SRAM Singletrack Mind Series hits the Highlands
Hall back on top as SRAM Singletrack Mind Series hits the Highlands
The third new venue of the SRAM Singletrack Mind Series for 2012, Welby in the NSW Southern Highlands served up a course that had something for everyone. Lovingly crafted by the Southern Highlands Cycling Club the venue is a great reuse of what was formerly the Council tip, however the trails are far from "rubbish" with fine swooping singletrack, technical rock sections and fast flowing descents, receiving overwhelming praise but with the soloists noting they would be in for a tough day out.
Off the start a number of solo riders held top 10 positions including Canberrans Mark Tupalski and Andrew Hall. Tupalski set to establishing a lead on his rivals but a major mechanical half way through the first lap saw his race essentially come to an end. With Tupalski out and his nemesis for the Series Ed McDonald also out due to injury, Hall might have thought he'd be in for an easier day but Andrew Lloyd had other ideas passing Hall after three laps and spending the next 3 three hours in the lead. Hall's trademark is his endurance and as Lloyd's lap times started to blow out Hall's were the definition of consistency not deviating by more than 60 seconds. Hall, the 2011 Series champion taking his first win for 2012. The Solo Masters Male category went to Garry James for his 3rd win of the Series.
The Solo Women's competition was just as gripping, as the Central West club's Janet Martin took a flying start, opening up a two and a half minute lead over Liz Smith the 24 hour solo National Champion but Smith's class in the longer events shone as the hours elapsed and finishing in style with her fastest lap of the race. The Solo Masters Women went to Libby Adamson over 2011 Series champion Wendy Stevenson.
The pairs categories always feature close racing, Marathonmtb.com taking a convincing win in the Masters Pairs while the Male Pairs was a story of pain and despair as Series leaders Bike Culture/Whyte were both on the way back from injury and illness. They started well and moved into the lead but their limited miles coming into the event started to show allowing the Ashfield Cycles team the opportunity to pounce, holding the lead to the end, with BikeCulture/Whyte narrowly holding on to 2nd place from No Direction.
Girls day out took out the Female Pairs and the Mixed pairs was again dominated by Bike Culture; despite having a substitute rider, they racked up their 4th straight win.
In 2012 SRAM Singletrack Mind Series has featured very healthy junior categories, and Round 4 saw 7 teams battling for the win. As has been the case all Series, the Young Guns have been living up to their name and recorded their 3rd win of the Series edging out the Alltrack Cycles team. At the other end of the age scale the Masters Threes featured another win for HORCCules Vs The Chocolate Footed Monster over Wild Hogs and What the HORCC, while in the female threes category another HORCC team was also victorious. The BG Three extended their Series lead in the Mixed Threes with another win from Powered by Cadbury and the Male Threes was again a battle to the end for Stevens Racing and Ashfield Cycles, Stevens taking the win by just over 10 minutes after 8 hours of tough racing.
Aside from the pointy end of racing there were plenty of great stories including 18 year old James Ross completing the event as a soloist and covering a distance of 114km in the process – a rider to watch for the future. The Clydesdale class continues to prove popular with 7 solo riders hitting the scales in advance of the race. The winner of the previous two rounds was forced to withdraw late in the race leaving the race open to Matt Cordery and Cory Dimmer. With his extra lap and weight advantage, the towering Cordery won the category by a significant margin.
Riders received over $13,000 in cash and prizes provided by the great sponsors of the Series: SRAM, Avid, Rockshox, Truvativ, Hammer Nutrition, Serfas, Kenda, Giant, Zerofive Custom Sportswear, Mountain Biking Australia magazine, Aussie Butt Cream, The Body Mechanic, Frameskin, Muc-Off, Jimmy Jack Wines, Keep It Together and Cycology clothing.
The next round is set to be a huge one as bonus points are on offer for Round 5 at the Central Tablelands village of Rydal near Lithgow. The twisty track is being extended and buffed in preparation of another 8 hours of Singletrack bliss.