Two years ago, South Australian mountain biker Chris Jongewaard narrowly missed out on selection for the Olympic Games. This weekend he will line up for the selection race for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Lysterfield, Victoria, on Sunday, determined not to let the chance to represent his country slip away again.
Jongewaard starts with an advantage: as national series leader he will have pole position on the grid after placing second and first respectively in the first two national series in Tasmania and Western Australia. Nevertheless, to secure one of the three Commonwealth Games berths, he will have to finish first on.
Sid Taberlay, one of Australia's 2004 Olympians, thinks Jongewaard can do it. "It just depends on the day," he said, "but Chris most deserves to win. He's the rider in form at the moment."
Jongewaard has become stronger as the season progresses and doesn't plan to taper his training for Lysterfield. "I am happy with the way Perth went so I'll follow on from there," he said.
Jongewaard's fellow South Australian, Shaun Lewis, will line up in the elite men's race along with Taberlay and national series defender, Dylan Cooper from Canberra. Olympian Josh Fleming from Sydney will also have his first national race of the season.
Great Britain's Olympian, Nick Craig will compete in the expert men and use the event to assist the British team in their preparation for the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
The women's event has seen a keen resurgence of interest with Olympian Lisa Mathison returning to training after a year's break. Melbourne's Dellys Starr has returned from her base in America and Sydney Olympian, Anna Baylis, who is is based in Germany is expected to enter. Also competing will be national champion and series leader, Emma Colson from Melbourne.
The Elite women will start on Sunday at 10.30 am with the Elite men starting at 2pm.