The third Shimano MTB Grand Prix race for 2019 took place at Glenrock State Conservation Area in Newcastle on Saturday, 15 June. Many locals took part in the four and seven hour mountain bike event including 15-year old Owen Tooley from Bolton Point, who sensationally claiming the general classification (GC) in the 4-hour solo men’s category. Fellow local racer Su Pretto won the women’s classification. In the 7-hour event the seven-time 24-hour World Champion Jason English took out the entire field for the men’s solo GC and line honours and Gwynn McLeod increased her overall series lead with her second win this year. The men’s solo series leader is Garry James and a strong teams line-up makes for tight racing as the series heads South for the Nowra event on 27 July at Coondoo State Forest.
15-year old takes out 4-hour solo GC win
More than 250 racers lined up at Glenrock State Conservation Area for the Shimano MTB Grand Prix. With the four and seven hour competitions organiser Rocky Trail Entertainment offers a variety of age groups as well as e-Bike categories. Glenrock is one of the most popular mountain bike trail network in Newcastle and whilst offering challenging bush tracks, the event participants got to enjoy stunning ocean views throughout the sunny day.
The podiums were filled with local talent and at only 15 years of age Owen Tooley won the 4-hour men’s solo category with 12 laps in 4:08:12 racing for the Mobius Attaquer team. Of his race he said that he felt really strong on his home track and thanked his parents for supporting him – and getting him to events! Owen was able to proof himself against some of Rocky Trail’s top racers with all remaining top five men’s place getters from the Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast regions – Liam McGuire from Redhead (+5 min) in second, Matt La-Borg (+7:49 min) from Ettalong in third and well as series leader Mitch Lozinski (-1 lap) in fourth and fellow Central Coast racer Jason Pearce (-1 lap) in fifth.
With Tooley, La-Borg and Lozinski there were three Mobius Attaquer team riders in the top five in the 4-hour event and team manager Bernard Chan said that “one of the main team goals this year was to finish consistently in the Shimano GP with a huge smile on everyone’s faces”. With two racers currently competing at overseas UCI events in Canada and South Africa, he explained that the core focus of the team was beyond outright performance and winning, but also about being around a great culture and a close knit team environment.
Anderson takes over 4-hour women’s lead
In the 4-hour women’s solo competition, Natalie Anderson from the Jetblack Racing Team takes over the overall series lead with her third podium placing this year. Local racer Su Pretto won ahead of her in 10 laps in 4:21:00 with Leigh McGregor from Williamtown coming in third.
Knowing the course well Su Pretto said that in race mode it had been much tougher that she had expected it to be, but that she enjoyed the competition.
The 4-hour race line honours once again go to the Gordons – Owen and Craig winning outright in 13 laps and 4:14:31 – overall in the series it is the KPMG SGA team with James Walker and Peter Graham who collected most points in the first three events of the series and in the women’s the leading team is the Pedal4Pierce duo of Belinda Wren and Ally Roche. Jetblack Racing team riders are leading in the mixed and junior teams.
Jason English wins 7-hour event outright
The course for the event was 6.5km in lenght, which is below the 8km average for Shimano MTB GP courses and 7-hour solo men’s GC and the local outright winner Jason English said that early on in the event he had tried to keep up with the 4-hour solo men and the ultra-marathon rider then found it quite challenging later in the day stating that his pace was probably a bit too fast. “The course today was short, however, quite hilly. If I was going on here for 24 hours I would have gone a whole lot slower and I underestimated the conditions, not drinking and eating enough”, he admitted. English completed 20 laps in 7:06:12 clocking in just over 130km and an impressive 3,000vm of climbing.
Gwynn McLeod and Garry James take over 7-hour series leads
The second of the 7-hour men’s solo race was fellow Newcastle rider Keegan Wolfenden from Belmont (-1 lap) ahead of Mark Astley from Berry, who currently sits in second place overall in the series just behind Canberra’s Garry James who won the 50+ category at Glenrock.
In the women’s it was Gwynn McLeod who took over the series lead ahead of Catherine Woods and Dalene Pretorius.
“The track was quite dusty today, but really fun to ride – I felt really strong mid-way through the race. I put a lot of effort into a specific endurance training plan lately and all the hard work is really paying off”, she said.
Gwynn said that she was looking forward to her next Rocky Trail race, which will be the Diamonds in the Dirt Women’s Only Event at Awaba MTB Park on 6 July. As the event’s ambassador she was looking forward to lining up with ‘the girls’!
Troy Laughlin and Tom Stringer are leading the pairs classification overall in the series for Jetblack Racing and Ray Simpson and Helen Tinney from the Southern Highlands are ahead in the Mixed Pairs category. The junior 7-hour team category is dominated by the Hunter Christian School riders and the Jetblack Racing teams lead the threes categories.
The next Shimano MTB GP will take place at Coondoo State Forest near Nowra on 27 July 2019 and online registrations are open now.
- RESULTS PORTAL
- OVERALL SERIES RESULTS after 3 rounds [PDF]
- FREE PHOTO download
- NOWRA event portal to sign up for 27 July
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