An excellent weekend of mountain bike orienteering was held near Gympie, Queensland to decide the Australian Middle and Long distance championships titles. A contingent of 30 New Zealanders, who had incorporated the previous weekends NSW Championships into a 10 day mountain biking tour, added great competition to the races.
The two events were held on vastly different areas. The middle was at Corella Forest, with several crucial long route choice legs interspersed by two areas of complex single track. In the women elites Marquita Gelderman had a narrow one minute win over a very fit and fast Carolyn Jackson. Twenty four year old Patrick Higgins navigated well to take the men’s elite title by two and a half minutes over Greg Barbour. Patrick is actually British but currently residing in New Zealand. Unfortunately Australian WOC team members Ricky Thackray (tyre trouble) and Callum Fagg (puncture) had mechanical troubles.
The long event was held in Toolara pine plantation, on a huge area that required the elites and top three courses to have a 1:25,000 map. Despite its size the area was a detailed maze of roads and tracks which demanded intense navigation at all times. Several long legs gave numerous route choice commutations, while some short legs at the end saw some come unstuck.
WA’s Ricky Thackray took out a well deserved elite championship, managing to withstand the efforts of young Tasmanian gun Callum Fagg by a mere two minutes on the 38 kilometre course. This followed Ricky’s win in the WA state championship the week before. NSW’s Gary Sutherland showed consistency to take out third place again.
The outstanding ride of the weekend was undoubtably from Kiwi Marquita Gelderman who raced around the women’s 30 km course so speedily that she bettered the times of the M40’s and M17’s on the same course. In fact, Marquita’s kilometre rate was only beaten by the two top elite males! There will be great interest to see where she actually went on route gadget! Carolyn Jackson was joined by Jenny Enderby (NSW) on the podium.
The Queensland based Withers family dominated the junior ranks with Gaby winning both W14 titles and Karl the M17 races, though pushed in both by Tim Jackson. Karl is off to his second Junior World Championships in Estonia soon. Promising Ballarat rider Declan Dickson won both M14 races, but was more pleased by his navigation in the long.
The veteran classes had both quality and quantity and all wins were hard earned. Ann Scown (W60), Malcolm Roberts (M50) and Peter Cusworth (M60) won both titles, albeit Peter’s win in the middle was by a mere 1 second over over NSW’s Paul Haynes. Over the four NSW and Australian Championship title events both Marquita Gelderman and Peter Cusworth managed to remain unbeaten – a tremendous feat of navigation.
Many thanks must go to the Queensland organisers, notably course setters Graeme Hall and Liz Bourne and mappers Craig Steffens and Eric Andrews for the enormous amount of time and effort they put into making the events not only possible but highly enjoyable. Also thanks to Rob Croscato, Wendy Steffens, Debbie Gordon and other Multi-Terrain Bike Orienteers and QOA who assisted the running and promotion of the event. This included a lovely meal and quiz on the Saturday night.
Full results are available on eventor.
W21 63.22 Marquita Gelderman (NZ) 102.39 Marquita Gelderman (NZ)
64.36 Carolyn Jackson (VIC) 115.42 Carolyn Jackson (VIC)
69.21 Rachel Drew (NZ) 135.35 Jenny Enderby (NSW)
W14 Gaby Withers (Q) Gaby Withers (Qld)
W40 Kim Beckinsale (Qld) Kath Heppelthwaite (NZ)
W50 Deb Bain (NZ) Roz Clayton (NZ)
W60 Ann Scown (ACT) Ann Scown (ACT)
W70 Dale-Ann Gordon (VIC) Yett Gelderman (NZ)
M21 65.42 Patrick Higgins (Great Britain) 120.51 Ricky Thackray (WA)
68.28 Greg Barbour (NSW) 122.49 Callum Fagg (TAS)
73.07 Gary Sutherland (QLD) 146.45 Gary Sutherland (QLD)
M14 Declan Dickson (VIC) Declan Dickson (VIC)
M17 Karl Withers (Qld) Karl Withers (Qld)
M40 Peter Swanson (NZ) Greg Barbour (NSW)
M50 Malcolm Roberts (NSW) Malcolm Roberts (NSW)
M60 Peter Cusworth (VIC) Peter Cusworth (VIC)
M70 Blake Gordon (VIC) Graham Fowler (NSW)
M80 Graeme Cadman (VIC) –