Taberlay, Gorrell win point-to-point race in Awaba

The final round of the cross country half of the national mountain bike series was held on the last three days at Awaba, just south of Newcastle, and concluded with a 12-kilometre point-to-point race on Sunday.

Race distance was halved from the scheduled 25 kilometres due to the course being muddy from days of rain. Riders were nonetheless happy that the weather had changed overnight, and even if the trails were wet, the sun was unexpectedly shining on the race start.

Sid Taberlay rode a strong race to back up his win in the cross country on Saturday with a win in the elite category of the point-to-point.

"It was good, there were a select group of three of us off the front, (U23) Trenton Day, (U19) Ben Bradley and myself," said Taberlay.

With those three in the lead for the race, it was of little consequence that Taberlay came in third overall behind the other two - he had secured the race win in the elite category. Joshua Carlson finished in second place in elite, with Andrew Arthur in third.

Taberlay's two wins over the course of the weekend carried him to a general classification win for Round 4.

Reflecting on this form and looking to the future, Taberlay said, "Obviously the plan is to get a good result (next weekend) at the Oceania Championships in New Zealand. Then when heading into the World Cups, I'll be starting off the mid to back area, so I'm hoping to capitalise on this form to get some better start positions for the European World Cups."

Carlson finished second in the general classificaton for round 4, with third place going to Andrew Blair.

Blair reconfigured his goals mid-season to focus on winning the Real Insurance All Mountain Cup season, a decision that would reap rewards, with Blair's result being the final step in him winning the Cup against stiff competition.

Thinking back over the season, Blair said, "My biggest highlight was winning the Round in Perth, and winning the cross country Olympic race there against riders like (Sid) Taberlay and (Peter) Hatton, it was the happiest I've been this season."

Blair, 32, has been racing mountain bikes for almost two decades. "I'm pretty stoked to be able to win a national series, it's not something I thought I'd ever do in my career. When I started off well in this season I thought I should give it a shot and it's worked out well."

In elite women's racing, Lindsay Gorrell again rode hard from the start to lead the female field into the singletrack.

Even though the sun was shining, Gorrell spoke of the tough conditions, "it was diabolical, even more challenging than yesterday, some of the hills were unrideable - we were running our bikes up the hill."

On her return to the sport after a four-year break for University study, Gorrell was happy to win the point-to-point race and also the general classification for the weekend in just the third national level event of her return.

"It feels awesome. I know I still have a long way to go before being competitive with a full Elite field, but it's great to go home with the win," said a humble Gorrell.

Jenni King had already amassed enough points to have an unassailable lead in the elite women's All Mountain Cup. King, absent from Awaba due to international racing commitments, had a stellar season after winning seven of the nine events she competed in.

After eight years of racing, King is happy. "It feels great. Last year I came second in the season after a poor performance in the last race of the year. This year winning the series was the goal, and being consistent was the way I was aiming to do it. Three round wins took the pressure off me - I'm relieved to get a series under the belt."

When asked about the platform that she now launches from into the international season, King reflected, "I'm hoping to build on what I've achieved in the domestic season, I'm hititng a peak I'll be aiming to hold for the first World Cup in South Africa, then I'll go back into training. It's all going to plan."

In under 23 racing, Trenton Day took both the point-to-point and general classification win for the weekend, often leading the elite field in the process.

When asked about his extreme run of form this weekend, he said, "I'm not sure where it comes from, it's some rare, early season form. I've doing a bit on the road so perhaps that's helping the endurance. A Newcastle local, he also pointed out "Perhaps this weekend has also been due to a bit of home track advantage."

Amy Austin won the under 23 female point-to-point and the general classification for the weekend, and also took home the Real Insurance All Mountain Cup for the important Under 23 category.

The spoils were shared in Under 19 racing. National Champion Ben Bradley won the point-to-point, local Christopher Aitkenwon the under 19 male general classification for the weekend, and Luke Fetch took out the overall under 19 male Real Insurance All Mountain Cup. In Under 19 female racing, Emily Parkes won the point-to-point, and Holly Harris took home the overall win for the general classification for the Awaba weekend. Strong performances in the prior rounds handed the overall cup win to Parkes.

With the Real Insurance Australian MTB Season coming to a close, the Australian Mountain Bike community will now direct its attention to the international season, which begins next weekend with the Oceania Championships in New Zealand.

Full Results

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Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sid Taberlay0:35:32
2Joshua Carlson0:00:45
3Andrew Arthur0:00:53
4Andrew Blair0:02:13
5Michael Vanos0:02:36
6Nick Both0:03:04
7Chad Gossert0:03:45
DNSNeil Van Der PloegRow 7 - Cell 2
DNSMatthew FlemingRow 8 - Cell 2
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Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lindsay Gorrell0:48:44
2Rosemary Barnes0:00:25
3Sarah Holmes0:04:53
4Jaclyn Schapel0:08:42
DNSSally GabrielRow 4 - Cell 2
DNSNicola HoganRow 5 - Cell 2
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Under 23 Male
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Trenton Day0:34:24
2Cameron Ivory0:02:19
3Kyle Ward0:03:20
4Blake Polverino0:10:51
DNSSebastian JayneRow 4 - Cell 2
DNSDaniel McDonaldRow 5 - Cell 2
DNSJames HanusRow 6 - Cell 2
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Under 23 Female
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Amy Austin0:54:21
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Under 19 Male
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ben Bradley0:35:32
2Rodger Pogson-Manning0:03:11
3Christopher Aitken0:03:24
4Billy Sewell0:05:47
5Toby Stewart0:05:50
6Jacob Langham0:07:13
7Cameron Prosser0:07:20
8Harry Lindsay0:08:41
9Henry Baird0:08:55
DNSBen ComfortRow 9 - Cell 2
DNSJack LavisRow 10 - Cell 2
DNSCameron AndrewRow 11 - Cell 2
DNSAlec MalcolmRow 12 - Cell 2
DNSNigel MalcolmRow 13 - Cell 2
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Under 19 Female
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Emily Parkes0:49:27
2Holly Harris0:01:36
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Under 17 Male
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Hamish Prosser0:40:42
2Callum Carson0:00:34
3Jack Jude0:01:03
4Mitchell Greenway0:01:46
5David Bleakley0:02:45
6Jet Turner0:04:07
7Dean Madden0:04:17
8Tom Green0:06:18
9Bryan Dunkin0:06:41
10Luke Brame0:06:58
11Jayden Ward0:41:24
DNSRoly StewartRow 11 - Cell 2
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Under 17 Female
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ellie Wale1:02:13
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Under 15 Male
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Matthew Dinham0:54:40
2Declan Prosser0:03:10
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Veteran Male
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dion Blair0:42:51
2Damien Enderby0:00:17
3Martin Wisata0:06:21
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Master Male
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Troy Fisher0:42:24
2David Harris0:02:28
3Peter Baird0:06:12
DNSRob ParberyRow 3 - Cell 2
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Super Master Male
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mark Codner0:48:03
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Grand Master Male
#Rider Name (Country) Team
DNSPeter Heywood
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Expert Male
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Fabian Guerrero0:44:40
DNSGlen PlefferRow 1 - Cell 2
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Sport Male
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jason Head0:52:05

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