The ninth edition of the JetBlack 24 Hour race took place at Awaba MTB Park on the weekend, a change from the previous events closer to Sydney. Sam Moffitt took out the 24 Hour Solo Men’s title and Jemma Burtonwood from Nambucca Heads claimed the women’s win. Despite a grim weather forecast and challenging conditions with heat on Saturday and a downpour that night, the event was completed on a cool Sunday successfully and organisers already confirmed that they would be back in 2018.
Organisers from Rocky Trail kept a close look on the weather radars and were in touch with local and state emergency services ahead of the JetBlack 24 Hour on the weekend. For the first time this iconic event on the Australian endurance racing calendar was to be held at the Olney State Forest and its Awaba MTB Park and with riders arriving from all over NSW, the ACT as well as QLD on Friday afternoon, the weather stayed kind, sparing them from the rough storms that swept across the Central Coast and nearby Newcastle.
Confident, the racers started out on Saturday at midday and rode all day, through the night and all Sunday morning until 12pm. The 9km race course among the trail network of the local Hunter Mountain Bike Alliance took them through dense bush and into cool fern and rainforest vegetation. Steep climbs and rocky descents with countless berms thrown into it took its toll on bodies, minds and bikes. The event offered solo and team categories in the 24-hour discipline as well as optional 6+6-hour categories in which the riders got a break over night.
30 laps for the JetBlack 24 win
First-time dad-to-be Sam Moffitt won the 24-hour solo men’s division outright and said that even with the short downpour on the Saturday evening, the track recovered quickly and was in ideal condition for the rest of the race. It had it’s tough sections with a steep climb that kept him honest as fatigue set in he admitted, “Camelbak… yep that was the section that was challenging at every lap. After the descents that followed I was just making sure not to crash until the end.”
Sam Moffitt took out the 24 Hour Solo Men’s title ahead of fellow Canberran Robin Mules and two riders from Queensland – Peter Bigaila came in third ahead of Jonathan Battle. Garry Dukes from Lithgow was fifth.
Two race favourites were noticeably absent from the event in both men’s and women’s solo divisions: multiple JetBlack 24 Hour and 24 Hour Solo World Champion, Jason English fell ill with food poisioning and Central Coast’s Charlie McCabe suffered a broken elbow in the event lead-up.
Women’s JetBlack 24 title goes to Jemma Burtonwood
In the women’s, triathlete and strong endurance rider Jemma Burtonwood from Nambucca Heads won ahead of Jen North from Gosford and Dalene Pretorius from country NSW near Dubbo. Burtonwood completed 19 laps – starting off with 1h-lap times she settled on 1h20 to 1h30 over night, keeping up the steady pace for the win. Jen North was in her first 24-hour race and took a few more breaks, but enjoyed the track she said, “I recently moved into the Central Coast region for work from Queensland, so every track down here is new for me – this one I know inside out now already, but it’s a real fun course.”
The line honours went to the 24 Hour Male Team of Four “Graphite Projects” – the Sydney-based team claimed the title by 2 laps with it’s official last rider squeezing out onto the track one more time with 10 seconds of race time to spare.
In the 6+6 Hour divisions, Elvio Fernandes from Shellharbour won the men’s solo division and Natalie Anderson from Barden Ridge was the winning solo woman.
JetBlack 24 decennial coming up in 2018
Race Director Martin Wisata said it had been a rollercoaster of a weekend but that he’d bring the event back in 2018, “It was a tough last couple of days for me and my crew; I constantly checked the weather radar and liaised with the local club and emergency services to ensure the safety of our riders. This sort of responsibility weighs heavy on your shoulders, but it’s the absolute priority for us. The weather was definitely kind to us and the feedback from our riders was so positive that we’ll be back next year for sure.” The exact date for the JetBlack 24 Hour Decennial has yet to be set, but is most likely to be scheduled for early 2018 again under the patronage of JetBlack Products Australia and with the support of the local Hunter MTB Alliance and NSW State Forests.
For more event information and detailed results, visit the Rocky Trail website.
Top Results Solo Overall
24 Hours Female
1. Jemma Burtonwood, Nambucca Heads NSW (24 Solo Female 30-39, 19 laps in 23:45:07)
2. Jen North, North Gosford NSW // Twice the Jenergy (24 Solo Female 30-39, 14 laps in 22:41:58)
3. Dalene Pretorius, Tooraweenah NSW (24 Solo Female 50-59, 8 laps in 23:30:39)
24 Hours Male
1. Sam Moffitt, Wright ACT // Onya Gumby (24 Solo Male 30-39, 30 laps in 24:00:42)
2. Robin Mules, Chapman ACT // Lincoln GIS Racing (24 Solo Male 40-49, 29 laps in 24:09:50)
3. Peter Bigaila, Maroochydore QLD (24 Solo Male 50-59, 28 laps in 24:09:49)
4. Jonathan Battle, Warner QLD (24 Solo Male 30-39 on Singlespeed, 27 laps in 23:40:47)
5. Garry Dukes // Dukes of Hazard, Marrangaroo NSW (24 Solo Male 40-49, 27 laps in 24:40:06)
1. Natalie Anderson, Barden Ridge NSW (6+6 Solo Female Elite, 14 laps in 24:23:31)
2. Claudia Fiess, Dee Why NSW (6+6 Solo Female 40-49, 11 laps in 24:36:59)
3. Natalie Carlyle // Hammer Nutrition (6+6 Solo Female Elite, 6 laps in 22:18:17)
1. Elvio Fernandes, Shellharbour NSW // Bike hub (6+6 Solo Male 40-49, 16 laps in 24:19:39)
2. Sean Mahony, Boat Harbour NSW // Bayside Family Chiropractic (6+6 Solo Male Elite, 16 laps in 24:25:45)
3. Elton Judd, Cherrybrook NSW // JetBlack Racing Rocketman (6+6 Solo Male 40-49, 15 laps in 24:05:27)
4. Jamie Vogele, Port Macquarie NSW // Team FIZO-MacDesign (6+6 Solo Male 40-49, 15 laps in 24:09:17)
5. Dane Anderson, Barden Ridge NSW (6+6 Solo Male Elite, 15 laps in 24:25:29)19 laps in 23:45:07)
Thanks to Outerimage for all the images.