The dark clouds that lurked around Buxton early on Sunday morning drifted away to the welcome arrival of warm spring sunshine – which not only dried out the sweeping single track in the area, but added to the jovial mood of those who arrived at race central.
Five races already run and won in the Victorian Endurance Series there were still close competitions to be found at the top of the leader board in most categories. And with the sun in the sky, the cicadas filling the air with noise and the trails drying out into perfect condition, the vibe on raceday was close to a season high.
At ten o’clock the 6 hour race kicked off with the obligatory display of outrageous wattage as hardened combatants launched into the event – who went onto to entertain the crowd at race central with some epic battles.
In the men’s teams’ category, Nick and Chris, the Burke Brothers carried a slender series lead into this event over Dan and Dom from Team Stick Insect. While used to close quarters combat with each other over the previous rounds, they had to contend with the extra firepower brought by Matt Ligtermoet and Jack Lamshed in Its Not Rocket Surgery. Adding more blows in the brawl were retro supergroup Tittlemans Crest, formed by monster racers Ashley Hayat and Duncan Murray. Lampshed and Ligtermoet were never headed, holding their lead from the get go. The Burke Brothers held on for second, while Team Stick Insect finished faster than a fast finishing Tittlemans Crest to capture third.
The women’s teams’ race was dominated by Tribal Whippets, who after a sharing a fast first lap with Hoping for a Steven Bradbury pulled away from eventual second place getters Black Sheep Cycling. With all other teams staying upright, Hoping for a Steven Bradbury had to settle for a bronze.
In Mixed Teams Adrian Jackson paired up with his partner Jo Williams to execute a race plan consisting of five consecutive laps and a quick dash off to collect their son from relatives. Jo stuck to her part of the bargain cutting another three to ensure they stayed on top. Saint Mountain, a regular super-pair of Alastair Payne and Mel Ansett were on track to shake up the established order when Al binned it at pace leaving Mel to double down and come in for second. Scared Bear and the Goat rode admirably into third and consolidated their strong position in the series overall standings.
The solo men’s category welcomed the return of Tobias Lestrell after a bout of scary illness, and while some of the crowd silently hoped he’d ease back into racing (for health’s sake) this was not to be the case. With Kevin Skidmore holding an aggregate lead in the series and with the ever threatening Shane Roberts also lapping quickly – Tobias attacked with two laps remaining to take the win with Shane rolling through into second. Mr Skidmore suffered the penalty for a long commute to and from an intense race the previous Friday and faded to fourth, leaving the rising star that is Tyla Windham the opportunity to ride onto the podium.
Kathryn Mcinerney overcame the technical course, the cicadas and the race announcer mispronouncing her name to monster the solo women’s category for her fifth win from five races this season. Less than a month after stellar podium finish at the Australian 24hr Solo MTB tiles Kate Penglase tapped out an impressive rhythm to take second and Beth Noddings stayed strong into the final minutes to round out third.
In the 40+ Category Martin Grannas found his mojo in the Buxton berms stepping away from Gavin Read in second with Chris White rolling over for a well-deserved third place.
The 40+ Mixed category had all the drama and comedy we’ve come to expect from veteran racers. Despite Mark Geary finishing with 15 seconds on the clock, it wasn’t enough to convince the other half of ‘40 is the new 20’ – David Anderson to cut another lap. It wasn’t required however, as they held a comfortable lead over second placed Stuffed Toys Division and the Lysty Lakers on the last step of the podium.
In the 3 hr mens race, some of the fastest cats on track lined up to bolt off into the forest. When the dust had settled, Murray Spink consolidated his lead in the series with a 2 minute gap back to the powerhouse that is Andrew Low, who edged John Davis by a mere 2 seconds into third place.
The 3 hr womens race saw the much anticipated return of Sydney Olympic MTB representative Anna Bayliss to local events, and it didn’t disappoint. On a borrowed bike Anna blasted out of the blocks to put a 3 minute advantage between her and Courtney Sherwell in second place. Over the course of the race Courtney was able to reel Anna back in, and timing her attack perfectly, held her nerve to record her first win of the series. The incredible Margaret Clark overtook Monica Campi to capture third place.
Ian Kelly showed his strength to overcome Bryce Young and Stuart Morgan in the 3hr 40+ solo mixed category and at the other end of the spectrum, GMBC Young Guns held off Focus Fever and the A-Sea Boys to take the Junior Pairs win.
Always one of the best races of the series, the Buxton Bootcamp not only enjoyed a massive turnout, but excellent weather and an amazing course. The overall series remains tight and with the top five results counting towards the end of year outcomes, there is still much to race for coming into December.
Big thanks go to James Cowell of the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, the Murrinidindi Cycle Club, Fraga’s Café – Marysville, Great Divide Coffee, Ground Effect, Phatgard, the Beachworth Bakery Marysville and the Bridge Road Brewery.
Look forward to seeing you all at the final race of the year at the Bendigo 6 Hour!
Full results can be found over at: http://www.bighillevents.com.au/buxton_bootcamp/bootcamp_results.html