Ben Cory sets new Green Valleys track record at first RedAss Downhill State Round
Ben Cory and Sarah Booth are the first elite series leaders for 2014 after the first RedAss NSW/ACT Downhill State Round at Tongarra near Wollongong on the weekend. The two downhill old hands competed in a record-field of racers at the brand new venue at Green Valleys Free Ride Park, which also hosted the XUP Gravity Festival on the Saturday night. In the U19’s division Hamish Cowen from nearby Mt Keira claimed the win on the new downhill home track of his hosting Wollongong Mountain Bike Club.
A brand-new track at Tongarra’s Green Valley Freeride Park near Shellharbour, just south of Wollongong, is the newest addition to the state downhill racing circuit and it surpassed everyone’s expectations on the weekend. Rocky Trail Entertainment has been running the official RedAss NSW/ACT Downhill State Series since 2011, working together with local mountain bike clubs and supporting their trail building and maintenance efforts. For Round 1 in 2014 they selected the Wollongong MTB Club as hosts on their new home track, summoning a field of close to 200 competitors from all over NSW and the ACT with a huge local contingent from the Illawarra region.
Elite riders impressed with new Wollongong MTB track
Ben Cory and Tim Eaton from Canberra had been two of the hottest names among the elite men’s riders to be at the start at Tongarra on the weekend. The 31-year old Ben Cory took out the fastest seeding time in 2:06.04 and backed it up with the fastest race run of the day, claiming the elite male category in 2:03.00 and setting a new track record for the Wollongong MTB Club.
“That was a brilliant racing weekend – this is how a downhill track should be! Loose, natural and constantly changing”, said the experienced downhiller and regular at Rocky Trail’s gravity races at the finish. Mark Conliffe from Eastwood came in second with 2:06.1, improving his seeding run by more than four seconds and beating third place-getter Tim Eaton by less than a second. Ryan Hunt from Scarborough achieved an impressive come-back from injury and placed in fourth ahead of Doug Dunn from Ebenezer in fifth.
Elite Women show strength in numbers
Elite women’s winner Sarah Booth from Newcastle was happy with a clean race run on the steep and dusty track, confirming her fastest seeding position and finishing in 2:40.5 with a gap of almost ten seconds ahead of Trudy Nicholas from Canberra and young gun Kellie Weinert from Campbelltown.
“I’ve been riding downhill for more than ten years and with two tracks on the state series so close to home I thought I’d give it a go”, said the 36-year old State Series newbie Trudy Nicholas from Canberra who added that she enjoyed the camaraderie of the women racing on the weekend. Vanessa Thompson from Yanderra came in fourth and Joanne Fox from Emu Heights was in fifth.
Surprise win for Hamish Cowen in U19’s
With an astonished look on his face Hamish Cowen accepted congratulations from fellow riders at the finish after his race time of 2:14.7 was confirmed as the fastest of the U19’s category. Fastest in the seeding run, Chris Tye, clocked in a 2:15.4 ahead of Chris Clark from Newcastle in third.
“I can’t really believe this”, said Cowen. “My second place in the seeding run certainly gave me the confidence to give it my best shot in the finals – the track was getting quite blown out towards the end, so stoked that I had a clean run”, the 18-year old environmental science student from Mt Keira added.
Round two of the RedAss NSW/ACT Downhill State Series will be held together with the Central Tablelands MTB Club at Lithgow’s Pony Express track on 20+21 September and Race Director Martin Wisata hopes to further grow and nurture the junior categories. “We’ve seen huge numbers in the U17’s and U15’s categories on the weekend – over 50 juniors competed with us this weekend. This shows the huge potential we have in NSW and ACT and certainly leaves us confident for the next two series rounds and future state downhill racing seasons to come!”
For detailed race results and more event information, visit www.rockytrailentertainment.com
Photos can be used online only for RedAss Downhill State Series coverage with image credits.
Top Results Round 1
RedAss NSW/ACT Downhill State Series 2014
1. Ben Cory / Giant, Onya Bike Canberra, Sram, Rockshox, Avid, Vans, ODI, Ethika, Maxima racing oils, MRP / Kambah ACT / CORC / 02:02.954 min
2. Mark Conliffe / Phantom Racing, Scott Bikes / Eastwood NSW / 02:06.127 min / +00:03.173 sec
3. Tim Eaton / Giant, Oakley, swift supplements, Sram, onyabike Canberra, Thredbo MTB / CORC / Canberra ACT / 02:06.685 min / +00:03.731 sec
4. Ryan Hunt / DHaRCO, Banshee / Scarborough NSW / 02:09.470 min / + 00:06.516 sec
5. Doug Dunn / WSMTB Club / 02:11.594 min / + 00:08.640 sec
1. Sarah Booth / ADCC, Kona / HMBA / Newcastle NSW / 02:40.539 min
2. Trudy Nicholas / CORC / Gordon ACT / 02:50.291 min / +00:09.752 sec
3. Kellie Weinert / DharCO / Kearns NSW / 02:51.583 min / +00:11.044 sec
4. Vanessa Thompson / Yanderra NSW / 03:00.059 min / +00:19.520 sec
5. Joanne Fox / Cell Bikes / WSMTB / Emu Heights NSW / 03:03.303 min / +00:22.764 sec
1. Hamish Cowan / Mt Keira NSW / 02:14.702 min
2. Chris Tye / Kidsons Cycles / Wagga MTB / Estella NSW / 02:15.427 min / +00:00.725 sec
3. Chris Clark / Drift Bikes / Adamstown Heights NSW / HMBA / 02:17.209 min / +02.507 sec
4. Josh Lea / Helensburgh NSW / Helensburgh Off Road Cyc. / 02:18.892 min / 00:04.190 sec
5. Brandon Maxwell / Woronora Heights NSW / 02:23.101 min / +00:08.399 sec
Further category winners:
Expert Male: Jack Johnson / Kamameja MTB / Jerrys Plains NSW / 02:23.571 min
Under 17 Male: Harry Parsons / RedHub / Mittagong NSW / 02:13.872 min
Junior Under 15: Patrick Butler / Deubel, Gloryfy, SCV Imports, Liquid Planet / Brunkerville NSW / 02:35.360 min
Junior Female: Charlotte Kerr / Balgownie NSW / 03:29.771 min
Sport Male: Bryce Blackmore / 02:53.142 min
Veteran Male 30+: Daniel Seidel / Bilt Bikes / Kiama NSW / 02:21.369 min
Master Female: Coleen Boyes / Thornton NSW / 03:24.051 min
Master Male 40+: Tom Gilfedder / Cotic Australia / Kambah ACT / 02:25.954 min
Super Master Male 50+: Steven Bullard / Bilt Bikes / Hackett ACT / 03:00.319 min
Grand Master Male 60+: Steve Coles / Orange NSW / 03:05.383 min