With the Australian XCM Championships arriving in Derby, Tasmania for the second year running, it was another time when racing would run over both days of the weekend. As such, Masters racing and other non-elite categories races today on the Saturday.
Given the dry summer season the trails in Derby were dusty and in prime condition all week. In fact, I think the course is one of the best that has been set for an Australian XCM Champs in recent years.
But on Friday night, some rain set in. The top of the course, and especially the Atlas Trail, is way up in the hills and can certainly get some flow of water. And it did. And it was wet.
Misty rain surrounded Derby around 10am as the races were scheduled to start. With U15, U17, Junior, Expert and all Masters categories, there were lots of waves of riders taking off up the climb out of Derby.
The bunches didn’t go ballistic off the line – but given the weather blowing in that’s not surprising that people didn’t seem so enthusiastic.
Stories came in from the course of slippery, deep mud in the top section, fast climbing on the fire trail, and an even messier second lap. There were even big crashes and broken bikes. And while the first lap was muddy, the second lap was more slippery – with some more carnage for some.
There were mechanicals, DNFs and plenty of race upsets.
Some of the hardest racing was in Masters 1/2 and Masters 3/4 – as you would expect. In 3/4 Minter Barnard made a move into the lead to take out the title, and Corey Davies dropped Michael Kafka on the climb on the 2nd lap for the 1/2 Masters win.
Now we’ll wait to see how the course recovers for the Elite races tomorrow.