Australian Champion and 2nd ranked MTBO rider in the world, Adrian Jackson is showing his credentials in the Wildside MTB race in Tasmania. Wildside is one of Australia’s premier MTB stage races, running from Cradle Mountain to Strahan on Tasmania’s wild, west coast. With 7 race stages over 4 days it’s one of Australia’s toughest MTB races and attracts the best riders in Australia.
In Stage 1 yesterday morning, Jackson rode conservatively to place 8th in a field of about 300, just behind well known MTBO rider, Alex Randall. Both were only a short distance behind MTB Olympian Sid Taberlay and Australian Commonwealth Games team rider Chris Jongewaard. Jongewaard was fresh from a stunning 9th place in the pro-tour Tour Down Under road race.
Jackson unleashed the fury in Stage 2 yesterday afternoon, taking 2nd place to Jongewaard and leading a pack of Australia’s best MTB riders home, including Alex Randall in 7th place, although Taberlay lost six minutes after puncturing twice.
Stage 3 yesterday morning was a tough race over the pass between Tullah and Rosebery, mostly on technical, clay single track through some of Tasmania’s finest rainforest. Overnight rain made the stage very difficult riding. Jackson again showed his calibre with a strong 5th place, only a few seconds behind 3rd. Adrian is now 3rd outright in the general classification to only Jongewaard and Taberlay and leads the U23 race over Australia’s best up-and-coming MTB riders. Alex Randall is in 7th place outright in the general classification and in striking distance.
Yesterday afternoon’s Stage 4 was lengthened to run from Rosebery to Zeehan along an old rail route, once again through beautiful forest and past Montezuma Falls, the tallest waterfall in Tasmania. A mix-up by the organisers saw Jackson, Randall and a number of other riders miss their elite wave start and have to ride alone and overtake two other start waves. Despite this setback they rode the 4th fastest time of the day.
Rumour has it that the question on everyone’s lips is “Who the hell are these guys who’ve come out of absolutely nowhere and are beating the best riders in the country?” But of course, those of us in orienteering circles know better!
In the women’s race Sydney’s Katrin Van der Spiegel is placed 3rd outright in her first attempt at Wildside, having come 3rd in each of the first 3 stages to Olympian Lisa Mathison and Canberra rider Niki Fisher, both who’ve raced Wildside before. In the Montezuma Falls stage, Katrin rode very strongly to take 10 minutes out of Lisa Mathison and now lies 2nd in the general classification.
These stunning results against the best riders in Australia show the strength of Australian MTBO and augur well for the forthcoming World Championships in Finland in July.
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