Chris Firman and Liz Randall.
After the middle distance event held an hour north of Auckland the Kiwis grabbed a commanding lead with a 9 point to 1.5 point victory today.
The terrain was absolutely fantasic, being a mixture of single tracks in sandy forest and an open section of farmland with complex contour detail. In the latter riders were able to ride anywhere rather than stick to tracks. Most of this land belongs to Marquita Gelderman and Rob Garden who meticulously groomed the trails and made new ones especially for this event.
Australia’s successes were in W21 and W70, though M60 (Peter Cusworth & Greg Bacon) were unlucky to fall short by 3 seconds and M70 (Kaith Wade & Tim Hately) by 3 minutes. Carolyn Jackson won W21 and WA newcomer Tash Spargo backed her up to enable the victory. Liz Randall (VIC) won W70 by some 7 mins over Yett Gelderman, but with only 1 competitor each in this class only half a point is being awarded.
Adventure racer Stu Lynch won M21 from fellow Kiwi Chris Forne with Chris Firman taking 3rd. M20 was won by star NZ foot o junior Tom Robertson in such decisive fashion that he beat all comers on course 2. Karl Withers was our leading Aussie with 2nd.
Tamsin Barnes rode impressively in W40 placing a close 4th behind an ultra competitive Kiwi trio. Aussie stars of the future are competing in W16 (not a challenge class unfortunately) with Lucy Mackie (NSW) and Gaby Withers (QLD) not only dominating that class but riding really fast times.
The long distance challenge will be held on a brand new map one hour south of Auckland, in Maramarua Forest, so we are hopeful of better results there.
Awaiting results at the moment.