Two Shimano MTB Grand Prix events took place on the NSW North Coast on the weekend that would ring in a lockdown for the Greater Sydney region. The Saturday event was held governed by a strict Covid-19 Plan and the Sunday race was severely impacted by a good half of the field as well as staff not being able to participate due to lockdown regulations in place. Spirits and stoke levels, however, remained high all weekend.
Jolly Nose: Solo racers taking on the pairs
The Saturday event was held at Jolly Nose MTB Park, supported by the Port Macquarie Hastings Council and endorsed by the local HVMBR Club. The 6-hour event saw a spectacular showdown between multiple 24-hour Solo World Champion Jason English who seemed to take on the entire field. The former Port Macquarie local who now lives in Newcastle won the outright line honours and solo classifications by completing 10 laps in 5:58:09. His major contenders were Michael Brown and Craig Gordon, a fellow 24-hour Solo World Champion from Wollongong. The Pair finished also on 10 laps with a gap of over 11min. Notably strong competition came from the junior ranks – young Owen Gordon came third outright (+13:20min) ahead of Newcastle’s18-29 pairs of Matt Johns and Bryan Dunkin in fourth and Thomas Newman and Rodney Rae in fifth.
Catherine Wood, one of the most experienced female endurance racers in the Rocky Trail field took out the 6-hour solo female classification with 8 laps in 5:54:43. In second outright, again a pair: Georgia Marjoribanks and Rebecca Ryan finished with a gap of over 8 min ahead of the Newcastle juniors Cadence Campbell and Lilli Rae from the Hunter School.
The same pattern could be see in the ‘fast and furious’ 4-hour competition with Solo racer Lincoln Thomas taking out the line honours and solo male win with 8 laps in 5:14:43 ahead of the Mobius Attacquer Pairof Luke Brame and Thomas Worth (-1 lap) and young Jake Whitton also on 7 laps. In the females, Leigh Mcgregor from Williamtown claimed the win with 6 laps in 4:08:41. Louise Brierty was in second (5 laps) outright and the Jagermeister Racing Team with Lue Bonny and Melissa Elfar was in third.
Greater Sydney Lockdown overshadows events
Whilst the racing action was in full swing out on course at the Jolly Nose MTB Park, set against the backdrop of in the scenic Queens Lake State Forest, organisers were already gearing up all communications for various scenarios, eagerly awaiting announcements by NSW Health in regards to further Covid-19 measures. The Greater Sydney lockdown was announced just after 2pm and with the event completed and cleaned up by 5pm, the correspondence was distributed to all racers: all participants from Greater Sydney affected by the lockdown restrictions would not be able to participate in the Sunday race in Kempsey.
We faced a huge logistical challenge as we had to send away not only competitors and sponsors, but also staff. A core crew had stayed in Port Macquarie from our Fox Superflow event the weekend prior. In anticipation of any Covid-19 situation, my wife Juliane, however, had returned home to our head office and was able to get all information out to our racing community quickly. With only one staff member for support, the two of us headed to Kempsey early on the Sunday. What came to our advantage was that our First Aid crew had also stayed in the region for the whole week. So with on-course support from the local Macleay Valley MTB Club in Kempsey we were able to deliver the event on the Sunday. I am really grateful for the immeasurable resilience by our racers and supporters as well as crew, we have been and will continue to be riding and racing through thick and thin together.Race Director Martin Wisata
Kempsey: 4-hour smashfest for locals and regional visitors
It was decided not to include the Kempsey race into the ongoing Series classification so as not to disadvantage racers who weren’t allowed to attend the race because of the lockdown. Together with the field on the day it was decided to make it a 4-hour race only and the young guns Matt Johns and Bryand Dunkin from Newcastle completed 9 laps in 4:33:01 – the most by any team on the day. Solo racers Kevin Hawes from Lake Cathie came in second outright with 8 laps ahead of Geoff Dunkin.
Spectacularly it was a solo racer who had travelled to Kempsey all the way from Queensland’s Pacific Pines who won the women’s division – Michelle Woods clocked in 7 laps in 4:14:58. Local rider Simone Zwyer (+27:08min) came in second in the solo female competition ahead of Jemma Burtonwood in third (-1 lap).
The next Shimano MTB GP will take place on the Gold Coast in July and the NSW/ACT Series will continue at Mogo’s Deep Creek Dam near Batemans Bay in early August. For dates and more details visit the Rocky Trail website.
Photos from the race are now online on the Outer Image Collective portal! Remember, they are included in your entry, so download them now!
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Check out detailed results via the link below – don’t forget to download your results and podium certificate! Simply click on your name to see all race times and then select it to download (via the pop-up window).
All GP results are available via
- Full Jolly Nose/Port Macquarie results via https://rockytrailentertainment.com/shimano-mtb-grand-prix/2021-events/jollynose/results-mtb-gp-jolly-nose/
- Full Kempsey results via https://rockytrailentertainment.com/shimano-mtb-grand-prix/2021-events/kempsey/results-mtb-gp-kempsey/
For all 2021 venues, dates & event information visit
Photos may be used for free with image credits “Photo: Rocky Trail/OuterImage.com.au” for coverage of Rocky Trail events only. For more information, interview opportunities or high-res images for news coverage, please contact our Marketing Director Juliane Wisata on 0416 737 972 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org