The dusty trails of Mt Stromlo crowned Reece Tucknott and Em Viotto as the champions in Canberra.
Photos: Nick Waygood
The AMB100 found a new home on the calendar in September, and this year the popular marathon race was also the final act for the Mitas Terra in the Berra, a 3-day mountain bike stage race now run by Rocky Trail Entertainment.
The Mitas Terra in the Berra event started with a cross-country race at Majura Pines VIneyard on Friday afternoon, and had a unique 40km stage on Saturday with two timed sections. Riders joining the 3-day event would be lining up for 1 lap or 2 laps at the AMB100 at Mt Stromlo as their final stage, depending on whether they had opted to be there for the 'experience' or the race.
Numbers tripled from the stage race to the one-day event, as the carpark filled up as the 8am start approached this morning. There were plenty of races to watch, as the 100 milers had started the day already, the Terra in the Berra lead was likely going to Brendan Johnston and Karen Hill, but nothing would be decided until they both crossed the line after two laps. Then of course there were people lining up for 1, 2 or 3 laps at the AMB100.
As ever, Martin Wisata set a tough 25km course. Most people love riding at Mt Stromlo but they will also readily admit that it can be tough going. There's a lot of rock out there, and a lot of local lines that are a gift for local riders. And those who ride at Mt Stromlo a lot tend to know how to really let their wheels slide on the ball-bearing over bushfire-baked hardpack surface.
We all waited for Garry James (leading the 100 mile race) to come through the start-finish area before the race started, and as we all took off t was clear that some people felt the previous two days in their legs, or had fresh legs, or had a few too many drinks at the Hills and Hops festival the day before... but when there are four craft brewers on site on a glorious spring day, one more doesn't seem wrong. A few times.
With an inevitable bottle neck into singletrack after a fire trail climb, the top riders edged away. It made for an interesting front group as Reece Tucknott and Brendan Johnston were together - but not really racing each other. Brendan was racing two laps to finish the Terra in the Berra and Reece was racing 3 laps in the AMB100.
It did pose a little bit of confusion for spectators as Tucknott lead Johnston through the finish after two laps, and went on while Johnston unclipped. A good reminder that an MC is an integral part of the story telling for bike racing.
Karen Hill was unchallenged for the Terra in the Berra, and did a 3rd lap for fun - or training. Em Viotto was well in front in the women's field, stringing some hard training together with Cape to Cape (racing in the Mixed category with Karl Michelin-Beard) and The Pioneer on the horizon.
Briony Mattocks was the second fastest woman in the 3-lap event while Michelle Morris was the 3rd fastest lady.
Reece Tucknott was the winner for the 3-lap men's race and John Davis was 2nd, with Ben Fillingham in 3rd.
In the 100 mile race Chris Hanson was the fastest ahead of evergreen Garry James and Jonny Harrison.
There were a number of similarities to previous editions of the AMB100, and a few changes too. Being involved with the Terra in the Berra and the Hops and Hills festival was awesome, and the buzz around Stromlo on Saturday was great. As ever the 25km lap was fun, but not short of challenges. A number of riders had a dirt nap, plenty of riders entering the 3 lap race opted for two laps in the end, and even more riders questioned whether their suspension settings were wrong.
Thanks to Rocky Trail Entertainment for putting the AMB100 on - we hope to see you in Canberra next year!