Once again, mother nature gave us a little reminder of why we love the tropics with a snappy shower 30 minutes before race start at Cardwell, as riders prepared for the rescheduled round 2 of the Prime Constructions FNQ XC Series.
Supporting family members watched on with amusement, as did the race organisers, as riders removed bikes from vehicles and dressed in the rain, all while standing in little puddles of water or mud. Aaaahh this is mountain biking, this is gonna be fun.
55 riders braved the conditions and made the journey to beautiful Cardwell by the sea, Townsville riders also attended and it seemed the Rubach/Hoyle rivalry was brewing again, would Paul brown be able to repeat his good form from Davies creek to strengthen his series lead in the Masters Male category. Would Joel Groberg and Nathan Clohesy dominate the Grand Masters Male and Sport Male categories as they have all series?
All these questions and more would be answered in less than two hours.
The smell of the sea wafted across the start line as the riders nervously awaited their time to go. Leaving in waves every two minutes, riders were on track by 2:06pm and by the end of the first lap it was obvious the late rain had laid down a challenge to the riders, similar to negotiating the Cairns Esplanade mud flats at low tide. Chain suck and muddy cleats being the order of the day.
Dom Hoyle (Giant, Bicycle Centre Cairns) went out hard in the first lap but by lap 5 had been caught by Jeff RUBACH (Rocky Mountain – Crank’d Cycles Townsville) and it was on this lap a mighty battle, the like not seen since Stannis Baratheon attempted to take the Iron throne from King Joffrey, was fought and won by the current series leader, Dom Hoyle, This has strengthened Hoyles hold over the series heading into the final round. Dan Rubach (Rocky Mountain-Crank’d Cycles Townsville) taking third. A good showing is needed by Jeff, in Cairns, to hold his third place in the series with Keiran Mouldy only two points behind.
In the ladies categories, Anita Narula (Giant-Bicycle Centre Cairns) took out the elite women, Jodi Brown took another win to dominate the Masters Female and Mia Buurford-Baynes took the win for the Sport Female. The junior categories provided wins to Harry Sandilant and Jim Carlsson in wet and windy conditions.
Grand Masters Male, with two 70+ riders competing, was once again dominated by Joel Groberg with Mick Mehonoshen and John Koerner taking the remainder of the podiums.
Sport Male, again saw young Townsville rider, Nathan Clohesy, take the win cementing his position in the series, the final round should be the one to watch as Brett Carlsson, Vince Marcel and Nathan Granata battle out for the rest of the podium.
Vet male turned into another royal battle with Shaun Garraway holding off Adrian Tarca until the last lap where, in his own words, “I ran out of legs” and Adrian slipped by to take the win. This sets up another excellent final series race in Cairns.
Masters male had Paul Brown take 2nd to Jamie Burton, and Brendan Skerke (Trek-Discovery Cycles Astute Financial Racing) taking third. This moves Brendan into third for the series, Hamish Guy in second and Paul Brown with a commanding lead.
Overall a tough race, made tougher by the mud. The consensus was, this is a Mountain Bike race, and even though there was some mud in teeth, there were big smiles across the faces of all the riders as they crossed the finish line. A big thank you to the Cassowary Coast Multi Sport Club for setting up the course and preparing the race, a fantastic effort and we are looking forward to going back there next year. Don’t forget to check out the CCMSC website and facebook page for upcoming events such as Mamu to Mena. The area around Cardwell is fill with rainforest, waterfalls and incredible trails for exploring. Big thanks to Megan from the Mareeba Mountain Goats, our timing guru, who has been keeping the results in order and providing them quickly and efficiently.
Also thanks to Prime Constructions for their support for the series as we move to the final round at Smithfield Mountain Bike Park on the 21st of May. Registrations will be up in the next week. Race start will be from the Worlds Event site and series winners will be presented at the end of the race there will be random draws on the day as well. This may take a little extra time so we ask for your patience on that day. Series prizes are for those who have completed 3 or more races in the series. Make sure you check you status in the series. Thanks to all the riders who came down to Cardwell and supported the event, particularly those from Townsville, who also had their first XC series race the following day.
See you all at Smithfield on the 21st.