Namesakes Daniel and Ed McDonald secure consecutive elite titles at Mount Annan

More than 300 mountain bikers proofed on the weekend that The Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan is “more than just a pretty place”, by participating in the SHIMANO Mountain Bike Grand Prix endurance race. Target Trek racer Ed McDonald dominated in the GP7 Hour Solo Elite men’s competition and took out the overall race win with 17 laps on the tough course. The strong female field saw a new rising star on the GP7 hour elite podium with Eliza Kwan and in the GP4 hour race Belinda Diprose claimed the win in the female racing categories with local rider Daniel McDonald, like his namesake Ed McDonald, repeating his elite male race win at Mount Annan from last year.

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Local matador Daniel McDonald secures the GP4 hour elite male win for the second consecutive time on his home track.

For the third time organisers Rocky Trail Entertainment hosted a SHIMANO MTB Grand Prix race at the unique venue in Mount Annan and the local defending GP4 hour champion Daniel McDonald from Campbelltown repeated his win. “I know this track very well”, he said across the finish line. “I ride here every week to train and I like to win on my home track”, the promising Target Trek racer added with a grin. Fellow team rider and reigning Australian 24 Hour Solo National Champion U30, Ed McDonald from Canberra, displayed a strong performance and also defended his victory from last year, claiming the GP7 hour elite solo title as well as the overall race win with 17 completed laps in 7:22.29 – more than any other solo or racing team on the day.

Ed McDonald, GP7 Hour elite male and outright winner of the SHIMANO MTB GP Round 4.
Ed McDonald, GP7 Hour elite male and outright winner of the SHIMANO MTB GP Round 4.

“I love the Mount Annan track, it’s tough, has a bit of climbing and technical sections, which means you need to push hard all day, but it’s so rewarding at the same time. I had a bit of a lazy start, but soon found my rhythm and felt better with every lap”, McDonald said of his race. Fellow Canberran Andrew Hall had been leading for the first few laps, but eventually finished second with 16 laps, conceding to McDonald’s increasing pace. Last year’s SHIMANO MTB GP series winner Andrew Lloyd from Newcastle came in third also on 16 laps.

Rising star Eliza Kwan claims first Rocky Trail race win
As the clock ticked over the seven-hour mark, all eyes where on Eliza Kwan – another rider from Canberra who wowed the crowd in the event centre. Rumour had it that Eliza Kwan had a background in martial arts, having practiced Olympic-style Taekwondo for over 10 years and represented Australia in several national teams. Over the past year her attention had then obviously successfully turned to endurance sports and mountain biking and with 13 laps at Mount Annan she claimed her first win at a Rocky Trail event.

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Eliza Kwan, GP7 Hour elite female winner at Mt Annan.
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Belinda Diprose shows how to juggle a full-time job and training to win a GP4 hour race.

“Generally, women make up 10-15% of our racing fields and there are some amazing female racers out there! We were all so impressed how Eliza just kept smiling all day; to see her come through the event centre lap after lap and bursting with positive energy was amazing”, said Juliane Wisata, Event and Timing Director at Rocky Trail. “I personally can’t wait to see her at our series finale at Stromlo Forest Park – I can only imagine how well she will race on her home track”, Wisata added. Confirming the dominance of Canberran racers at Mount Annan, Milly Brent claimed the second place with 10 laps in just over seven hours and Philippa Rostan from Sutton (NSW) came in third. In the GP4 hour competition Belinda Diprose from Drummoyne (NSW) took out the race win in the elite category ahead of Susanna Fasold from Bonnet Bay and Emily Cunningham from Kirrawee (NSW).

Series leaders standing strong
Ahead of the SHIMANO MTB GP series finale on 7 September at Stromlo Forest Park in Canberra, the series leaders of the elite solo categories held onto their leads – Jorge Baron Morris in the GP4 hour elite men’s and Susanna Fasold in the women’s, as well as Grant Webster and Sarah Neumann in the GP7 hour competitions.

For detailed results and further event information, visit www.rockytrailentertainment.com

GP7 Hour Elite Male
1. Ed McDonald / Target Trek Racing / Canberra ACT / GP7 Hour Overall Winner with 17 laps in 7:22.29
2. Andrew Hall / Cannondale Sugoi Factory Racing / Canberra ACT / 16 laps in 7:04.22
3. Andrew Lloyd / Cheeky Velosport / Newcastle NSW / 16 laps in 7:21.53

GP7 Hour Elite Female
1. Eliza Kwan / Canberra ACT / 13 laps in 7:07.19
2. Milly Brent / Canberra ACT / 10 laps in 7:04.51
3. Philippa Rostan / Sutton NSW / Australian Defence Cycling Club / 8 laps in 6:55.55

GP4 Hour Elite Male
1. Daniel McDonald / Target Trek Racing / Campbelltown NSW / 9 laps in 3:58.58
2. Werner Van der Merwe / Quantum Racing / Gordon NSW / 9 laps in 4:04.23
3. Anthony Shippard / CBD Cannondale / Sydney NSW / 9 laps in 4:09.58

GP4 Hour Elite Female
1. Belinda Diprose / Ashfield Cycles / Drummoyne NSW / 8 laps in 4:34.24
2. Susanna Fasold / Bike Culture | Whyte Racing / Bonnet Bay NSW / 7 laps in 4:15.47
2. Emily Cunningham / Sneaky Bacon Racing / Kirrawee NSW / 7 laps in 4:18.30

GP4 Hour Male Team 2 Elite
1. TBSM Phantom Racing / Jayden Ward, Guy Frail / GP4 Hour Overall Winners with 10 laps in 4:12.45.
2. Spearman Cycles / James Boland, David Manton / 10 laps in 4:14.25
3. Rockstar Racing Team / Craig Godon, Dwight Woodford / 10 laps in 4:16.42

Endurance racing "royalty" - Craig Gordon out for a sneeky race with Rockstar Racing team mate Dwight Woodford.
Endurance racing “royalty” – Craig Gordon out for a sneeky race with Rockstar Racing team mate Dwight Woodford.

Photos: Outer Image Collective / http://outerimage.com.au/