Shimano MTB GP series finishes with a bang at Wingello
The 2018 Shimano MTB Grand Prix Series was wrapped up at Wingello State Forest at the end of October and the Rocky Trail racers concluded the most successful endurance racing series in Australia with a bang!
More than 300 racers swarmed onto the popular Southern Highlands Trail network with many regular riders as well as new faces at the start line!
Luke Brame won his first 4-hour race and the men’s solo GC, and Samara Sheppard smashed it in the women’s 4-hour, placing 14th outright and 10th in the 4-hour solo racing field!
The history of the Shimano MTB GP
Rocky Trail Entertainment established the series in 2009 and since then almost 11,500 racers have crossed the 4 and 7 hour race finish lines. 2018 had more than 1,400 racers (35% more than in 2017) attend five rounds at some of the most popular Rocky Trail venues – Glenrock (NPWS), Ourimbah State Forest and Stromlo Forest Park – as well as two brand-new ones with Nowra and Wingello State Forests.
Each race is a stand-alone event and riders can collect points to go into a series classification. The race atmosphere is light and positive yet professional with race times streaming live via our timing portal and a well-established operations crew and team of suppliers.
Organisers Juliane and Martin Wisata are proud of the events’ reputation that they are 'challenging yet doable, serious yet fun, professional yet friendly' – all driven by commitment to run a business that promotes fair races that are exceptionally well run. The events attract a wide range of mountain bikers – starting from as young as eight or ten years old, our competitors’ age climb into the mid 60’s in both male and female divisions.
A good two-thirds of the rider field competes in the 4-hour event with more than 300 solo men and women racing in those divisions throughout the year.
There have been some incredible performances and Mitch Lozinski from the NSW Central Coast took out the Male Solo 4-hour General Classification this year. A real talent, he slipped into a sponsored jersey and joining the Mobius Attaquer team half-way through the year – what a fantastic effort! His new team mates Ben Fillingham and Matt La-Borg join him on the GC podium in 2nd and 3rd.
In the female division it was Catherine Ballantyne from Sydney who took out the title ahead of Jetblack Racing team rider Natalie Anderson and Amelia Cafe from Wollongong.
The 4-hour competition also offers 'team of two' categories and “The Odd Spoke Juniors” took out the series GC win with Cooper Hartmann and Candance Brown riding for the Jetblack Racing team.
In the men’s in was the “Palermo Plodders Team” with Chris Taylor and Matthew Tonkin who raced the entire series and collected 1590 points to score series coffee mugs and beans.
Veronica Russell and Louise Brierty won in the women’s for “Pro Cycling Coach” ahead of the “Robish Girls” with Western Sydney’s Patricia Hussain and Robyn Walker – both teams traveled with us throughout the entire series too!
Matt Howell and Karen Reily took out the Mixed Teams classification – 39 couples competed in the series with Nowra and Wingello being most notably popular for these categories. Some food for thought for us organisers! #couplesgetaway
Once the hustle and bustle of the 4-hour presentations concludes usually a sense of calm descends on the Rocky Trail event centre. The crew flocks to Mona and Anthony’s “Daily Espresso” van for another coffee and a sweet treat and we watch as our ultra-endurance riders keep punching out their laps until 4pm.
One of the strongest men took out the series this year – the great Garry James from Canberra competed for ScottOnyaRacing and won ahead of Simon De Pomeroy and Marty Tink. Almost 60 solo men competed throughout the season, many of which use this format as cross-country base training during the year including the likes of Jason English who attends when his busy schedule allows it and Andrew Radcliffe who competed in the lead-up to his fifth Crocodile Trophy stage race or Andrew Fell in the lead-up to The Pioneer in NZ.
The 7-hour solo women are incredible – 24-hour solo World Champion Gwynn Le Maitre from Canberra taking the series win with four straight wins ahead of the inspiring Catherine Wood and Claudia Fiess. Dalene Pretorius rode the entire season for Jetblack Racing and it was noticeable who much these women enjoyed racing each other out on track!
An honorable mention also goes out to the single E-Bike rider throughout the series, Steve Troughton – he says he just wants to be part of the fun and racing action and that the e-powered bike gives him the opportunity to do so.
“I’m not too fussed about lap times or winning or things like that, I just want to be part of the event and the mountain bike community, with my e-Bike I have finally been able to join in the fun again!”
Brent Jenkins and Keegan Wolfenden took out the Men’s Team of 2 title for Cyclery Northside and Nick Smee and Kathryn Hopkins the Mixed classification. In the Teams of 3 Steven Luke, Tom Stringer and Troy Laughlin were the outright winners for Seight Threes with Jetblack Racing.
The Shimano MTB Gp series will continue in 2019, this time with a Shimano MTB Grand Prix Championship event in October 2019!
First up is the JetBlack Wild Wombat on Saturday 1 December in Mogo. This event puts a new spin on the 12-hour enduro, introducing the Wild Wombat Solo Challenge in addtion to the traditional timed lap event.
For more information on all events, visit http://rockytrailentertainment.com/
All images by www.OuterImage.com.au