After a solid training block over the Xmas / New Year period, I was looking forward to checking my form at this first National Round in Adelaide.  I am quite fond of the course out at Eagle Park, having claimed victory at the National Champs 2 years ago on the same track.  Race day was also looking to be a nice hot one, so I couldn’t complain about the conditions not suiting me. I was quite confident of a solid result, but also knew that the competition was going to be strong this year!

Ed and I flew into Adelaide on Friday morning and I did a brief couple of laps practice on the course, before checking into our accommodation and relaxing in front of the air-con for the remainder of the day.

Racing started on Saturday morning, with the younger and older age categories.

Liam Jeffries was the first Torq Team rider to line up out on track.  He was racing the U19’s category even though he is still just 15.  Liam is a super-talented mtbiker, and to push himself that little bit more he has chosen to ride up an age group for this year’s National Rounds. 

Liam was called up in last place on the starting grid and would certainly have his work cut out with 20 strong young riders to contend with.  To his credit, Liam stepped up to the plate, and showed just how classy he is with a 4th place finish. 

After having watched young Liam give his all, I was inspired to make sure and do the same in my race.  Lining up for the start of our elite women’s race, I was quite relaxed and ready for a good hard battle! Fellow Torq team rider Em Parkes was also racing the full 6 laps, but in the U23’s category and Ellie Wale had 4 laps to complete in the U19’s. 

I nailed the clip-in and got the whole-shot into the first rather lose gravel climb.  This proved to be a bonus for me as I was able to get a nice clean run up the first major climb, while some of the others behind were forced off there bike and had to run the first 20m or so.  Tory Thomas was right on my wheel and Peta Mullens had done well to get around a few to sit in 3rd.  Following the first single track section, there was an open section of uphill, where Tory got around me and put in a bit of a gap to Peta and I.  I was determined to settle into a manageable pace as I knew the race would be on the longer side. So Peta and I rode a good tempo up the remainder of the climb and Tory probably had around 20sec on us into the first lap descent. 

I pushed the descent and all the little ups within, and was surprised to be back on Tory’s wheel by the bottom and heading into lap 2.  This next lap was almost a carbon copy of lap 1, although this time through Tory had a little more of a gap.  Peta then made her move around me and she closed the gap very quickly on Tory.  I was suffering a little at this stage, and decided to just tap away at my own pace, as we still had 4 laps to get through. 

Over the next 2 laps, I had to stop myself from losing concentration as I was riding a little in no-man’s land with Peta and Tory a good 30sec in front and then over a minute back to 4th.  Lap 5, I started to really push myself as I knew we only had around 30min left to ride and I certainly didn’t want to leave anything out on the track! 

By this stage, I was finding it difficult to stand up on the pedals as that left hammy was cramping and very close to locking up!  Coming around for the bell lap however, I could once again see the 2 girls not all that far in front.  This spurred me on to give it my all on the last lap.  I made sure to push every uphill and kept smooth through the single trail.  Halfway into the lap I came across Peta who had had a spill and was straightening the handle-bars. Over the last climb and into the descent I still hadn’t caught sight of Tory, however continued to push the descent as hard as possible.  Into the last switch-back section I was very surprised to once again make contact with Tory and it was looking to be a sprint finish!  I was real cautious not to push this last descent or the loose rocky climb up to the finish straight.  Well, both Tory and I would be the first to admit that we are not the greatest sprinters out on track!  Our sprint finish may have looked to be in slow motion to those on the side linesJ  I did manage to punch out slightly more power than Tory however, and I was stoked to take out the race and the first Round of the National series.

Thanks so much to Torq Australia for continuing to provide the very best support.  The highly professional, yet chilled-out approach, really does give us riders opportunity to perform at our best! We certainly had a good weekend, with Em Parkes taking out the U23, Ellie Wale 3rd in U19, Mark Tupalski 5th elite male, Liam Jeffries 4th U19, Chris Hamilton 3rd U23, Ben Forbes 4th U23, Jason Lowndes 7th and Tristan Ward 8th U23. 

Also a big thanks to my personal sponsors Momentum Energy, Lifecare & 4Shaw!


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