Current 24-hour solo mountain bike World Champion, Jason English, is heading up the field competing this weekend at the Jet Black 24-hour race near Sydney, Australia.
The race, held at the Del Rio Resort at Wiseman's Ferry just north of Sydney, is a qualifying event for the 2010 24-hour solo World Championships to be held in Australia in October. English has already qualified, but will be using the race to keep track of his form.
"I am planning to do several qualifying races like this one, so I can practice and get different strategies on different tracks," said English.
The 29-year-old school teacher is the defending champion of this event and now has the added pressure of being a World Champion, but English is hoping a new sponsorship deal with JetBlack Cycling will make things a little easier.
"It is the closest race (to home) for me, and I can't wait to try out my new Pivot bikes. We require two bikes to perform well, so I will be racing on two new 'high end' bikes."
English sees this event as the perfect testing ground and already has a race plan. "I'll need to get used to the bike and use the heart rate monitor to make sure I'm not going too hard too early," he said.
Young David Ludenia, who finished second last year, will challenge English along with Crocodile Trophy veteran Shane Taylor. Queenslanders Andy Fellows, who was third a the 24-hour solo World Championships and Sam Bekkers, winner of the 25-29 age group at that same World Championships, will also be competing.
The JetBlack 24-hours of Sydney race is in its second year. Over 450 racers from New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and the ACT have registered.
The top 50 percent of all elite male and female finishers will obtain an automatic qualification to the upcoming World Championships.
The race will kick off on the 9.3km circuit at noon on Saturday, February 6. Event organizers are confident that the heavy rain that dogged riders during the night in last year event will hold off.
For more event information, visit www.rockytrailentertainment.com