Almost 300 riders participated in the final SHIMANO Mountain Bike Grand Prix Series event at Stromlo Forest Park. Many local riders claimed podium positions and two local riders took out the seven-hour elite endurance categories – Eliza Kwan was the winning female rider and Ed McDonald claimed the men’s race. In the four-hour competitions, Wendy Stevenson from Sydney won the elite women’s race and series title and Andrew Blair was the fastest elite male racer.
For the fifth and final series event of the SHIMANO MTB Grand Prix, organisers Rocky Trail had put together an 8.5 kilometer track combining some of Stromlo Forest Park’s most popular trails. As part of the four and seven-hour category prize cermonies the organisers also awarded overall series titles based on a best four out of five points system.
Callum McNamara successful on home track
Canberra’s Callum McNamara and the Central Coast’s Max Richardson went into the race on equal points and as expected a tight race unfolded. McNamara raced strongly from the beginning and finished in fourth place, which secured him the overall series win. Andrew Lloyd from Newcastle came second in the overall series with a second place at Stromlo and Max Richardson collected enough points to finish in third overall.
The seven hour elite men’s race win went to local racer Ed McDonald who won with 16 laps completed in 7:10:20. Third, behind Andrew Lloyd, was Andrew Hall (Canberra ACT). “I tried to ride consistently today and it paid off, but it was tough to hang onto Callum [McNamara] in the beginning”, said the 26-year old McDonald.
Kirby Knowles claims women’s series win
After a consistent series and with a sixth place at Stromlo, Novocastrian Kirby Knowles wins the seven-hour elite women’s overall title ahead of Laura Renshaw (Newcastle NSW) and Sydney’s Briony Mattocks. The race win at Stromlo was taken out by yet another local racer – Eliza Kwan completed 13 laps in 6:44:49, one more lap than in last year’s event. Fellow Canberran Gwynn Le Maitre was second ahead of Karen Foat.
Four-hour format popular with solo racers
With a four and seven hour endurance racing format, the SHIMANO MTB GP Series has been offering two competitions since its inception in 2010. The shorter race categories are well suited for riders who prefer the half-day time investment or are building up their endurance skills, says Event Director Juliane Wisata from Rocky Trail, “We’ve seen huge fields in the solo categories across all age groups and are really excited about the increase in junior racers that we’ve had over the past two racing seasons in the SHIMANO MTB Grand Prix.”
Australia’s 2014 Commonwealth Games representative Andy Blair won the 4-hour elite men’s race with 10 completed laps in 4:13:44 ahead of ex-Supercrosss World Champion Stefan Merriman from Newcastle and Daniel Beresford from Wagga Wagga (NSW). “It was great to win a race on home ground”, said Blair and added that his fellow racers put up a good fight. Noticeably absent due to injury was overall series winner in the 4-hour, Paris Basson from Sydney and the organisers credited Bryan Dunkin who secured the overall Junior series win with 9 laps and a fifth consecutive win at Stromlo. Wendy Stevenson from Sydney won the 4-hour elite women’s race and was also awarded the overall series title.
Wisata added that SHIMANO Cycling Australia had been pivotal in the success of the now biggest four and seven hour racing series in NSW and ACT. With confirmed future support by its headline sponsor, the the dates and locations for six SHIMANO MTB GP events in 2015 will be confirmed within the next few months. “We’re always looking to grow our races, to exceed our riders’ expectations in terms of location, race tracks and facilities and usually we have a surprise up our sleeves”, she said, hinting that Rock Trail Entertainment has secured access to a brand-new trail in Sydney for inclusion in next year’s series.
For detailed results, visit www.rockytrailentertainment.com