Jason English and Tory Thomas have won the Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) 2014 Australian Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championships at the Mt Annan Botanical Gardens in New South Wales this weekend. Riders faced exceptionally challenging conditions on a technical 9.8 kilometre trail, exacerbated by temperatures that climbed above 30 degrees for long periods on both days.
English followed his tried-and-true race pattern of staying with the leaders for the first period of the race and then maintaining a pace that his competitors simply could not match.
“It went to plan, I was very happy to work hard early on and I was able to pull the pin and finish early at 10am”.
English is without question the world’s best 24 Hour mountain bike rider. He holds 5 consecutive World titles and this weekend has added to his already impressive National title collection to make it seven in a row.
“It’s fantastic, it was a very tough day out and looking at how it unfolded it could have been anyone’s race. I’m very happy to win number seven!” exclaimed an ecstatic English.
Sam Moffitt and David Speering rounded out the overall Men’s podium in second and third respectively.
In the women’s event, Tory Thomas, the 2003 & 2004 Australian Solo 24 Hour Champion has returned straight onto the top step of the podium. She had a battle on her way to the title, with 2013 Australian Champion Liz Smith (NSW) on the same lap for almost the entire race.
“This morning I felt this is it – the next lap she (Smith) will catch me. I turned myself inside out and I actually felt better after that – my back, shoulders and my knees were hurting and going hard gave me something else to think about”.
Thomas spoke of her happiness to win again and her history in the sport.
“It’s great! I guess my 24hr career ended against my choice in 2005, I was hit by a car and so I took up cross-country racing but I just wanted one more crack”.
Smith would ultimately finish second after closing the gap to Thomas down to less than 20 minutes as the sun rose on the second day but was not able to bridge the gap.
Meredith Quinlan (NSW) rode strongly to place third overall for the women. In addition to the two overall titles, riders across 17 age group categories were awarded Australian Champion titles.