World champion Jason English from Port Macquarie and Victorian Jessica Douglas claimed back-to-back victories at the Australian Solo 24-hour Mountain Bike Championship in Canberra. The race was one of the major Australian qualifying events for the 2010 24-hour Solo World Championship to be staged in Canberra in October.
173 competitors assembled on the start line at Majura Pines. They faced a nine-kilometer course, renown for being hilly and technical. Riders amassed more than 400 kilometres over the 24 hours.
As a mark of respect to one of Australia's most successful mountain bike riders James Williamson, who tragically passed away in South Africa while participating in the Cape Epic on March 23, the race was held over 23 hours and 59 minutes.
A minute's silence was observed before the riders, who wore black armbands, completed a slow roll out lap in honour of their friend and fellow rider.
A Canberra local, Williamson, 26, was a national solo 24hr champion, world solo 24hr champion and was the editor of the Australian Enduro mountain bike magazine.
English makes it three national titles in a row
Completing 46 laps, English claimed his third national 24-hour crown in a row.
"Its fantastic to win three in a row," said English after the race. "It's awesome. Its my 10th win in a row in a 24-hour event."
As expected, the men's race was wide open in the opening couple of hours. John Blankenstein made a charge, however this was quickly chased down by underdog singlespeeder Brett Bellchambers, who looked very strong for the first six hours.
On lap three, English gained the lead again, and then consolidated that lead on lap 13, opening up his first real gap.
"The only move I made was to try and catch Brett," said English. "So that happened eventually in traffic, and he fell back into the main group. I had a bit of a lead, so I capitalised on that and expanded on my lead during the early hours of the night."
English held on out the front of the field, however positions in the chase group changed on a number of occasions throughout the night.
With three hours to go Andrew Fellows put his foot on the gas producing a swift 30:02 on lap 40. English counterattacked immediately, responding with an extremely fast 27:30, taking nearly seven minutes off his fastest lap time.
"It was probably a very silly thing do with those kays in my legs. I think I was going to suffer afterwards. I was a dribbling mess by the end of that fast lap."
At the end of time, Fellows finished in second position, one lap behind English, followed by Scott Chancellor in third, both men completing 45 laps each.
English will now turn his attention to the World Championships on home soil in Canberra in six months as he attempts to defend his world title.
"I just want to see an Australian win, that's the goal I have.
"It's important not to get sucked in by the faster US-based riders who like to charge off and go too hard. The Australians have the patience and can sit back and bring it home strong."
Douglas dominates women's race
In the women's race, Jessica Douglas opened strongly and didn't relinquish her lead for the entire race, comfortably completing 38 laps to defeat Claire Graydon (37 laps) and Rebecca Parkes (36 laps), who played out a great battle for second place.
"I'm very pleased to have it all over and done with," said Douglas, who finshed fourth at last year's World Championships. "I only been back in training for four weeks. I was just relying on previous 24-hour form and a hell of a lot of base."
"I had a minute gap and it just grew from there.
"My body didn't want to play from midnight until 6:00 am. It was 90 percent mental. I definitely overrode my survival instincts on my body."
|4||Brett Bellchambers (SS)||44|
|5||Edward McDonald (SS)||43|
|13||David Speering (SS)||38|
|36||Samuel Warmington (SS)||34|
|39||Phillip Banks (SS)||33|
|42||Andre Quaglio (SS)||33|
|48||Phillip Byron (SS)||32|
|52||Chris St Jack||31|
|55||Rob Paksec (SS)||30|
|58||Trevor Creighton (SS)||30|
|59||David Milne (SS)||30|
|62||Jason "The" Head||29|
|65||Angelo De Maria||29|
|69||Craig Dunlop (SS)||28|
|70||Steve Woodward (SS)||28|
|81||Robert Bishop (SS)||25|
|98||Brad Mertens (SS)||20|
|109||Scott Abercrombie (SS)||13|
|DNF||David Power (SS)|
|DNF||Francis Le Brun|
|DNF||Brendan Den (SS)|
|3||Bec Parkes (SS)||36|
|12||Erin Zimmer (SS)||26|
|14||Kris Nicholls (SS)||25|
|15||Philippa Rostan (SS)||24|