Could a cyclocross event organiser ask for better conditions? Absolutely not. The weather in Sydney the week before Round Two of the Manly Warringah Cycling Club Subaru Active Cyclocross series was a mix of rain, wind, little sun and on the night and morning before race day a deluge of rain. By the time club volunteers arrived at JJ Melbourne Memorial Reserve in Terrey Hills to set up the rain had stopped and the sun had started to appear.
Course designer Rob Parbery set a course very different to round one which had a bit of everything. Still not using the BMX track due to the soggy clay surface, the course did include horse jump style barriers, logs, 180 degree turns, mud, off camber turns, tree roots, bumpy track, grass, sweeping corners, long straights, bitumen and let me say again, mud… When setting the course it was water logged from the previous night’s rain and soon after practice started sections of the course were giant mud pits.
It wasn’t long until people started to arrive and for this round the club welcomed the Nomadic Cafe coffee cart to pump out coffee and other treats, to the delight of the queue of people eager to sign up and race. Again there were much larger attendance than previous years pinning on a number, with approximately 140 adults and children racing.
The kids were first to race, with two separate grades – U7’s and then the U12’s. Once again some of the bigger kids were equipped with bikes better than mine as well as being fast enough to race with the adults. The kids had bucket loads of fun riding in the mud and every child received a sweet hat for their efforts.
The next race of the day was the combined start of the Open (mountain bike) category as well as B Grade Men’s CX and Women’s CX/Open. A huge field of 60 riders took the start line and a smart decision by the commissaire to send the Open men’s Category off separately worked well to get the race started.
Once everybody was off and racing it was great to see plenty of people on course no matter which direction you looked. In the Open category Chris Bowie went out fast in an exact repeat of round one. But this time, within the first lap, Jindra Knot caught and passed Bowie and continued on to solidify his lead over the duration of the race. Mike Sumner looked strong for most of the race and was set to take third place, but was rounded up by club mate Mark Hardy in the final moments of the race and take the final place on the podium
In the women’s category Oenone Wood had made the trip down the coast from Newcastle, while Claire Aubrey had travelled from Canberra. It was set to be an interesting competition between the former Olympian (Wood) and Aubrey who is currently very competitive on the NCXS scene. Claire made her usual fast start, and with some impressive riding was able to extend her lead over Oenone Wood during the race and finish comfortably in first (results do not show this as Claire requires a lesson in pinning her numbers on!). Third place was taken by Genevieve McKew on a dual suspension MTB with skinny tyres, with a solid fourth from Australian Cyclocross Magazine’s very own Christine Carter in her first race of the season.
Men’s B grade CX had 37 starters including quite a number of riders using B grade as a warm up for the next race. You will these riders receiving ‘special’ mentions in the results with their own ‘special needs’ category! For the rest of the B graders there was a good battle for the lower grades with everybody seen to be digging deep just to catch whoever was in front of them. It was Paul Aubrey of BrewCX who eventually created a gap over the rest of the field to take a solid win. Anthony Lloyd-Jones of Cyclocross Newcastle earned second place and Dave Evans in his first ever CX race placed third.
After a brief warm up period, the A grade CX competitors took the start line ready to battle for the next 45 minutes. It was a very strong field for a club race featuring Round One winner Garry Millburn, Nick Both and Chris Aitken of Focus Bikes CX team, Sid Taberlay, Michael Potter and also regular locals Scott Wines and Carl Fokkema.
In NSW we have a name for Garry Millburn… it is #mrholeshot and he didn’t disappoint again gaining an instant advantage from the start line. After the jostling of 40 hyped up CX’ers of the first lap (my favourite part of the race) it was a repeat of the previous week in Newcastle with Chris Aitken and Garry Millburn emerging at the front together gaining distance on the rest of the field. Aitken and Millburn seem very evenly matched, with both riders spending time leading the other over the course of the race. With neither rider having a mechanical or cracking under the pressure of the blistering pace, it was Garry Millburn who would put in a strong attack towards the end of the second last lap and create a gap he would maintain until the finish with Chris again having to settle for second place. The final place on the podium was a heated battle between Scott Wines, Sid Taberlay, Nick Both and Michael Potter. Scott and Sid exchanged places many times over the race, while Nick did his usual creep through the field as the race progressed. It was Taberlay who would eventually cross the line in third with Scott Wines in fourth and Nick Both fifth.
Thanks again must go to the Manly Warringah Cycle Club volunteers who selflessly turn up each round to set up the course, then jump on rego, before helping with timing, squeezing in a race and then packing up into the darkness. Don’t get me wrong everyone does it out of love for the sport and wouldn’t miss it for quids!
Round three will be at the same location on 19 July and will be the last Sydney club round before NSW host the National Series in August
Results – If the page appears blank, tick the box in the left hand corner.
B Grade/Opens /Womens
The wonderful photography used in this report was again from Josh at www.ridingfocus.com/blog be sure to check out more of his work on the linked photo blog.
This report has been provided by Australia’s Newest and Only Cyclocross dedicated magazine. To keep you up to date will all of the latest news from around Australia and the globe when it comes to CX – there is only one bible to turn to – Australian Cyclocross Magazine. Check out their website and get yourself a subscription today.