Racing in Australia’s winter can be a little quiet. But that’s not to say there’s nothing to do. With an extensive line up of cyclocross races, plenty of road racing, lap based XC racing and a few fun events – there’s more than enough to stay fit, and busy.
Last weekend, Wingello State Forest in the Southern Highlands of NSW once again transformed and became the stage for The 3 Ring Circus mountain bike event. A weekend for riders to showcase their skills with two spectacular shows – race one or race both, it doesn’t really matter.
The Night Performance (Saturday 25th)
The forest twinkled with the lights of riders ready to shine in a 20km night ride through a mix of fast fire trails and flowing singletrack.
Ed McDonald was the first to cross the line in a time of 57:39, followed by Blake Shergold in second (59:01) and Adam Cooper in third (59:57).
In the women’s race the lead switched through the rings between Liz Smith who took the win in a time of 1:09:53, and local rider Karen Evans who finished second (1:11:32). Sarah Anne rounded out the podium with third (1:27:01).
The Matinee Performance (Sunday 26th)
Whilst the Southern Highlands skies were blue and the temperatures akin to a Sydney winter’s day, strong winds meant riders were in for a few ‘head‐down’ tough stretches between the sheltered trails of the forest. The main stage saw riders, a mix of solo performers and relay troupes of two and three, wind their way through the ‘3 Rings’ of Wingello State Forest – Blue (approximately 6km), Red (approximately 25km) and Yellow (approximately 19km).
The Ringmaster ‐ Huw Kingston: ‘The 3 Ring Circus format offers something for all riders. Serious racing across a night and day course, as well as the opportunity for riders to create a relay troupe to cover the distance which appeals to many first-‐time racers, or those who wish to race more socially with family or friends.’
The 2015 3 Ring Circus was won by Torq Merida team rider Tristan Ward in a time of 2:04:19. He was followed by Trek Factory Racing’s Ben Henderson (2:05:43), with Tristan’s Torq Merida team mate Ben Metcalfe, who is just 15, claiming third (2:10:01).
Tristan Ward: “I’m not sure I had a favourite part, I loved it all. It was Ben (Henderson) and I out the front for most of the race. When I got to the last few hills, I just dropped some watt bombs and when he didn’t come with me, I knew I had it.”
Briony Mattocks took first place in the women’s race with a time of 2:35:19, followed by Rachel Blakers in second (2:38:51) and Liz Smith, backing up from the night race, in third (2:46:00).
Briony Mattocks: “It was mad! I really loved the new ‘love, love, love’ trail. I didn’t love the wind so much, but I just put my head down and rode.”
Full results are available online.