The final round of the Shimano Mountain Bike Grand Prix Series was held on the weekend at Awaba MTB Park near Newcastle and riders were awarded their series titles. Andrew Lloyd from Newcastle took out the overall four-hour solo men’s title and Natalie Anderson from Sydney’s South won the women’s series division. In the seven-hour series Jason Hewitt from Singleton and Dalene Pretorius were the overall winners after five races that took more than 1000 Rocky Trail racers to some of the most popular mountain bike trails in NSW and the ACT.
As one of the past decade’s longest-standing NSW/ACT cross-country series, the Shimano Mountain Bike Grand Prix Series wrapped up it’s 2016 season at Awaba MTB Park near Newcastle on the weekend. Race Director Martin Wisata from event promoter Rocky Trail Entertainment said that it had been another successful series under the patronage of Shimano Cycling Australia. “Together with our major sponsor, our goal has been to run this series for all kinds of mountain bikers and looking at the start lines we get a very wide range of male and female riders – from elite racers to weekend warriors to up and coming juniors,” he said.
Wisata added that the series had been geared towards the everyday rider and that a big focus had been on offering a fun and challenging variety of venues. “We wanted to put less emphasis on the winning aspect of the races, but rather create memorable experiences for all event participants”, Wisata explained. With the prize pool from major sponsor Shimano and series supporters being distributed ahead of the races through lucky draws and stunning race photos by a professional crew of sports photographers included in the entry, the event participants were sure not to go home empty handed.
“We like working closely together with land managers, property owners and support local clubs”, continued Wisata. For the first time, the series had kicked off at Glenrock State Conservation Area in Newcastle, which rewarded the racers with magnificent ocean views for their riding efforts and Singleton had been another new addition for Round 2. Next, the series travelled to the Capital’s Stromlo Forest Park before taking the riders to a real old-school track near Wyong for Round four, which was supported by the local Central Coast Council and offered free performance testing by the Newcastle University’s Ourimbah Campus to the athletes.
At Awaba MTB Park, Newcastle’s Andrew Lloyd won the four-hour series ahead of former motorbike World Enduro Champion Stefan Merriman and Michael Clark from Sydney. The 33-year old Natalie Anderson from Barden Ridge won the women’s series ahead of Sydney’s Sara Mills (19-23 age group) and 40+ master racer Claudia Fiess.
“It’s just exciting to release a pack of racers that includes so many different types of riders”, said Martin Wisata. “At Awaba we had elite racer and National Champion Cameron Ivory with Trenton Day at the start line and their smiles across the finish were just as wide as everyone else’s”, he said and added that many amateur racing teams chose this series for its versatile trails and the fun yet professional racing atmosphere.
With a win on his home track, Jason Hewitt from Singleton laid the corner stone for his win in the seven-hour general men’s classification for the JetBlack Racing Team. Fellow JetBlack racer Dalene Pretorius took out the women’s division. Hewitt won ahead of Quantum Racing’s Alex Kooijman from Sydney. Brad Leach from Port Macquarie came in third.
JetBlack Bikeshop Trophy rewards local bike shops
The JetBlack Racing Team also claimed the official JetBlack Bikeshop Trophy for their nominated store, the Lifestyle & Leisure shop near Windsor. Riders could nominate a bike shop for their series points to create some publicity and the runner up was The Odd Spokes shop in Dural with the Quantum Racing Team around Andrew Lloyd and in third was the Onya Bike Canberra group of stores, thanks to the Pedal 4 Pierce Charity riders and fellow Canberran racers in the series.
Wisata confirmed that the Shimano MTB GP Series would return in 2017. For full race results, visit www.rockytrailentertainment.com
All photos by Outerimage