More than 2,000 competitors will compete in the Briars Highland Fling, the final round of the inaugural Real Insurance XCM Series on Sunday, November 13. After a tightly contested series, it will all come down to the final result for both the Real Insurance XCM Series competitors and the Half XCM Series competitors.
The overall competition will be between series leader Matt Fleming (Rockstar Racing) and contenders Dylan Cooper (Trek) and Ben Mather (Avanti Plus)
Having never won the Highland Fling, Fleming is hoping to make 2011 his year by taking out both the Fling and the series
"The Briars Highland Fling is one of the toughest enduro races on the calendar. The Fling is one race that has always eluded me," said Fleming. "I've had many places but never a win overall. My form has been a little down of late but I will be firing on the day nonetheless. My goal is to finish in front of Ben Mather and Dylan Cooper and take out the XCM Series, but a win would be a great way to finish off the series. I'll be well supported in the race by new teammates from Rockstar Racing, and I'm hoping I can deliver a win as well as the XCM series for the Rockstar Racing team."
Unfortunately for Cooper, his series preparation hasn't been ideal "Although I'm usually racing overseas and miss the Aussie winter, this year I've had a long off-season with the plan to build up to racing this summer. The Fling is what I was hoping to kick things off with. Although I'd left the start of my training very late, things were looking ok... until I caught a nasty virus last week."
"I've been off the bike with a chest infection and am not too confident about my chances of doing well now, but if I get well in time I'll certainly give it a crack. You never know in mountain biking, as results can come from nowhere. My plan is to race unfit but fresh, which will mean my endurance won't be so good. But maybe my legs will be rested enough to use some speed on a fast and variable course. There'll be plenty of good competition as usual though, so it's going to hurt regardless," said Cooper.
In the women's series, current leader Sue Thompson needs to win the Highland Fling in order to win the series. This won't be easy though with Vanina Vergoz, Sarah Neumann, Kate Heyns, Vicky Cluver and Wendy Stevenson all in contention to claim the series win.
In the Half Marathon Series, current leader Glen Pleffer will be racing hard to take home the series win and $1,000 prize money after posting three solid results from the last three events. While in the women's Half Marathon Series, a very consistent Kylie Webb looks set to take the win after winning the Capital Punishment, Dirt Works 100 and a very close second at the Husky 100ker.
The Highland Fling is the biggest event in the Real Insurance XCM Series and one of Australia's best known mountain biking events. The Fling challenges cyclists of all levels by offering various endurance rides, from the 100 Mile Fling (165Km), Full Fling (110km) and Half Fling (55km), to a Flinging Threesome Relay and a Casual Fling untimed 14km participation ride.