With the JetBlack 12 Hour mountain bike endurance race, the largest event of its kind in NSW will once again be held at James Estate in the Upper Hunter Valley on 11 July 2015. Graeme Scott, James Estate’s General Manager, resident wine maker and trail builder also announced that the venue was successful in attracting another major cycling event to the winery: Rocky Trail’s JetBlack 24 Hour will be held on the popular winery trails in January 2016. Sydney, Newcastle and Canberra racers to challenge the long-standing titles held by 24-hour World Champion Jason English from Port Macquarie.
With the JetBlack 12 and 24 Hour events, two major endurance mountain bike races will be held at James Estate over the coming months. Both events are expected to attract more than 1,000 mountain bikers and visitors from all over the State and the ACT into the region. The races will feature a 10-12 km circuit in the popular bush and winery trail network in Baerami that will lead the competitors straight through the vineyards and via the custom-built mountain bike tracks at James Estate.
Tough racing in beautiful surrounds
The great favourite, incidentally also for both races, is 24-Hour World and Australian National Champion Jason English from Port Macquarie, who has held the JetBlack 12 Hour elite men’s title since 2010 and is a multiple JetBlack 24 Hour Champion as well. A couple of riders came very close to beating him in previous years and are expected to challenge him again this July. The contenders include Andrew Lloyd from Newcastle, who was the runner-up over the past two years, as well as Canberra’s Andrew Hall who was second behind English in 2012 and 2011. James Lamb, an endurance athlete and cycling coach from Sydney could be a challenger as well – he came close to winning in 2010 and has since ramped up his training and racing regime.
In the women’s a strong performance is expected by Wendy Stevenson, the elite women’s winner from last year from Sydney as well as Meredith Quinlan who won the women’s classifications by one lap outright in 2014. Newcastle’s Su Pretto and Ruth Strapp are names to watch out for also.
Hunter Valley racing experience
The JetBlack 12 Hour event offers many skill and age classifications and is open to all mountain bikers, including junior riders. A kids program will keep the young visitors entertained with free activities including a kids time-trial race, colouring-in competitions and games in the Rocky Trail Kids Club. Entry for spectators is free and the James Estate Winery crew will be doing wine tastings in the event centre. Visitors can also explore the popular Ridge Walk that starts at the Cellar Door. Its summit offers spectacular views of the surrounding Upper Hunter Valley and all the racing action in the event centre. Spectators will also have the opportunity to buy wines at the race and at the on-site Cellar Door and get a taste also of yummy local products from Hunter Valley Liqueurs & Baerami Olives as well as from the Hunter Belle Cheese Factory.
The race start is at 10am on Saturday, 11 July 2015. Competitors can register as solo or relay team racers via the online event portal at www.rockytrailentertainment.com