For the first race of the 2018 season, Rocky Trail Entertainment brought a record field of riders to the most popular mountain bike trails in Newcastle – more than 300 riders raced for 4 and 7 hours at Glenrock State Conservation Area, which is part of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. The local race favourite and multiple 24-hour Solo World Champion Jason English took out the seven hour solo competition as expected with endurance newcomer Gwynn Le Maitre from Canberra winning the women’s division. The four hour competition saw last week’s winner of the Women’s Herald Sun Tour, Brodie Chapman win the solo women’s division for major sponsor Shimano Cycling Australia with Sydney’s Jon Odams claiming back the title he took out at Glenrock back in 2015.
The Women’s Herald Sun Tour winner of 2018 Brodie Chapman got straight back to dirt to race at Shimano Mountain Bike Grand Prix at Glenrock on the weekend. After an amazing race and winning ahead of ahead of World Champions, World Tour riders and most of Australia’s best on the road in Victoria last week it was like she put it, “well overdue to ride some trails on a freshly built new bike.” She added that she had heard lots about these trails, which she said were a great mix of technical uphills, flowy trails, few little ‘doubles’ and that she really enjoyed the 8-lap racing experience finishing in 4h00:15. “My tactic was not to stop too much, because then you get cramps”, she said and that she hoped to find some time to participate in some more events in the series later in the year.
Of 4 hour solo General Classification (GC) winner Jon Odams his fellow competitor and runner up Ben Fillingham said, “It was like he wasn’t in the race, he was gone!” The Sydney-based racer put in a gap of at least half a minute right at the start, which had the field start into the single-trail network at Glenrock from a long fire trail climb to spread out the field. Odams kept increasing the lead on the first lap taking advantage of the initially wet conditions.”I just used how wet it was to begin with to my advantage as much as I could. I knew that it was going to be slick and that suited me down to the ground so I just let it run just a little bit more that everyone else did and chilled out a bit towards the end”, he recounted his racing strategy, which paid off after a race time of 4h28:04 and 10 laps completed.
More than two thirds of the strong field of racers from all over NSW and the ACT as well as Queensland competed in the popular 4-hour divisions, with over 100 male and female competitors racing in the solo divisons.
Jason English defends title on home track
In the seven hour competition Newcastle’s Jason English once again dominated on his home trails with a third win in as many years that the event has been held at Glenrock. With 15 completed laps in 7:01:44 he placed fourth outright in the entire seven-hour field with the Jetblack Pairs of Matt Vassilieff and Craig Gordon taking the line honours with just one more lap in 7h11:33.
“I felt like I finally had the last few corners dialled after the seven hours”, English said with a cheeky grin at the finish. The track conditions had kept things interesting with a variety of wet and dry tracks due to changing weather conditions throughout the day, he explained and added that after the crowd of four-hour competitors had completed their race, it “got quite lonely” out on track. “It was great to have such a big amount of riders here today, it felt like you were really racing”, he said.
Canberra racer Gwynn Le Maitre said she enjoyed the “first little bit” of trails and that the weather conditions didn’t phase her at all. She said she “didn’t look” at the view out onto the ocean and concentrating on her race pace and clocking in 11 laps in 7h02:20.
Rocky Trail’s race director Martin Wisata said that it had been a great start to the 10th racing season, “We couldn’t have hoped for a better crowd to start into the 2018 season and Glenrock is such a rewarding track to be racing at. We’re looking forward to the next event that’s part of the Shimano MTB GP Series, which will be on our home trails on the Central Coast in June – I’m thinking: racing on Saturday and beaches on the Sunday!”
For more information about the next Shimano MTB GP event at Ourimbah MTB Park near Wyong on 23 June and detailed results from Glenrock, visit www.rockytrailentertainment.com
Riders can download all race images FOR FREE thanks to SHIMANO Cycling Australia!