For the first time in it’s 10-year history, the JetBlack 24 Hour with its JetBlack 6+6 Hour offspring took place at Rydal Showgrounds near Lithgow on 3+4 March 2018. In the men’s 24 hour solo competition, it was the race favourite and multiple 24-hour Solo World Champion Jason English from Newcastle who claimed his seventh race title ahead of last year’s winner and runner up, Sam Moffitt from Canberra. Wayne Thompson from Morningside (QLD) came in third overall. In the women’s solo 24-hour race, Gwynne LeMaitre from Canberra won ahead of Blue Mountain’s Catherine Wood and Mel Bates (Nelson Bay, NSW). In the 6+6 Hour competition, Mike Israel from Sydney and Dalene Pretorius from Country NSW were the solo winners.
Almost 300 race participants from all over NSW and the ACT as well as VIC and QLD raced solo and in teams of up to 6 in the JetBlack 24 Hour competition and up to 4 in the 6+6 Hour event, clocking in more than 2,700 laps and recording almost 23,000 racing kilometres over the weekend in the Lidsdale State Forest.
This event was the 10th anniversary of this event, which was first held by Rocky Trail Entertainment in 2009 and has been sponsored by JetBlack Products Australia from day one. With Lithgow City Council’s Mayor Stephen Lesslie attending the prize ceremony, it was Councillor Cass Coleman who addressed the race participants and supporters at the start line, representing the hosting council who had supported the event. Representatives from Lithgow Tourism and Rydal Showgrounds saw the racers hit the trails at Rydal at 12pm sharp with 24 hours of an endurance test on the home trails of the Central Tablelands MTB Club ahead of them.
Jason English re-claims the race title from Sam Moffitt
“This was a very fun 24-hour track”, said race winner Jason English who said that the flowy characteristics of the trail network at Rydal had been interesting and allowed him to race with the team competitors until the early morning hours and ranking second overall among solos and teams until 1am. “Normally the team guys are smashing it up the climbs, but here there was only the one towards the finish and that suited us solo riders well, even though you had to stay concentrated the whole time to get all the corners right”, he recounted the race that he finished with 40 laps in 22:04:46. He further admitted that the event had been a challenging one for him. Only recently the multiple 24-hour Solo World Champion had been diagnosed with Coeliac’s Disease and he said it had been the first race on a new dietary plan for him, which had worked well. “It certainly has been a revelation for me and explains some of the struggles in last year’s 24-hour events. I’m now really looking forward to this year’s World Champs in Scotland and have an intense training program ahead of me”, he said.
Gwynn LeMaitre credited her crew who supported her well and after completing 30 laps in 20:53:34 she said, “Whenever I stopped in between laps they basically just threw food at me.” She added that the first part of the trail had been her favourite and that the spectators who cheered on the riders on the final berm before the finish until late into the night had been so motivating. “It felt so good to be cheered on, it was like a World Cup corner out there with 40 or 50 people screaming for you”, she said.
Popular team categories
In total, 26 riders competed in the 24 Hour solo event and almost half of the field was racing in teams of up to six. The overall line honours were claimed by the up and coming MTOSS Racing Team, with team manager Andrew Fell coaching his young team mates Owen Gordon and Malachi Covington in their first 24-hour event clocking in 49 laps in 24:10:42.
In the 6+6 Hour competition the JetBlack Racing Team of former 24-hour Solo World Champion Craig Gordon and local racer Andrew Poppett took out the overall win with 27 laps in 24:09:40. The Solo Men’s win went to Mike Israel from Sydney who said, “Very happy take line honours in the solo 6+6 today. This win means a lot to me […] I have to say it’s a bit strange when a nearly 50 year old wins a race like this. There were only 11 solo males in the 6+6. I hope to see a day when the all the XC racers come back to great events like this.”
JetBlack 24 Hour to return for second decade in 2019
“My crew and I are very happy with how the weekend went”, said Race Director Martin Wisata from Rocky Trail Entertainment and he added that his business was committed to 24-hour racing. “It’s a huge challenge from an organiser’s point of view, but we love it and it’s always such an amazing source of positive energy that we get from all the riders! We have a very experienced crew together and our team with our supporters and our sponsoring partners with JetBlack Products at the helm have been fantastic”, he said and added that plans for the 11th edition of the event were being discussed already. “There are always things that we want to improve and make better and we hope to play a part of keeping this kind of racing format popular – and fun for our racers.”
For more event information and results, visit www.rockytrailentertainment.com
Photos are provided by Outer Image – thanks!