They say, “happiness is the smell of mud when it rains” – the race participants of Saturday’s Shimano MTB Grand Prix mountain bike event got their fair share of mother nature’s goodness at Ourimbah MTB Park near Wyong! The weather forecast as predicted by Race Director Martin Wisata promised a relief in showers until midday and almost 200 competitors put their trust in Central Coast-local event organisers from Rocky Trail Entertainment, turning up at the popular NSW State Forest trail network on a misty morning.
Endorsed by the local Central Coast MTB Club the event was set up for a four and seven hour solo and relay lap racing competition on an 8km circuit at Ourimbah State Forest. Multiple 24 Hour Solo World Champion Jason English from Newcastle lined up alongside acclaimed elite endurance racers as well as amateur athletes from across NSW and the ACT, travelling to the Central Coast from as far as Eden on the South Coast.
As the racers braved the muddy and wet conditions lap after lap, Wisata said that he kept an eye on the weather radar.
“Over the years I’ve been able to identify a set of key resources that we use to monitor weather conditions and about half an hour before the 4-hour finish mark the radar indicated a heavy downpour. We called all competitors off the track from 1pm for safety reasons.”Martin Wisata, Race Director
Locals in top positions in the 4-hour classification
Michelle Morris from Shelly Beach on the Central Coast was the fastest local female competitor on the day, finishing in second place overall in the female 4-hour solo classification. She had been chasing Canberra’s Em Viotto all morning and finally caught up to her on the last climb – Viotto took the win with 7 laps completed in 4h13:35 with Morris crossing the line with less than a minute gap. The two women congratulated each other at the finish.
“I got goosebumps when I saw you ahead of me on the climb, it was such a thrill to chase you!”Michelle Morris to winner Em Viotto
Michelle Morris has been a regular on the Rocky Trail racing circuit and had been doing practice sessions on her home track in the lead up to the event to “dial here race lines” as she said. It had been Em Viotto’s first race at Ourimbah MTB Park and the experienced endurance competitors said that the trails had been challenging in the wet conditions. She added that it had still been a lot of fun and that she had felt “happy like a pig in the mud”. In third overall was Sam Boyce from Sydney on equal laps in 4h37:04.
In the 4-hour solo men, Mitch Lozinski from Wongarrah claimed third overall with 8 completed laps in 4h:03.0. In first was Toby Stewart from Pambula on the far South Coast near Eden, taking the overall solo men’s and outright 4 hour win in an uphill sprint finish after 9 laps in 4h24:28. Stewart said that he had enjoyed “some proper mountain biking that went down last weekend”. In second was Ayden Toovey from Canberra (+2sec).
Early finish for seven hour racers
In the seven hour race Kaydee Raths and Jason English continued their winning streaks in the Shimano MTB GP Series. Kaydee finished 7 laps in the shortened race and crossed the line in 4h37:55. In second in the solo women’s was Catherine Wood. The US-American Kaydee Raths from Sydney said that the wet conditions had been interesting and that she hadn’t minded them,
Not that I object to riding in wet conditions, I miss the extra slick factor! Funneling Remi Thirion creative tech skills in the mud – always a good time racing with the local Aussie legends!!Kaydee Raths about here racing experience, referencing French downhill icon Thirion
In the men’s Jason English once again confirmed his dominance in the Australian mountain bike endurance racing game.
“The first lap was wet, but the trail conditions improved over the day until the rain starting belting down just after 4hrs when the event was stopped. While the overall battle with Owen Gordon was a challenge, I was keen for the overall win in the 7hr. I was just happy we got to race for 4hrs. It was a good call to cut the race short.”Jason English
English ended up rolling over the finish line on the wheel of the Jetblack Racing Team who at that point were in the line honours outright lead in the 7 hour competition. With one second gap to the team of three, Jason English win the solo race with 8 laps completed in 4h11:27. Owen Gordon from the Blue Mountains finished in second in the solo field with a gap of six minutes and Michael Sherwood finished third (+15min).
The Shimano MTB GP series for NSW/ACT continue on to the South Coast with the Mogo event just rescheduled to the end of November, because of the current wet weather pattern along the NSW East Coast. A week later the series will have it’s final racing edition in Canberra.
Attention media: photos may only be used free of charge for coverage about Rocky Trail Entertainment owned or branded races, events or corporate news. For other media, commercial, private or photo use information or copyright requests, contact Juliane Wisata via email or on 0416 737 972.
Competitors: Download your Race Photos
Race Photos are now online and ready for download from the Outer Image Collective portal! They are included in your entry with thanks to support from Mackay Regional Council, Ride Fox Australia, Lazer Sport Australia and Race Face Performance Products through Shimano Cycling Australia and Stans NoTubes via Jetblack Products Australia. Get your pics now and share them with your friends! Use the hashtag #rockytrailracer so we can follow your stories! Remember to check he no-number galleries too, just in case!