The 12th edition of the Jetblack 24 Hour was held at Lidsdale State Forest on the Rydal Mountain Bike Trails in Lithgow on the 4+5 December weekend 2021. Ben Jacka is the outright 24 Hour Solo winner in the race, which was his tenth attempt at claiming the coveted title. In the female category, Gwynn McLeod successfully defended her 24 Hour Solo women’s title. Organisers from Rocky Trail Entertainment announced that the 2022 Edition will be the official AusCycling-endorsed 24 Hour Solo National Championship event.
After a turbulent 2021 racing season, once again the final event for the year had organisers and racers glued to their tech devices, checking weather updates in the lead up. The local Central Tablelands MTB Club together with the Rocky Trail crew put a massive effort into restoring and preserving the trails in the final days before the event. The competitors arrived from all over NSW, the ACT and as far as South East Queensland through thick clouds in the Blue Mountains ranges to warm and sunny weather in Rydal on the Saturday.
Jetblack Racing team rider Ben Jacka from East Maitland had competed in nine 24 hour races before and this year put his name on the list of infamous Jetblack 24 Hour winners. Jacka completed 39 laps in 24h:28:13 and was greeted back at the event centre by his elated family and close to 50 racing team mates on Sunday just after midday. All throughout Saturday, Owen Gordon from Springwood had been leading the solo men. After placing third in last year’s event, all eyes had been on him, not least because multiple 24 Hour Solo National and World Champion Jason English was missing from the start line, notably.
Quite the shake-up in the solo men’s field – a teacher in “real life”, Jason English had been assigned to grade HSC papers on the weekend. Whilst at the event, he was not able to compete as the grading process, which this year had been a month late due to Covid, but could not be completed in time for race start. English took it well, doing some social laps late afternoon and at night, stating that he was looking forward to returning to Rydal in 2022 for the National Champs.
Meanwhile, the young endurance gun Gordon suffered stomach problems and retired for a rest from about 3am on Sunday morning, while Ben Jacka plowed on. Newcastle’s Paul Cornish was racing strong with Peter Waldron closing in as well.
However, what had organisers and spectators on-site and at home on the live results screens on the edge of their seats, was female race leader Gwynn McLeod. The 24 Hour Women’s Solo World Champ from Canberra races consistently through the night, pushing herself into third outright place among her male contenders – a place that she defended crossing the line with 33 laps completed after 22h:48:57, right behind Paul Cornish with 36 laps (23h49:35).
Peter Waldron was fourth outright (33 laps in 23h44:58) and Marty Tink came in fifth (32 laps in 24h00:58).
In the females, Catherine Wood was second behind Gwynn with 27 laps and Dalene Pretorious was in third with 16 laps.
The line-honours for most laps went to the Team of 4 Male of “Southern Revolution” – Kurth Saunders, Neil Smith, Tom Stringer and Allen Young completed 50 laps in 24h25:26.
6+6 Hour race: Tom Chester and Michelle Newstead are the solo winners
In the 6+6 Hour race, which allowed competitors a rest overnight, Chester Tom completed 24 laps for the win and Michelle Newstead took the solo win with 20 laps.
The next edition of the Jetblack 24 Hour is scheduled for December 2022.
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).
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