bridge the gap. In the end it was Brendan Johnston from Canberra crossing the line to take back to back CamelBak Highland Fling wins, he was followed by Mark Tupalski in second and Andy Blair in third.

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‘Mark was strong and really drove it from the start.’ said Brendan. ‘We worked together pretty well and there was a group of us riding together. We managed to break away about half way through the Wingello stage and just kept the hammer down.”

“I wanted to make it hard from the start,” agreed Tupalski. “I’m really happy with the result, it was a hard ride but the new track in the Wingello stage was great.”

Andy Blair, who was racing his 10th Fling said “I had a good day, but Brendan and Mark were stronger. If I’d tried to stay with them, I would have blown.”

In the women’s race, whilst Peta Mullens took the win, she didn’t have it all her way from the start, with fierce competition from Jenny Fay, who withdrew from the race in the final 25km with mechanical issues.

In second place was Rebecca Locke, followed by Lucy Bechtel in third. “Jenny was so strong out there, but suffered a mechanical and withdrew,” said Peta. “I really suffered through the first section – on the hills – and that last technical section is always tough when you’re fatigued. It was definitely harder than last year and I’m really happy to take the win.”

Rebecca Locke said “I’ve done a few marathons, and I was told this was a tough course – wow, it was! I’ve been doing a lot of four hour races, and at 4 hours I really knew it.”

In the 100Mile it was a reversal of 2013 with Ed McDonald taking the win (and even popping a wheelie over the line) from Andrew Hall in second and Sam Moffitt in third. For the women, seasoned marathon racer Wendy Stevenson stepped up from the Full Fling to conquer the 100Mile.

Race Results in the 2013 CamelBak Highland Fling:

Half Fling Men

Brad Morton (2:22:22)

Jack Lavis (2:22:24)

Garry Millburn (2:22:26)

Half Fling Women

Michelle Ainsworth (2:41:39)

Rebecca Hoschke 2:51:05)

Full Fling Elite Men

Brendan Johnston (4:30:21)

Mark Tupalski (4:30:48)

Andy Blair (4:34:26)

Full Fling Elite Women

Peta Mullens (5:24:48)

Rebecca Locke (5:24:48)

Lucy Bechtel (5:49:08)

100Mile Men

Ed McDonald (7:43:51)

Andrew Hall (7:49:20)

Sam Moffitt (8:45:08)

100Mile Women

Wendy Stevenson (10:19:32)

 

Video: Seven and a half hours at the CamelBak Highland Fling

The 2013 CamelBak Highland Fling took place in conditions that would’ve made a Scotsman feel right at home. After eight gloriously sun-kissed Flings, this year’s edition took place under gloomy, drizzly skies.

While there were a few PA heckles served up to riders who pulled the pin (must be made of sugar) over 1700 pros and punters still fronted up to tackle the Half Fling (58km), Full Fling (116km) and the Hundred Mile Fling.

The racing was hard fought, as it always is for this prestigious marathon event, but we’ll admit to our own degree of softness; with the rain chucking down, the comfort of a warm van was too tempting for us and we pulled stumps before the Elite Women came across the line. Apologies to Peta Mullens, who rode by herself all day long to clinch the victory ahead of WA’s Jo Bennett.

Keeping toasty pre-race.
Keeping toasty pre-race.
Conditions were cold enough to turn your head and feet blue.
Conditions were cold enough to turn your head and feet blue.
Heavy hitters.
Heavy hitters; Dylan Cooper would pull the pin with cramps, while Blair and Johnson would grab second and first respectively.
Gary Millburn won the competitive Half Fling convincingly.
Gary Millburn won the competitive Half Fling convincingly.
Mark Tupalski was undisputedly the strongest rider on the day, but he worked too hard on his own and was caught with just a couple of kays to go.
Mark Tupalski was undisputedly the strongest rider on the day, but he worked too hard on his own and was caught with just a couple of kays to go.

 

Riders In The CamelBak Highland Fling Were Challenged, But Well Hydrated

For eight years the annual CamelBak Highland Fling mountain bike marathon has turned on blue skies, and sometimes-sweltering conditions for riders. But with the 2013 race being sponsored by the world’s leading hydration company, CamelBak, it was fitting that for the first time natural hydration was abundant.

Whilst the skies were damp, rider spirits were anything but, with an impressive line-up of riders bracing themselves against unseasonably cold and wet conditions to take part in this year’s race.

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Federal MP for Hume, Angus Taylor, himself taking part in event, officially kicked off the race with 100Milers and Full Flingers rolling out at 7:20am to the theme of The Flintstones – in keeping with the fun-side of serious racing and this year’s themed element of The Flingstones. The most hotly contested racing of the day was always going to be the Full Fling with a line-up of elites that included Australia’s best mountain bikers. Really, it was anyone’s race.

It was Mark Tupalski who set a blazing pace at the start, with only three other riders, Brendan Johnston, Andy Blair and Dylan Cooper able to go with him. The group worked together and changed it up a little throughout the race, losing Andy Blair at a train crossing but gaining Dan McConnell to help with the work.

It wasn’t long before Dan was no longer in the group, but Andy was back in the chase. Mark Tupalski picked up the pace once again and this time no one went with him. It was a bold move, but one that didn’t pay off in the end with the chase group working together to catch and pass him with only the last few kilometres to go.

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It ended up being just two riders that kept the pace hot and battled for the finish line. Brendan Johnston, who finished third in 2012, took the win with a time of 4:18:53. First to cross the line in the race however was Andy Blair, but after taking a 30 second time penalty for a rule transgression, finished in second. Cameron Ivory rounded out the podium in third.

‘Mark lit up the pace from the start and it was really hard to go with him, but I’m glad I did,’ said Brendan from Canberra. ‘It’s a long race though and the last 20km are brutal. I worked hard and managed to drop Cameron, but couldn’t shake Andy and that’s what the finish line showed. But it was in my favour, so I’m happy with that.’

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In the women’s elite race Peta Mullens, who finished second in 2012, took a convincing win with a time of 5:05:23 – almost twenty minutes ahead of Jo Bennett in second and Myra Moller in third.   Peta’s strong form showed with a finishing line comment about the race missing a climb she remembered from 2012.

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With the said climb confirmed as still in the race, she concluded ‘I must have been feeling OK then. I set a good tempo for most of the day, even though I was on my own a lot. It’s definitely a race that keeps giving though, in the most challenging of ways.’

In the long format 100Mile (or 165km to make it sound even longer) it came down to a sprint finish on the line. Andrew Hall took first place with a time of 6:59:15, with Ed McDonald, the 2012 winner, finishing a close second and UK rider Matt Page crossing in third.

Race Results in the 2013 CamelBak Highland Fling:

Half Fling
Men Gary Millburn (2:13:45) Brad Morton (2:17:26.2) Michael Potter (2:17:26.6)

Half Fling Women
Karen Evans (2:53:56) Kath Bicknell (2:54:55) Belinda Diprose (3:01:12)

Full Fling Elite Men
Brendan Johnston (4:18:53) Andy Blair (4:18:54)  Cameron Ivory (4:19:00)

Full Fling Elite
Women Peta Mullens (5:05:23) Jo Bennett (5:24:50) Myra Moller (5:38:15)

100Mile Men
Andrew Hall (6:59:15) Ed McDonald (7:00:49) Matt Page (7:19:13)

100Mile Women
Charlie McCabe (9:30:24)

For full race results, including category results, visit: http://www.wildhorizons.com.au/highland-fling

Racing: The CamelBak Highland Fling Is Just a Stone’s Throw Away!

The 2013 CamelBak Highland Fling mountain bike event is just four weeks away. That’s still plenty of time to get your training on a roll and be ready to leave no stone unturned when you line up for the ninth edition of Australia’s largest mountain bike marathon.

Briars Highland Fling 2012

If you’ve noticed there seems to be a bit of a stone theme, you’re onto something. One of the many things that make the CamelBak Highland Fling unique is its annual theme; designed to ensure that serious racing is also serious fun!

2013 sees The CamelBak Highland Fling go stone-age with a Flingstones theme. And while there is an assurance that no actual stones will be flung (other than flung up by tyres), there could be a dinosaur or two taking to the trails (and we’re not talking about riders in the Grand Masters category).

Briars Highland Fling 2012

On Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th November, the picturesque New South Wales Southern Highlands town of Bundanoon will a celebrate all things mountain biking with the CamelBak Highland Fling welcoming a large field of both Australian and international elite riders, category racers and weekend warriors, together with their support crews, families and friends.

Last year's podium. Cooper, Jackson and Johnston grabbed the top three spots. Jackson took the novelty cheque, Coops got the beer, Brendan got the award for best attempt at a moustache.
Last year’s podium. Cooper, Jackson and Johnston grabbed the top three spots. Jackson took the novelty cheque, Coops got the beer, Brendan got the award for best attempt at a moustache.

2012 men’s champion Adrian Jackson will be back to defend his title saying: ‘The Fling is one of my big targets for the second half and I hope to hit it in top form. It’s rated in the top tier of marathon races by all elites. To win one is an honour but to win back-to-back, is legend making.’

Making sure it’s not an easy win will be a stacked men’s elite field including 2012 2nd and 3rd place-getters Dylan Cooper and Brendan Johnston, Swell Specialized team mates Andy Blair and Shaun Lewis, along with Dan McConnell, keen to show his form locally after a stellar world championship season in which he placed 2nd overall in the World Cup Series.

The unstoppable Jenny Fay will be back again to defend her title.
The unstoppable Jenny Fay will be back again to defend her title.

Defending women’s champion Jenny Fay has just picked up the Irish National Marathon Jersey after a win in Italy too, but she will be back in Australia, and in top form, to ensure she makes it three in a row at The Fling. The likes of Australian XC champion Peta Mullens from VIC and Jo Bennet from WA will be keen to stop the hat trick.

Former Singlespeed World Champion Garth Weinberg from NZ, will be over to shake up the Full Fling SS category and no doubt will finish up toward the pointy end overall too.

In the 100 Mile Fling local elites including title holder Ed Macdonald will be battling it out with international riders including the UK’s Matt Page. 2012 Half Fling winner Kyle Ward is stepping up to the Full Fling in 2013. Can his 18 year old younger brother Jayden, recent victor in the Kowalski 50km event, hold onto the family honour by keeping out last year’s 2nd place rider Andrew Arthur, 50km specialist Brad Morton and evergreen old foxes like Matt Fleming?

The main racing takes place on Sunday 10th with riders selecting the 110km Full Fling, 55km Half Fling or 100Mile Fling, with routes winding through mixed terrain. Private farmland tracks cross into the beautiful forest and gully trails of Wingello State Forest. Open paddocks become rough 4WD trails and flowing single track. Challenging climbs are rewarded with sweet descents.

Leading into the main event are also a host of sideshow events across the weekend, including the Casual Fling to cater for those who prefer a more social ride and the Bundanoon Dash for those who like their racing fast and furious.

Briars Highland Fling 2012

The Battle of the Businesses, for locals only, provides stunning costumes for spectator entertainment, while those who like to race without having to put any power to the pedal can line-up for the second Rolloff World Championships.

For young racers, Saturday’s Kids Skills Clinic tips can be tried out in the hotly contested Todds Real Estate Kids Fling on Sunday.

 

Racing: The CamelBak Highland Fling Is Just a Stone's Throw Away!

The 2013 CamelBak Highland Fling mountain bike event is just four weeks away. That’s still plenty of time to get your training on a roll and be ready to leave no stone unturned when you line up for the ninth edition of Australia’s largest mountain bike marathon.

Briars Highland Fling 2012

If you’ve noticed there seems to be a bit of a stone theme, you’re onto something. One of the many things that make the CamelBak Highland Fling unique is its annual theme; designed to ensure that serious racing is also serious fun!

2013 sees The CamelBak Highland Fling go stone-age with a Flingstones theme. And while there is an assurance that no actual stones will be flung (other than flung up by tyres), there could be a dinosaur or two taking to the trails (and we’re not talking about riders in the Grand Masters category).

Briars Highland Fling 2012

On Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th November, the picturesque New South Wales Southern Highlands town of Bundanoon will a celebrate all things mountain biking with the CamelBak Highland Fling welcoming a large field of both Australian and international elite riders, category racers and weekend warriors, together with their support crews, families and friends.

Last year's podium. Cooper, Jackson and Johnston grabbed the top three spots. Jackson took the novelty cheque, Coops got the beer, Brendan got the award for best attempt at a moustache.
Last year’s podium. Cooper, Jackson and Johnston grabbed the top three spots. Jackson took the novelty cheque, Coops got the beer, Brendan got the award for best attempt at a moustache.

2012 men’s champion Adrian Jackson will be back to defend his title saying: ‘The Fling is one of my big targets for the second half and I hope to hit it in top form. It’s rated in the top tier of marathon races by all elites. To win one is an honour but to win back-to-back, is legend making.’

Making sure it’s not an easy win will be a stacked men’s elite field including 2012 2nd and 3rd place-getters Dylan Cooper and Brendan Johnston, Swell Specialized team mates Andy Blair and Shaun Lewis, along with Dan McConnell, keen to show his form locally after a stellar world championship season in which he placed 2nd overall in the World Cup Series.

The unstoppable Jenny Fay will be back again to defend her title.
The unstoppable Jenny Fay will be back again to defend her title.

Defending women’s champion Jenny Fay has just picked up the Irish National Marathon Jersey after a win in Italy too, but she will be back in Australia, and in top form, to ensure she makes it three in a row at The Fling. The likes of Australian XC champion Peta Mullens from VIC and Jo Bennet from WA will be keen to stop the hat trick.

Former Singlespeed World Champion Garth Weinberg from NZ, will be over to shake up the Full Fling SS category and no doubt will finish up toward the pointy end overall too.

In the 100 Mile Fling local elites including title holder Ed Macdonald will be battling it out with international riders including the UK’s Matt Page. 2012 Half Fling winner Kyle Ward is stepping up to the Full Fling in 2013. Can his 18 year old younger brother Jayden, recent victor in the Kowalski 50km event, hold onto the family honour by keeping out last year’s 2nd place rider Andrew Arthur, 50km specialist Brad Morton and evergreen old foxes like Matt Fleming?

The main racing takes place on Sunday 10th with riders selecting the 110km Full Fling, 55km Half Fling or 100Mile Fling, with routes winding through mixed terrain. Private farmland tracks cross into the beautiful forest and gully trails of Wingello State Forest. Open paddocks become rough 4WD trails and flowing single track. Challenging climbs are rewarded with sweet descents.

Leading into the main event are also a host of sideshow events across the weekend, including the Casual Fling to cater for those who prefer a more social ride and the Bundanoon Dash for those who like their racing fast and furious.

Briars Highland Fling 2012

The Battle of the Businesses, for locals only, provides stunning costumes for spectator entertainment, while those who like to race without having to put any power to the pedal can line-up for the second Rolloff World Championships.

For young racers, Saturday’s Kids Skills Clinic tips can be tried out in the hotly contested Todds Real Estate Kids Fling on Sunday.

 

Video: The Briars Highland Fling has been flung

[SV_VIMEO id=”53385849″]

The Briars Highland Fling, now in its eighth year, has a certain air of prestige about it. It attracts a massive field of over 2000 entrants, at 112km it’s longer than any other marathon in the calendar (there’s even a 100-mile option for those who require a bit more punishment) and the widely varied course is tough from start to finish. Needless to say, to win here is to notch up a truly notable victory. This year, the stage was set for a incredible battle. The Fling is the final round in the Real Insurance XCM series, and the big guns were all in attendance to sort out who was boss.

The Fling takes in all kinds of trails across its 112km – from open field, to pine forest, to the twisty singletrack of Wingello.

But before we get in the serious business of racing, it’s not-so-serious side of the Fling that also makes it such a great event. The vibe is fantastic, and the whole community of Bundanoon embraces the thousands of mountain bikers who descend on the normally sleepy township.  The town is decked out with silver painted bikes, local business owners don costumes for the Battle of the Businesses, and the main street is shut down, giving the whole town a festival feel.

The Battle of the Businesses is a hoot! It’s great to see how the community gets behind the Fling. You really get the feeling that mountain biking is doing great things for the town.

The inaugural Rolloff World Championships saw riders playing tactical warfare to extract the last microns of momentum on the tarmac outside town. Slick tyres, high pressures and aero helmets were all busted out, but in the end sheer mass proved the winner with Glen Leechburch taking the victory on board full knobby tyres at off road pressures.

Saturday’s Bundanoon Dash was a chance to stretch the legs pre-Fling. The short course looped out of town before finishing with a brutal smash up Constitution Hill.

Saturday afternoon also saw the traditionally frenetic Bundanoon Dash take place. This 10-minute blast around town finishes with a sprint up the cripplingly steep Constitution Hill. Andy Blair sent a message, stomping the climb to take the win. Once again, the vibe was unreal, with locals and visitors alike packing the side of the road and screaming like it was the upper slopes of Alp d’Huez at the Tour de France.

The sound of bagpipes divides opinion like religion at a dinner party. But love them or loathe them, the wail of pipes at a 5:30am leaves you in no doubt that you’re at the Fling!   Riders emerged from tents and campers to frosty air but blue skies – perfect racing conditions for the battle that was to play out.

All eyes were on the elites this year, and the depth of talent that had turned up to race was terrifying. In the men’s field there was Shaun Lewis, Dylan Cooper, Adrian Jackson, Andy Blair, Trenton Day and Matt Flemming, just to name a few. The women’s field was equally stacked; Jenny Fay, Rebecca Henderson, Peta Mullens, Jenni King, Jodie Willet… the front row of the start looked like a National Champs.

The 100 Miler category had some big names too, including none other than Jess Douglas, and alongside her, Naomi Hansen. The battle between these two would shape up to be one of the stories of the weekend.

Jenny Fay won every round of the XCM series this year. It has been a huge season for her and she’ll kick off the new year on a fresh team to be announced shortly. Her win in the Fling was gutsy.

Few people expected Jenny Fay to be seriously challenged in the women’s field. With five XCM wins this year already under her belt, the overall Real Insurance XCM series was as good as hers. Fay looked comfortable and confident the day before the race, saying “I know what I need to do. I don’t want to win by 10 seconds.”

The men’s overall series competition was a different kettle of fish. Shaun Lewis had a slight lead over Andy Blair, but with the Fling having more series points on offer than the other rounds, there was potential for Blair to snatch the series title if he could take the win. Lewis was keeping it cool, “Blairy’s definitely the guy I’ve got worry about,” he said, “I’ll be marking Blairy, and if it comes down to a sprint finish then that will suit me.”

Shaun Lewis (right), Real Insurance XCM series winner, picks it up, while big Troy Glennan charges on through. Glennan played a key role in the Fling, working for Lewis early on.

Ultimately, the race panned out a little differently. Jenny Fay did manage to hang on and take the win in the women’s but not in the comfortable manner to which she has become accustomed. Perhaps the toll of a big year of racing finally hit home? Fay was first across the line, but Peta Mullens was right on her heels. There were a few anxious and emotional moments for Fay while the un-timed transition sections were taken into account before she was finally announced as the deserved (and very relieved) winner. “I’m actually happy it ended like this,” said Fay, “it justifies that my win in the series wasn’t about a lack of depth in the field. I had nothing in the legs, so I just had to ride with my head, and I did that.”

The on-course confessional, where riders could confess their ‘doping sins’! Stuff like this makes the Fling a good laugh as well as a great race.

The men’s race was a tactical battle. Adrian Jackson, Mr Consistent, got away with the ever-aggressive Dylan Cooper and the on-form Brendan Johnston. Behind them, the battle between Blair and Lewis was playing out. Lewis: “A few things went my way tactically – the bunch split and it was Andy and I at the back, so he had to take the initiative.” Lewis, still on the mend from injury, admitted that Blair was “super strong” but soon after Blair was hit with the first of two flat tyres and his day was done. Despite sleeving his damaged tyre with gel wrappers and even a borrowed $10 note, Blair suffered a second flat and ultimately had to borrow a wheel. Lewis finished in fifth, with Blair in six with Jarrod Hughes bagging a commendable fourth, a huge result in such esteemed company. The mechanical dramas cost Blair in the series standings too, and he slipped from second to third overall.

Cooper, Jackson and Johnston grabbed the top three spots. Jackson gets the novelty cheque!

The top three spots of the Fling podium were occupied by Jackson, Cooper and Johnston. Jackson’s performance was no surprise to those who’ve seen his consistency all year. “I’ve been competing solidly all year and maintaining good fitness just through racing,” AJ said, “but today was hard – there are climbs the whole way, and no big descents you get a rest on.” Brendan Johnston was admittedly “wrecked” after grabbing third. “Dylan was just driving it in the singletrack, and that really hurt me,” he said. Dylan Cooper was also paying the price, cramping up hard as he crossed the line.

Ed McDonald, winner of the 100 Miler category, remarkably smiley for a bloke who has just ridden 165km!

In the 100 Miler category, Ed McDonald on his first race for Trek/Anytime Fitness, took the win. Naomi Hansen was able to hold off a rapidly closing Jess Douglas in the women’s, coming across the line just seconds ahead after 165km of racing. Douglas was eager to continue the battle, claiming “the motor was just getting warmed up!” but Hansen was, wisely, not having a bar of it.

And so it ended, the Fling was flung once again. A fantastic event in all respects, just remember to bring your ear plugs if you don’t like the sound of bag pipes at dawn.

The Highland Fling: Australia's Largest Mountain Bike Marathon

This weekend Australia’s largest mountain bike marathon, the Briars Highland Fling, will run for the eighth year. Attracting over 2000 riders and bringing together Australia’s most impressive elite field.

It is also the final race in the Real XCM Series – a series initiated in 2011 to help raise the profile of the sport in Australia and provide elite athletes with a serious and organised competition throughout the year. It’s hotly contested and it’s going to be a battle on the bike.

The Full Fling (112km) race will be a decider in the Men’s overall Series with Shaun Lewis and Andy Blair going pedal for pedal. We’re expecting new records to be set.
And whilst the women’s Series is already in the bag for Jenny Fay with 5 from 5 wins, she’s facing her toughest elite competition this year, including Australia’s London Olympian Bec Henderson.

But the Briars Highland Fling is more than one race. It’s become a mountain bike festival weekend celebrating the best of cycling, with events ranging from kid’s skills clinics and a dash around the town centre on Saturday night, to the no-need-to-pedal Rolloff World Championships and 100Mile (165km) Fling.

To find out more about the 2012 Briars Highland Fling visit Wild Horizons

The Fling is this weekend. Will you be there?

The Highland Fling: Australia’s Largest Mountain Bike Marathon

This weekend Australia’s largest mountain bike marathon, the Briars Highland Fling, will run for the eighth year. Attracting over 2000 riders and bringing together Australia’s most impressive elite field.

It is also the final race in the Real XCM Series – a series initiated in 2011 to help raise the profile of the sport in Australia and provide elite athletes with a serious and organised competition throughout the year. It’s hotly contested and it’s going to be a battle on the bike.

The Full Fling (112km) race will be a decider in the Men’s overall Series with Shaun Lewis and Andy Blair going pedal for pedal. We’re expecting new records to be set.
And whilst the women’s Series is already in the bag for Jenny Fay with 5 from 5 wins, she’s facing her toughest elite competition this year, including Australia’s London Olympian Bec Henderson.

But the Briars Highland Fling is more than one race. It’s become a mountain bike festival weekend celebrating the best of cycling, with events ranging from kid’s skills clinics and a dash around the town centre on Saturday night, to the no-need-to-pedal Rolloff World Championships and 100Mile (165km) Fling.

To find out more about the 2012 Briars Highland Fling visit Wild Horizons

The Fling is this weekend. Will you be there?

2012 Real Insurance XCM Series Wrap-Up

The movie below is a wrap of the 2012 Real Insurance XCM Series in the lead up to next weekend’s Briar’s Highland Fling in the Southern Highlands of NSW. The Fling is the final event in the six race series and, combined with the winter long XCM Series, is the biggest pay day in Australian mountain biking.

The series has attracted over 5,000 riders over six events, starting in April. It is not only the elite riders that are hell bent on winning the series, many of the category riders have made it their racing priority for the year.

Watch the movie to see Australia’s leading mountain bikers, Andy Blair and Shaun Lewis, discuss the series and their chances as the Briar’s Highland Fling looms. Either could take the series on the day.

It's almost Fling time!

There’s less than one month to go until The Flinging Scotsman departs Central Station in Sydney and delivers eco savvy mountain bikers to the 2012 Briars Highland Fling – Australia’s largest mountain bike marathon and the final race in the 2012 Real Insurance XCM Series, now in its eighth year!

The Fling is always ripper day in the NSW Southern Highlands. Just keep some fuel in the tank for those final climbs!

 

Every year, the Fling has a theme, and for 2012 it’s See Yourself. Expect lots of mirrors on course to give you a look at just how haggard you actually appear at the top of the climbs! Or perhaps you see yourself stomping your way to the win?

The Fling is all about sustainability too, so the Wild Horizons mob have organised ‘The Flinging Scotsman’,  a special charter train to take riders from Central Station to Bundanoon (and return). At $29 it’s cheaper than petrol, speeding tickets can be avoided and race strategies can be planned on route. Then of course there’s the benefit of sleeping all the way home to Sydney after racing hard.

The Flinging stars of tomorrow aren’t left out of the Fling either, so over the weekend there’s a kid’s skills clinic plus the Todds Real Estate Kid’s Fling where they can put it all into practice – 170 kids raced last year.

In addition tho the 110km Full Fling and 55km Half Fling, there’s also the 100Mile Fling – we expect these longer mega-endurance format formats of 150km plus are about to explode. There are other weekend highlight races to keep the legs turning too, with the fast and furious Bundanoon Dash, the 14km Casual Fling, and local legends will contest the Battle of the Businesses dressing up bike and rider.

It’s almost Fling time!

There’s less than one month to go until The Flinging Scotsman departs Central Station in Sydney and delivers eco savvy mountain bikers to the 2012 Briars Highland Fling – Australia’s largest mountain bike marathon and the final race in the 2012 Real Insurance XCM Series, now in its eighth year!

The Fling is always ripper day in the NSW Southern Highlands. Just keep some fuel in the tank for those final climbs!

 

Every year, the Fling has a theme, and for 2012 it’s See Yourself. Expect lots of mirrors on course to give you a look at just how haggard you actually appear at the top of the climbs! Or perhaps you see yourself stomping your way to the win?

The Fling is all about sustainability too, so the Wild Horizons mob have organised ‘The Flinging Scotsman’,  a special charter train to take riders from Central Station to Bundanoon (and return). At $29 it’s cheaper than petrol, speeding tickets can be avoided and race strategies can be planned on route. Then of course there’s the benefit of sleeping all the way home to Sydney after racing hard.

The Flinging stars of tomorrow aren’t left out of the Fling either, so over the weekend there’s a kid’s skills clinic plus the Todds Real Estate Kid’s Fling where they can put it all into practice – 170 kids raced last year.

In addition tho the 110km Full Fling and 55km Half Fling, there’s also the 100Mile Fling – we expect these longer mega-endurance format formats of 150km plus are about to explode. There are other weekend highlight races to keep the legs turning too, with the fast and furious Bundanoon Dash, the 14km Casual Fling, and local legends will contest the Battle of the Businesses dressing up bike and rider.