The Central Coast town of Wyong with its Ourimbah MTB Park hosted a SHIMANO MTB Grand Prix event on 8 July and turned on a perfectly sunny Winter’s day of racing for the Rocky Trail crowd from all over NSW and the ACT. Canberra’s Jay Vine took the 4-hour elite category by storm and Charlotte Culver from the Blue Mountains won her first women’s 4 hour. In the seven hour event, the seasoned Canberra racer Callum McNamara and Sydney’s Meredith Quinlan won the elite solo competitions. Singleton is the next series event hosting town for Round 4 on 29 July.
With round three of the SHIMANO Mountain Bike Grand Prix, the local cycling events promoter Rocky Trail Entertainment put on one of their most popular events on their home track. The riders at the start line of the third SHIMANO MTB Grand Prix series event had come to Wyong from all over the state and numerous competitors had travelled north from the ACT, being rewarded with pleasantly warm winter riding conditions on the Central Coast.
“We really enjoy hosting events here at Ourimbah – to have such facilities right on the doorstep of our business is amazing”, said Race Director Martin Wisata. “With the Central Coast Ourimbah Club we have a very active local club looking after the trails here on the Central Coast”, he added.
Dark horses and rising stars claim four hour event
Among the Canberran squad on the weekend was 21-year old Jay Vine from Wanniassa who has just been signed on by an Australian professional road racing team said that he had been following a tight training regime over the past few months to compete in the Shimano series as well as in marathon national events.
“That was a really tough race, it doesn’t look like it’s a lot of climbing, but the up and down in the valley just eats it out of you… it was a tough course but I love these trails”, he said of the race track. “My first major break-through was [Rocky Trail’s] AMB 100 marathon earlier this year where I came third against Brendan Johnston and Mark Tupalski … I’ve been doing a lot of training and this is really good for me.”
Another rising star among the Rocky Trail racers is Charlotte Culver. The XCO racer from the Blue Mountains said that she was used to shorter race lengths of around 1.5 hours, but that she was happy to ride at an equal level with competitors like current series leader Natalie Anderson and even winning against her at Ourimbah.
“It’s been a great day out! This has been my first four hour solo and I was so nervous coming into it I thought I’d cook myself in the first couple of laps but it was really good out there. I live not too far away and I was here last week watching [Rocky Trail’s] Superflow event and did a couple of laps practicing some of the sections here and I thought, I can do this”, Charlotte Culver said.
The two elite 4-hour runner-ups Daniel Beresford from Wagga Wagga and a consistent Natalie Anderson are the overall series leaders after three races.
Callum McNamara – the quiet achiever dominates seven hour
The seven hour elite winner Callum McNamara from Canberra went out fast right from the start and was actually coming back as the third across the line with the four hour racers from lap one. From then on he was in top form, actually leading the seven hour event outright for more than three hours. The first to catch him was Team of 2 with Andrew Fell and 24-hour Solo World Champion Craig Gordon who ended up taking out the overall line honours with 13 laps.
Completing 12 laps in 6:37:17, McNamara came second outright impressively and won the elite men’s category. “This was an interesting course and it has changed a bit since I raced here last. I really enjoyed it”, he said of the venue. “To be actually sweating when you race in Winter is very unusual for a Canberra, so this was very nice”, he concluded.
Overall in the men’s John Harris from Mudgee kept his series lead ahead of Cory Dimmer.
Meredith Quinlan from Sydney claimed her first seven hour victory in the elite women’s category in this year’s series and increases her overall series lead ahead of Dalene Pretorius.
Round four of the series will head to Singleton on 29 July – competitors can register online and find out all the details via http://www.rockytrailentertainment.com