Round 2 of the RedAss NSW/ACT Downhill State Series was held in Lithgow last weekend. The reigning Elite Men’s Downhill State Champion David McMillan from Canberra won ahead of Tim Eaton who took over the State Series lead on the infamous “Pony Express” track ahead of the series finale in Canberra on 4+5 October. With a consecutive win Sarah Booth increased her series lead in the Elite Women’s category and Canberran Jackson Frew claimed his first U19’s State Series race win with Hamish Cowan from Wollongong defending his series lead. Home advantage for local racers: with a fifth place Joel Willis successfully claims his spot in the Elite category and young Zack Hutchinson takes away the U15’s category victory.
More than 150 downhillers from all over NSW, the ACT as well as QLD, competed on Lithgow’s “Pony Express”, home track of the Central Tablelands MTB Club. With new features the track proofed challenging for all racers and pulled an estimated crowd of 500 local spectators and rider families and supporters. The reigning RedAss NSW/ACT Downhill State Champion David McMillan from Canberra was one of the race favourites in the Elite Men’s category. He said that he had good legs from racing at World Cup events in Europe and North America recently and proofed his great form clocking in the fastest seeding (2:01.611) and final runs (1:57.408).
“I like this Lithgow track, it’s really fast and loose and challenging – how it should be”, McMillan said. Tim Eaton from Canberra came fourth in the seeding run and finished second with a gap of not even 1.5 seconds, however, collected enough points to take over the Elite Men’s overall series lead ahead of the final race on his home track in Canberra in early October. “I’ll practice those lines in the lead up, that’s for sure”, Eaton said, keen to defend his lead for the overall title. A surprising third place went to Tom Lewis from Orange ahead of Mark Conliffe and local pinner Joel Willis who had his elite debut on the weekend.
“I’m stoked with my fifth place”, said Willis who is part of the club building crew who maintains the track. “I tried to incorporate a lot of the track elements that I experienced during my recent World Cup races overseas”, he added.
Full female elite podium, strong junior fields
The event attracted also a strong elite women’s field – State Series leader Sarah Booth from Newcastle increased her points lead, winning ahead of old-hand Joanne Fox from Emu Heights and Vanessa Thompson from Yanderra.
Canberra’s Jackson Frew won his first U19’s race ahead of local club rider Pat Hancock. The series lead in the U19’s division was defended and stays with Hamish Cowan from Wollongong with Chris Clark from Newcastle moving into second overall. Fantastic result also by young Zack Hutchinson from Lithgow who won the Junior U15’s division ahead of series leader Patrick Butler from Brunkerville.
The organisers from Rocky Trail Entertainment confirmed that planning for a 2015 Downhill State Series event in Lithgow had started already as they credited the support received from the local Central Tablelands MTB Club as well as Lithgow Council.
The final round of the RedAss NSW/ACT Downhill State Series will take place on 4+5 October at Stromlo Forest Park in Canberra ACT.
Top results RedAss NSW/ACT Downhill State Series Round 2
Lithgow, 20+21 September 2014
1. David McMillan // Specialized, VANS, SRAM, FJC, Ti springs.com, Thredbo MTB / Canberra ACT / 1:57.408
2. Tim Eaton // Giant, SRAM, Oakley, Onya Bike Canberra, Thredbo mtb, Swift Perf. Suppl. / Canberra ACT / 1:58.842 +1.434
3. Tom Lewis // Central Tablelands MTB Club / Orange NSW / /1:59.808 +2.400
4. Mark Conliffe // Phantom racing, Scott Bikes / Eastwood NSW / 2:00.145 +2.737
5. Joel Willis // Fox Suspension, Royal, Shimano, Bikeminded, Lusty Industries, Orange / Lithgow NSW / 2:00.513 +3.105
1. Sarah Booth // Kona, RAAF, Mavic, Maxxis, Adidas, Fox, NS Dynamics, SRAM, Avid / Newcastle NSW / 2:23.622
2. Joanne Fox // Cell Bikes / Emu Heights NSW / 2:39.225 +15.603
3. Vanessa Thompson // Single Tracks / Yanderra NSW / 2:40.352 +16.730
4. Kellie Weinert // DHaRCO, Tight’n’Toned Fitness / Kearns NSW / 2:40.521 +16.899
5. Clare Ly // Thornleigh NSW / 3:08.910 +45.288
1. Jackson Frew // Onyabike, Leatt Protectives, Giant Bikes Aus / Canberra ACT / 2:02.390
2. Pat Hancock // trek world racing, nema, fox / Blackheath NSW / 2:03.899 +1.509
3. Hamish Cowan // Mt Keira NSW / 2:05.927 +3.537
4. Chris Clark // Drift Bike, Specialised Australia / Adamstown NSW / 2:09.956 +7.566
5. Luke Walsh // Lidsdale NSW / 2:11.209 +8.819
Photos: OuterImage.com.au/Richard McGibbon