Shannon Hewetson 24th Overall
Finishing up work last Tuesday we jumped on the Spirit of Tasmania for the sailing that night, thankfully the boring 12hour journey isn't so bad when you get a cabin and can sleep most of it. We spent Wednesday taking our time and sightseeing around Devonport- Launceston areas until a mate landed from Perth and we made our way to our accommodation.
Thursday we got out to the tracks and tried to walk the main technical race stages that had a lot of features on them, it was too difficult walk all 7 stages. We left the venue Thursday feeling really excited to get into offical event practise Friday, some of the trails had awesome looking features on them, a chunk of them were super fresh and never had riders on them before.
Friday ended up being a massive day in the saddle! Checking out basically the entire course was our plan so then Saturday we could just take it a little easier on the legs and rerun any that we felt we needed to. Running helmet cam was crucial for going back over each course in the evening jolting the memory for main sections and line spotting. Fridays weather was really good, perfect riding temperatures with no rain about! It ended up being a long day, having only some race stages open certain times of the day we started at 8:30am and got back to the car at 5pm followed by riders briefing.
Saturday we just took it easy running through 3 of the race stages and then got back to the accommodation to relax and be as prepared as possible for the brutal horrendous conditions that we encountered for Sunday race day!!
It was over 50km, 7 race stages, close to 7 hours on the bike and it pretty much rained the whole time! Just as we got to the top of Stage 1 the rain was coming down heavy, it was cold and very average race conditions. After stage 3 we went via the scheduled Lunch stop in the event village. Only having 20mins to eat, quick check over the bike, try to get some fresh riding kit on and then leave for the next stage. Live timing running lifted the morale going 15th, 44th, 9th for the morning stages with over 140 riders in the class.
The weather had definitely deteriorated more for the afternoon, going into stage 4 was one of the most brutal stages of the weekend, tough enough in dry conditions the rain made it crazy challenging but I loved it! The lower of stage 5 was altered thanks to the rain fall turing it into a flowing creek so organisers made the call to shift it by the time riders made it to the stage. Thankfully by the time we finally got to our final short sprint stage the rain had slowed down to basically nothing. My results for the afternoon were 9th, 39th, 32nd, 19th to round out the day good enough to place me 24th Overall for the day having a personal goal of Top 50 going into the event.
I took both my Intense bikes down, I almost decided to ride the Tracer with some of the brutal rock sections but felt the 29er Primer was going to be better suited where there was so much pedalling and momentum required, the Schwalbe Magic Mary paired to a Hans Dampf gave a great amount a grip! The bike ran faultless especially considering the conditions it was put through. It was also pretty cool to be one of the first Privateers in the over-all results.
Easter weekend will be a weekend off the bike before going into Falls Creek National Enduro Round 1 April 22nd-23rd.
Thank you to everyone for the help, support and encouragement
Fox Head Aus
My Mountain Melbourne