Enduro riders from all over Australia duked it out at Maydena to find out who would wear the national champs jersey in the coming year
Words: Colin Levitch Photos: Colin Levitch, Nick Waygood
Maydena played host to the country’s best Enduro racers, with riders battling it out on the steeps and techy trails to crown this year's Australian Enduro National Champ.
Held over two days, the five-stage race paraded riders across the mountain, with the Queen Stage held on Saturday, starting at the summit and finishing at the base area — the remaining four stages were raced on Sunday. Precipitation earlier in the week left the trails a mixed bag, with some sections dry and dusty, while others were downright mud bogs complete with rotor depth ruts. The first stage saw cold winds, which forced riders to break out the winter weather gear — and even a few trash bags to keep warm.
On Saturday, South Australia's Connor Fearon made it down the mountain ten-seconds ahead of Dan Booker, and 17-seconds faster than Troy Brosnan. Rowena Fry was the fastest of the ladies after the first stage with a six-second lead over Leanna Curtis, and 10-seconds on Shelly Flood.
Sunday saw more forgiving weather but the trails most definitely were not, with riders tackling some of Maydena's iconic tracks, like King Brown, Sticks and Stones and even the lower section of the new Wilderness trail. In just the first stage of the day (which was actually stage two in the race), two of the Elite Female racers hit the deck hard, with one rider forced to leave the race with a broken arm.
"Some of the tracks were slippery, and there were some dry bits, you just have to see what's in front of you and ride it as best as you can," says Fearon.
In the end, Fearon and Tassie local Fry would back up their wins from last week in Derby, both posting the fastest time on every stage, and earning themselves the green and gold bars.
"I had five pretty solid stages actually, pretty happy; no mechanicals, no flat tyers, no crashes and (I) kept it smooth the whole way. That was the key, and I managed to edge Dan Booker into second, he's local and really fast here, and I'm happy with that," said Elite Men's National Champ Fearon about his race.
"It was a super hard day, (it was) mentally and physically brutal out there and to be on it all day was so tiring — the steepness of the trails, and the changing (condition of) the trails were super hard. But, it was a really fun day out," says newly crowned Elite Women's National Champion Fry.
Both Fry and Fearon said they added extra pressure to their suspension after Derby, with the South Australian also making changes to his position on the bike and adding a 1psi to each tyre to better handle the terrain at Maydena.
Troy Brosnan traded his dual crown fork for something a bit shorter and rounded out the podium taking third place on the day.
"It was a tough day definitely a lot of the tracks were physical, and a lot of pedalling but they are really fun. The mountain here offers so much riding, it's just amazing to have so many different tracks to race as well for and Enduro, and so it's pretty exciting — loving it.
Australia also crowned it's first E-Bike Enduro champion, with Josh Carlson taking the win with Will Rischbieth and Ben Trinder hot on his tail.
"This race is our first Australian eBike race and our first Australian eBike Enduro," says Carlson. There have been a couple of events before that have had eBike categories, but it's the same course, or it's a shorter course. But this weekend we decided to make it a bit of a showcase and Simon (French), Rhys (Ellis) and I all worked together with a bit of a course and a couple of ideas — they let me have a crack at it a go a bit wild.
And wild it was, with Trinder snapping his chain and Rischbieth breaking his crank on stage four, both being forced to finish the descent on foot.
The podiums saw plenty of champagne showers with the new national champions proudly wearing Australia’s green and gold stripes, a jumper they will carry into the new year.
For full results from the Australian Enduro Championships at Maydena, click here.