The final day of the 2018 Port to Port could very well come down to the wire - but with so many trails to shred... would racing take a back seat?
Words: Zoe Binder | Images: Zoe Binder and Tim Bardsley-Smith
The final stage of the Port to Port started ocean side, completing the journey from mountains to the sea that this great race follows. A rising sun lit up excited faces, eager to ride the 39 kms of singletrack and to reach the beer and food that awaited at the finish line.
This stage being the only point to point segment of the four days proved to be a scenic, winding, coastal bash along one of New South Wales' most stunning coast lines. With a segment spanning the soft beach sand, today was a tricky stage and caused tight racing across the field.
Brendan Johnston went into stage four with the leader’s jersey, only 14 seconds in front of Tasman Nankervis, who was eager to create an attack. Michael Potter lead into the singletrack, with Cameron ivory making advanced of the front of the field, but they weren't to prevail.
A lead of Tasman Nankervis and Brendan Johnston pulled away, with Jonny Odams 30 seconds off the pace and Cameron Ivory another 30 seconds rallying. Johnston and Nankervis stayed away, opening their lead in the last few kilometres with a fast stretch to the finish. Tasman Nankervis crossed the line first but was unable to pull back anytime in the overall lead from Johnston, who claimed victory in the 2018 Port to Port with the quickest accumulative time.
Tasman Nankervis who took the stage victory states that he “felt good today and tried to put time on Trekky coming onto the limb out of the beach section. He was so strong and wouldn’t let me get away, so that’s the best I could do really. I’ve had an unreal week, these are my favourite events by far and I really enjoy the relaxed atmosphere compared to racing these guys competitively the rest of the year”. He has a huge smile across his face as he explains to me that this is “100% enjoyment this race”.
Brendan Johnston explains “I was pretty nervous this morning with only a narrow gap to Tas, and not that big of a gap to Cam in singletrack like this, and I knew I had to follow, follow, follow. I knew I didn't have the legs to attack, so I just followed Tas right to the line. I can’t believe I’ve come away with the win, it’s really unexpected and I’m really happy with the result”.
Holly Harris added to her dominant Port to Port campaign with her fourth stage win, and once again pulling on the pink leaders jersey. Holly says “Today was really hard for me, I was just pulling myself home but the trails were nice, so that really helped”. Holly continues “I had so much fun today and everyday! I’ve loved being able to meet new people out on track, and the atmosphere is just amazing and being here with mates is great.”
Closely following Holly was Jessica Simpson a few minutes back. A strong ride from Sarah Tucknott, who's is still very young saw her able to ride her way into a podium finish.
A fantastic and action packed four days ended on the shores of Mereweather beach, where the crowds could be seen enjoying the beautiful weather and sharing stories from a fantastic and action packed journey. Until next year Port to Port, we’ll be back!