The first World Ranking Events out of Europe were held over the weekend in forests around Newcastle. These races were also used as the second pair of selection races for the MTBO WOC in Finland and proved a worthy test of riders and bikes.
Two races were held, on Saturday, just north of Newcastle, the middle distance race. On Sunday, near Cessnock, riders competed in a rather gruelling long distance race.
Podium girl Marquita Gelderman, who was 4th in the middle distance WOC in Slovakia last year, crossed the Tasman once again to hone her skills before WOC and won both WREs from Carolyn Jackson. NSW girls, Barbara Hill and Melissa Thomas swapped 3rd and 4th places each day.
In the men Adrian Jackson and Alex Randall dominated again sharing a win and a 2nd place each. Relative newcomer to MTBO, David Simpfendorfer rode two excellent races to place 3rd each day.
In the middle distance race on Saturday a mere 50 seconds separated the next 6 riders, including WOC aspirants Steven Cusworth, Paul Darvodelsky, Grant Lebbink and Tony Clark.
In contrast to the big mud puddles on Saturday, Sunday turned out to be fine and warm. Warm enough to dry out the patches of sand and make for tough going in parts.
The weekend was very successful and it was most encouraging to see so many riders getting closer to AJ’s times – something which bodes well for WOC and Australian MTBO.