Well the TORQ team recently made their way up to Alice Springs for the Ingkerreke Commercial Mountain Bike Enduro Stage race. On the way up from Melbourne we stop by Adelaide for the ‘Kona Dirty Weekend’ 24hr race in Cudlee Creek Forest, where we had a mixed team of 4 entered with Sarah Holmes, Billy Sewell, Robbie Hucker and my self racing. There wasn’t a very high level of competition and the weekend was more about having a good time, relaxing and enjoying one of the best 24hr tracks I have ever done. The event was great with a really good atmosphere and vibe I would defiantly recommend people put this down as a race to do next year. Check the video out at the bottom to see some footage of the race thanks to Jake Lucas.
Video from Kona Dirt Weekend
The TORQ teams set up at the Kona Dirt Weekend 24hr
After the race was done Sarah headed back to her home in Adelaide and Billy caught his flight back to Sydney and then drove back to Port Macquarie. Me, Robbie and Dean got back in to the TORQ Land rover and heading north up to Melrose where we caught up with Rich at ‘Over the Edge’ bike shop (Video coming shortly), rode some of the wicked trails and spent the night in the caravan park. Before leave we did an other ride this time up to Mt Remarkable where Dean managed to rip the sole of both of his shoes and didn’t stop complaining about it the whole trip.
The ‘Over the Edge’ Bike shop at Melrose is worth popping into for a chat, coffee and a look around
Way to many kilometer
We all got use to this view on the drive up to Alice Springs
Back on the road again in the Land rover this time Melrose to Coober Pedy via Port Augusta. I think both me and Robbie where surprised at just how little there is out there in the middle of Australia because after leaving Port Augusta there is just about nothing apart from the odd small town and servos, which are about 250km apart with nothing in between. Me and Robbie wanted to get a ride in the way up, so after packing up the caravan at Coober Pedy we headed out along the Stuart Highway towards Alice Spring with Dean stopping every now and again to check on as and after about 90km of seeing the same, basically dead flat straight road and scenery our minds said that it was enough and we had a quick shower on the side of the road in the caravan before jumping in for the final leg of the trip up to Alice.
Me and Robbie on our ride up the Stuart high way (Basically looked the same for 90km)
Quick shower on the side of the road after the ride then back on our way
We had arrived a bit early leaving a couple of days for me and Robbie to do some exploring on our road bikes as well as the mountain bikes. I was surprised at how nice it was having the Mac Donnell range to look at while out riding. On the road bike there are about 4 roads, which you can ride on. You can ether go North-South on the Stuart High way or East-West along the Ross High way or Red Center way, which made for slightly boring training but it was a nice to change to be riding somewhere different and being able to look at the different scenery.
On one of our road rides in Alice Springs before the race
On to the racing, the reason way we traveled all this way any way. The format for the ‘Ingkerreke Commercial Mountain Bike Enduro’ is 7 stages over 5 days starting on Monday with a 42km stage, which started basically in the middle of the Alice Springs Township with a police escort to lead as out of town, which was nice. It wasn’t long before the short sharp hill climb just after the escort had pulled off shorted out the field. I had done quite a bit of training leading into the race and was feeling a bit tired and lacked the short sharp effort that was need and it wasn’t long before Robbie and Andy Blair rode away from me. I was catch by Ben Hogarth and it wasn’t until he got a flat tyre after the feed station that I rode on my own again.
Stage 1 results
- Andy Blair 1:30:33
- Robbie Hucker 1:31:16
- Jack Haig 1:33:03
Billy Sewell got a number of flat tyres and finish 78th in 2:03:16
Sarah Holmes finish 5th in female category in 1:58:03
Andy Blair talking about stage 1
Stage 2 was a very short sharp hill climb sprint lasting around 50 seconds; it was run on Monday afternoon up Anzac hill in the middle of Alice Springs. With time bonuses up for grabs for 1st and 2nd it was a stage to do well in. Ben Hogarth and Andy Blair made a tactical move and used MTB slicks instead of their fat normal mountain bike tyres, which was a good move with both of them getting 1st and 2nd on the stage.
Stage 2 results
- Ben Hogarth 00:00:25 (with time bonuses take off the time)
- Andy Blair 00:00:36 (with time bonuses take off the time)
- Robbie Hucker 00:00:49
Jack Haig 7th with 00:00:53
Sarah Holmes put in and awesome effort and took out the win the female category
Billy Managed to put in a flying hill spring, but he forgot his transponder so we will never know what time he did. Silly Billy!!!!
Stage 3 was just under 50km and started at 9am from the Telegraph Station on Herbert Heritage Drive just outside of Alice. Both me and Robbie where hoping to do a little bit better then the day before and close the gap between us and Andy Blair. But it wasn’t to be with me and Robbie take the wrong line on 2 different section, which gave Andy Blair and Nick Both the opportunity to skip away from us and we never saw Andy again but I managed to get past Nick in the final couple of kilometres. Robbie had a tough day not having the legs he wanted and then with in sight of the finish line he crash and went over the bars not seeing the 3 lamp post, which where hiding in some long grass. The crash ended his race and cracked his right elbow quite badly, which will put him off his bike for around 3 weeks.
Stage 3 results
- Andy Blair 2:0419
- Jack Haig 2:05:42
- Nick Both 2:06:47
- Robbie Hucker 2:09:34
Billy came in 10th with a time of 2:17:27
Sarah came in 5th with a good time of 2:50:28
Billy was a bit tired after stage 3 and fell a sleep after his shower before he had a chance to put cloths on
Me talking about stage 3
Stage 4 was the longest stage of the race being 77km and it was the stage that I wanted to try and get a win on. The day started out with Andy skipping a way from me in the first long sandy section and me playing catch up for the fairly amount of the first quart of the race. I managed to get on to Andy’s wheel a couple of kilometres before the first feed station, which was at the 25km point. After the feed we sat up a bit and waited for Nick both because for the next 25km the course used bitumen bike path and roads and it was going to be an advantaged to have a larger group to swap off with. About half way a long the bike track we where caught by Ben Hogarth making it a perfect size group of 4. The group worked well together until the last climb up to the top of the ridge where me and Andy got away and it wasn’t far after that that it went all wrong for me, as I crashed on one of the fast rocky descents and went over the bars and damage my shoulder which would put me out of the rest of the stages and the race.
Stage 4 results
- Andy Blair 2:50:15
- Nick Both 2:51:54
- Jack Haig 2:53:40
- Billy Sewell 2:53:45
Sarah Holmes didn’t have a very good day and didn’t finish where see had hoped to and came across the line in 10th.
Stage 4 highlights
My handle bars after my crash on Stage 4. Broken where my brakes clamp onto the bars
The walking wounded after me and Robbie both crashed out of the race. Robbie on stage 3 and me on Stage 4
I can’t write much more about the last 3 stages because I didn’t ride them because of my shoulder, but I will put up the video highlights and interviews so you can get an idea of what they where like. I would defiantly recommend this race as another her race to put on your calendar for 2013.
Stage 5 saw Sarah Holmes take her second win of the race in the time trail and Billy the kid put in a good effort to get 4th.
Stage 6 highlights
Overall Winner Andy Blair and Melissa Anset interview
Sarah and Billy where the only TORQ rider left to finish the race after me and Robbie crash and both of them finishing well with billy finishing 12th overall after the 7 stages and Sarah finishing 4th in the Female category.
A massive thanks to Dean and Gen at TORQ for all their support, Rapid Ascent for putting on the event, everyone else for turning up and making a great event and a special thanks to my grandparents who have been helping support me through out the year and for supporting my up coming overseas trip to America to Race the Mount Saint Ann World Cup, Windham World Cup, a couple of other events and if everything goes well hopefully World Champs later in the year.
Some More photos:
Its Amazing the amount of cows hanging out on the side of the Stuart High way
The view over Alice Springs on one of my walks
Billy Happy after 4th place in stage 6 the night race