The opening round of the Finish Line Singletrack Mind Series has been widely heralded as a fantastic success. The planets aligned with perfect weather, a sublime course and a high quality field including the current Solo 24 Hour MTB World Champion Jason English.
Round 1 would also unveil plenty of new initiatives for the 2014 season with Finish Line now the headline sponsor of the series, 4 Hour solo racing categories added, and the launch of the Chocolate Foot Women’s development team.
Since the last Finish Line Singletrack Mind Series event at Taree in 2013, the word has spread about the brilliantly built and magnificently maintained trails of the Manning-Great Lakes Tip Riders Club. Competitors arrived back to the transition zone with massive smiles after each and every lap, many saying that this was the finest track they’d ever raced on.
The buffed and flowing course would also make the perfect backdrop for an epic battle in the Solo Open Men category between Solo 24 Hour World Champion Jason English, 2012 series Champion Ed McDonald and 2013 series champion Andrew Lloyd. With an impressive leadout off the start from team mate Jack Lavis, McDonald was 2nd into the singletrack with Lloyd and English needing to bridge across to the Trek Racing duo. By the 2nd lap Lloyd and McDonald were riding together but nervously checking over their shoulders for the almost inevitable sight of English, who would then join them on lap 3. Up until lap 12, McDonald would try to shake English but without sucess, while Lloyd backed off the pace hoping the others would crack. When English’s customary late race surge came on there was little McDonald could do to match him. Jack Lavis went on to win the 4hr Solo Men category while Melissa Nuttall took the 4hr Solo Women’s title.
In the Women’s Solo category, dual round winner in 2013, Eliza Kwan continued her winning ways as she led from start to finish over 2013 series champion Liz Smith. While Sydney’s Wendy Stevenson could have been racing Super Masters category, she’s decided to challenge herself for the 2014 season, racing in Open and she rounded out the podium against a quality field.
The fastest lap times of the day were recorded by riders of the winning teams in the 3’s categories. John Odams and his POC/Bikeculture crew won the Male 3’s while Odams grabbed bragging rights with a lap of 24.51 and Australian Under 23 XCO Champion Holly Harris recorded a string of great laps including a 27.29 to drive her team to victory in the Mixed Threes.
Chocolate Foot’s new women’s development team didn’t disappoint on debut with every member achieving a top of the podium result with wins in the Female Threes, Female Pairs and the 4 Hour solo category. The women selected for the team have come from a wide variety of sporting backgrounds and for some it was their first ever MTB race making their results and lap times all the more remarkable.
Full results are available online: Results
The Finish Line Singletrack Mind Series moves to an entirely different style of course at Mogo on the NSW South Coast for the 15th of June. Some liken the course to that of a Gravity Enduro, with relatively mild climbs followed by two fast and epic descents per lap including the legendary Snake Track! This will be a must do event for any mountain biker!
Chocolate Foot would like to thank their incredibly generous sponsors, Finish Line, Serfas, Deuter, Bellwether, SRAM, Rock Shox, Avid, Truvativ, Hammer Nutrition, Rockpool Graphics, James Estate, Cycology, Ventou, Aussie Butt Cream, Cycle Studio, Kobie International, Mountain Biking Australia magazine, Ritchey and Grimm-Hewitt art.