With the 4th edition of The Pioneer starting this weekend in Queenstown, New Zealand, one of the most recent team pairings could also be one of the most competitive! While originally the MarathonMTB.com Team would comprise founding rider Mike Blewitt and Sebastian Jayne, young Tasmanian Sam Fox will now be joining Sebastian for the 6-day mountain bike race in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. The pair will also be a composite media team, reporting for both this site and AMBmag.com.au.
This dynamic duo not only share international XCO racing goals, but will both be reporting on the event as a composite media team. Sebastian is the digital editor for Australian Mountain Bike magazine and will be reporting daily from inside the race, and Sam Fox will be providing a guest race diary for the international MarathonMTB.com audience. But – these two are also lining up to go fast.
“I just came off the Tour Of Southland and some racing in Germany, so the legs are feeling really good,” said Fox. “The Pioneer will be my first long mountain bike stage race, and I’m super keen to see how the legs withstand trying to keep up with Seb!”
“I’m really excited to be hitting the start line of the 2019 Pioneer,” added Jayne. “I’ve had my eye on this race since it begun and have always wanted to experience the New Zealand mountains in a race. I’ve only raced cross-country races in New Zealand and usually flown in, raced for 1:30hr and flown back home, so it’s exciting to be heading out on a week adventure into the mountains.”
As cross-country racers, the two usually have a singular focus: getting around a demanding short course as fast as they can, working just for their own interests. And that changes quite a bit for a race like The Pioneer, where racing is in teams of two and the race times are many hours per day.
“I really enjoy competing, and having a teammate there to share in the pain is something I think I’ll really enjoy,” said Fox when asked about racing in pairs. “ I also love being amongst nature, and I’m excited about the wild adventure racing style of the race, combined with camping. Racing with Seb will be really fun, he has a lot more experience, so it will be great to learn from him. I think our tactics will definitely develop as the week progresses, while we learn each others strengths and weaknesses.”
Sebastian Jayne has raced in the UCI Marathon (XCM) Series this year as well as the UCI XCO World Cup, and represented Australia at both the XCO and XCM World Championships in 2018 and 2019. But he’s no stranger to stage races either.
“I’ve raced a few stage races around the world along with marathon races but from looking at pictures I’ve seen of The Pioneer it seems I’m in for a very unique experience. Like Sam, I have never done a pairs stage race so that will be a great added experience and possibly an added challenge!”
“We have high hopes for the race but the experience of racing one of the biggest pairs mountain bike stage races in the world in one of the most picturesque locations will surely make up for any of the tough times ahead,” added Jayne. “A thanks must go out to MarathonMTB and Australian Mountain Bike Magazine who without their help this race start wouldn’t be possible.