The series finale of the SHIMANO MTB Grand Prix at Stromlo Forest Park attracted some of Canberra’s mountain bike racing aces to compete for four or seven hours. Andy and Jenny Blair took out the general solo classifications in the popular shorter race option and Michael Schmitt and Gwynn Le Maitre won the 7-hour solo competitions overall. Round five of the series also crowned it’s series winners. In the solo 4-hour Ben Fillingham and Natalie Anderson take out the series with Garry James and Meredith Quinlan winning the 7-hour solo races overall.
A freezing morning turned into a brilliantly sunny winter’s day of mountain bike racing at Stromlo Forest Park. The 11.5km track set out by the Rocky Trail crew was challenging and a tough finish to a series that featured a wide variety of trails. It included some trail sections that are rarely used in racing, which not only the many local racers enjoyed as they claimed the general classification wins across the board but also the interstate racers from all over NSW, QLD and VIC.
Blair-family takes out the 4-hour solo races
Jenny and Andy Blair both won their 4-hour solo general classifications. “It’s been a long time since Jenny and I have stood on the top step of the podium at the same race”, said Andy Blair who also took out the overall line honours of the 4-hour competition with 8 completed laps in 4:21:20 on their home track. After a bit of a hiatus from mountain biking and some road racing campaigns, Ondrej Slezak from Sydney was back in great form coming in second with a gap of just over three minutes ahead of Trent Pons from Spring Farm.
Jenny Blair won in against a strong field of women, completing 7 laps in 4:28:27 ahead of Imogen Smith (-1 lap) from Mt Cootha (QLD) and fellow Canberan Elise Buriss. “It’s really great that Juliane and Martin from Rocky Trail keep putting on this awesome events, I know how challenging that is as a young family”, Jenny Blair said.
Seven hour race goes to Michael Schmitt
The U23 racer Michael Schmitt dominated the entire seven-hour solo race for most of the day, after the early leader Callum McNamara retired from the event with knee problems. “It is a shame that Callum McNamara had to retire so early on it would have been great to race against him all day”, Michael Schmitt said after 12 laps in 7:11:53. In second overall was Canberran mountain bike icon Garry James clocking in the equal amount of laps in 7:29:07. In third was Mark Astley.
In the women’s another Canberra was victorious – Gwynn Le Maitre won with 8 laps in 6:29:24 ahead of Claudia Fiess from Sydney and Dalene Pretorius from country NSW.
The overall line-honours went to the JetBlack Racing junior team of Scott Reynolds and Owen Gordon with 13 laps in 7:07:52.
The SHIMANO MTB Grand Prix Series will return with five events across NSW and the ACT in 2018. For full Round 5 results as well as the final series results, visit http://www.rockytrailentertainment.com/events/MTBGP-results.html