Blair races to Australian series opener victory

King tops women's cross country field

Andrew Blair and Jenni King took victory in the opening round of the 2011-2012 MTBA National Series at Perth's Goat Farm on Saturday. Recent rain and temperatures in the mid 20s (degrees Celsius) made for perfect racing conditions.

In the men's elite event, Andrew Blair and Sid Taberlay fought continuously throughout the six-lap race. After a fast start, Athens Olympian Taberlay was leading the field as they entered the singletrack. By the end of the decisive first lap, a lead group formed containing Taberlay, Blair and Peter Hatton.

The trio continued to open up an advantage over Joshua Carlson, who was chasing alone in fourth. The technical nature of the Perth course took its toll on many rides, including Hatton, who failed to finish due to a mechanical incident.

With two laps remaining, Blair opened up a small advantage after Taberlay dropped a chain. Taberlay dug deep to close the gap, and the two leaders were together when they received the bell.

Early in the final lap, Blair opened up a gap at the top of the challenging and never looked back. With the overall classification in mind, he pushed all the way to the line taking victory in a time of 1:41:23. Taberlay came in second 1:26 later (1:42:49), third place was taken by Carlson (1:44:58). The first local rider to finish was Craig Cooke in sixth place.

Blair continued his good run of good form in Western Australia. Less than a month ago he took victory in the Cape to Cape Mountain Bike race in South West WA. Rather than travelling to the Northern Hemisphere to race World Cups over winter, Blair choose to stay in Australia, a prepare for national season skiing and racing cyclo-cross.

Blair made the initial selection, "Fortunately I made it into the front bunch without having to burn too many matches." Blair had Taberlay on his wheel for most of the race, "I had a voice in one ear saying he's going to stitch you up, he's going to stitch you up. In the other ear it was saying you can do it, you can put him away. It's definitely nerve wracking having a rider of Sid's caliber behind you. He is a smart racer and I couldn't believe it when I hit him on the last lap." After he consolidated the gap, "I wish I had a rear view mirror on my bike I was looking over my shoulder that much."

Elite women

In the first race of the day, the elite women tackled the challenging Goat Farm course, and with 210 meters of climbing each lap, the course would suit a strong climber. Jenny Fay started quickly leading the field into the singletrack. Early in the first lap Jenni King came to the front and never looked back.

Over the five-lap race, King consistently extended her advantage by close to a minute a lap on Jodie Willett in second place. King was at home on both the climbs and the technical rocky descents. King crossed the line in a time 1:39:50, in front of Willett who finished in 1:43:53. Fay placed third in 1:47:22

Like Blair, King also won the recent Cape to Cape mountain bike race in WA. The experience gained racing World Cups in Europe earlier in the year put her in good stead for the season opener.

King was at home on the course. "I loved the course, it was pretty technical when you were riding quick. The rock gardens, drops and chutes were great fun. The climbing was tough, but I think the steeper climbs suited me."

With the remaining rounds of the national series in mind, the result was encouraging for King, "I trained really hard over winter, but saying that I am certainly not peaking yet."

Under 23 men

In the U23 men's category, Luke Fetch rode consistently to take the victory in a time of 1:25:57. Mitchell Codner started quickly but was unable to match Fetch when he was passed on the third lap. Codner finished second in 1:28:38, Michael Crosbie finished third in 1:30:19.

Full Results

Elite men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Andrew Blair 1:41:23  
2 Sid Taberlay 0:01:26  
3 Joshua Carlson 0:03:35  
4 Ben Henderson 0:05:33  
5 Nick Both 0:06:14  
6 Craig Cooke 0:08:49  
7 Jarrad Burrell 0:09:54  
8 James Kennedy 0:11:12  
9 Andrew Fellows 0:12:25  
10 Evan Jeffery 0:19:49  
11 Anthony Shippard 0:26:51  
Elite women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Jenni King 1:39:50  
2 Jodie Willett 0:04:03  
3 Jenny Fay 0:07:32  
4 Rosemary Barnes 0:17:01  
5 Sarah Holmes 0:25:53  
6 Claire Garcia-Webb 0:26:36  
Under 23 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Luke Fetch 1:25:57  
2 Mitchell Codner 0:02:41  
3 Michael Crosbie 0:04:22  
4 Cameron Ivory 0:07:36  
5 Robbie Rhodes 0:08:23  
6 Kyle Ward 0:09:40  
7 Blake Polverino 0:11:30  
8 Sebastian Jayne 0:12:35  
9 Merlin Spranz 0:12:34  
10 Daniel McDonald 0:15:41  
11 Rowan Brown 0:21:51  
12 Ben Marshall 0:23:47  
13 Jack Haig 0:25:13  
Under 19 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Billy Sewell 1:10:50  
2 Ben Bradley 0:03:48  
3 Ben Comfort 0:05:15  
4 Christopher Aitken 0:06:13  
5 Cameron Prosser 0:07:08  
6 Toby Stewart 0:09:20  
7 Rodger Pogson-Manning 0:09:39  
8 Ryan Lloyd 0:13:57  
9 Zack Agius 0:23:02  
10 Jordan Butler 0:24:48  
11 Harry Lindsay 1:06:04  
Under 19 women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Holly Harris 1:13:11  
2 Emily Parkes 0:03:04  
3 Kyna Millan 0:11:42  
Under 17 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Hamish Prosser 0:57:28  
2 Reece Tucknott 0:00:20  
3 Darcy Pirotta 0:00:51  
4 Callum Carson 0:02:00  
5 Simon Harrington 0:02:22  
6 Mitchell Greenway 0:05:11  
7 Jack Jude 0:05:57  
8 Dean Madden 0:08:05  
9 Nathan King 0:16:05  
10 Lindsay Rhodes 1:06:37  
Under 15 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Zale Ross-Willmore 0:50:17  
2 Sean Maggs 0:15:26  
3 Kasey Smith 0:32:17  
Under 15 women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Sarah Tucknott 0:49:20  
2 Gabrielle Millan 0:31:24  
Veteran men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Tim Bennett 1:16:06  
2 Daniel Sonnabend 0:06:09  
3 Damon Wicki 0:06:13  
4 Clive Jones 0:08:13  
Veteran women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Rhianna Farrell 1:14:13  
2 Stefanie Van Amerongen 0:05:46  
Master men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Damon Willmore 1:14:28  
2 David Harris 0:11:44  
3 Jason Auld 0:12:10  
4 Simon Dec 0:13:11  
5 Andrew Remely 0:24:22  
6 Tim Roach 0:26:10  
Super master men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 John Henderson 1:01:49  
2 Kevin Jones 0:01:45  
3 Craig Peacock 0:04:08  
Grand master men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Bert Floss 0:46:59  
2 Bruno Wicki 0:06:02  
Sport men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Kevin Washer 0:42:45  
2 Jonathan Beck 0:02:24  
3 Jason Head 0:03:48  
4 Garry Wright 0:18:42  
5 Jon Stewart 0:22:23  
6 Benjamin Thorman 0:23:03  
7 Chris Park 0:28:53  
8 Chad Demidenko 0:50:32  
Sport women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Peta Demidenko 1:09:36  


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