Day 1 of the Christmas 5 Days was held on the spur- gully terrain of “Magenta” which adjoins the Chiltern township. The competition this year attracted large fields, partly because of the high class maps on offer, but also as an important warm-up for World Cup and Oceania events which start in New Zealand in early January.
The elite women were led in by Grace Crane who had a big 3 minute victory over Helen Palmer (Britain / Norway) with Jasmine Neve, Kathryn Preston and Aislinn Prendergast all finishing in the next 90 seconds. There were over 30 entries and 7 internationals in this field.
Matthew Crane also won albeit with a much closer margin, with Julian Dent making a welcome return home to be just 11 seconds behind. Simon Uppill took out third, a further 2 minutes back, and Swede David Andersson was close behind in 4th. David Shepherd was next, then Rob Preston and Ian Lawford was just ahead of fellow junior Olle Poland.
Tomorrow’s event moves into rock terrain at Barambogie, followed by Kangaroo Crossing, Rowdy Flat (Yackandandah) and finishes on the Beechworth map. The first MTBO occurs tomorrow afternoon at Indigo winery, with the second event at Stanley on Tuesday. With temperatures predicted to be in the low to mid thirties it will be hot both running and riding.