After winning her second Australian National Mountain Bike Title in March, Erica Oldfield will return to racing this weekend at her hometown course at Castle Hill, Blackstone, Queensland. The young U/19 rider will ride up in the elite women's division with current Sunshine Series leader, Lee Schultz from Brisbane. Oldfield has only competed in one of the previous two rounds but is hoping her local track knowledge can be used for a win on Sunday. "I usually have good races at Ipswich, and I know the tracks pretty well," confirmed Oldfield.
Currently third in the series, Oldfield leads the local women's charge with Erin Stoklasa also with a good chance of a top placing in Elite Women. New local rider, Jane Trotter will line up in her second Cross Country race this Sunday in the Sport Women's Division.
Elite Men's Series leader, Andrew Wegener from Brisbane will need to protect his lead from Gold Coast rider, David Whitney. Wegener's club mate, Mark Frendo is currently on equal 3rd place with Under 17 National Cross Country and Downhill Champion, James Maltman from South Brisbane.
Top Veteran rider, Simon Bowen who placed second at the National Championships will miss this round after the recent arrival of a baby boy. Bowen is hoping to be on the start line at Kooralbyn for the Mountain Bike Marathon on 29th May.
The Ipswich course is known as one of the best mountain bike courses in Queensland and is very technical. According to course designer, Gavin Greenhill last year's course was the 'easiest' but this year's will be different again. In planning the circuit, Greenhill had included the notorious 'Pot Hill' which has a challenging descent. However after technical officer, Gillian Duncan, visited the course a decision was made to remove the dangerous descent and leave out 'Pot Hill' altogether. "I'm disappointed," admitted Greenhill, "Ipswich usually offers a demanding and testing course." However Greenhill added, "We've taken out 'Pot Hill' after official advice but it will still be a great circuit."
One 'safe' section of the course will remain in Sunday's 7.5km circuit. Well known to local riders as 'The Lane', it was named after well respected club member Robert Lane who died after suffering years of kidney problems. "He was just a great bloke who was the last up every hill but he had a go. Since then we've always included his section of single track in a State Round like this one," explained Greenhill.
Races will start at 8.30am, 9am and 10.15am. Day licenses are available.