It may have been a frosty minus four-degree start to the day but Tamworth Mountain Bike Park turned on the charm to host the final round of the Northern Inland Cross Country Mountain Bike Series.
A warm fire pit and hot coffee (thanks Delish coffee van) held the racers over until the morning sun hit the start line and heralded a perfect race day.
Sixty-five mountain bikers from across the New England region (plus a few stray coasties) converged on Tamworth Mountain Bike Park, seeking the last opportunity for points towards the five-race series.
The cross-country Olympic format required racers to ride a specified number of laps according to their race category, with elite riders racing up to six laps and under-15 riders racing two laps.
The three local mountain bike clubs – Tamworth Mountain Bikers, Inverell Mountain Bike Club and New England Mountain Bike Club – hosted rounds of the series. Riders also got the chance to test their skills on trails in Walcha, the University of New England in Armidale and The Piney in Inverell.
With a challenging six-kilometre loop and two serious hill climbs up Central Mountain and North Hill, at an altitude of 140m per lap, riders at round five in Tamworth were certainly tested. They were also treated to a diverse trail of rocky technical climbing, feature-laden descents and the roller coaster through Creek Line.
LOOSE IS GOOD: Nathan Watson feels the need for speed at Tamworth Mountain Bike Park.
The lure of a few funky features diverted some racers’ attention from the job at hand.
After almost two months of racing, the final standings are as follows:
Elite female: 1. Jodi Mayled. 2. Holly Harris. 3. Alyssa Rogan.
Elite male: 1. Brent Rees. 2. Brad Newman. 3. Peter Horwood.
19-39 male: 1. Patrick Ferris. 2. Russell Maxwell, Lewis Warn and Carl Hooton.
40+ female: 1. Tara Schalk. 2. Laurie Willis. 3. Barb Hosking.
40+ male: 1. Peter Hosking. 2. Mark Willis. 3. Scott Hamilton.
50+ female: 1. Michelle Rees.
50+ male: 1. Ian Rees. 2. Paul Billings. 3. Stephen Rumble.
Under-19 female: 1. Emily Wooster.
Under-19 male: 1. Stevie Roberts. 2. Conor Noonan. 3. Nathan Watson.
Under-17 female: 1. Isabella Hosking. 2. Emily Meehan. 3. Olive Tutt.
Under-17 male: 1. Tumi Thorsteinsson. 2. Sam Feltham. 3. Joel McIntyre.
Under-15 females: 1. Isla Maidment. 2. Sophia Butler.
Under-15 males: 1. Justin Roberts. 2. Eddie Willis. 3. Blake Newman.
Under-13: 1. Lucas Flanagan. 2. Josh Deasey. 3. Kal Blair.
Recreation female: 1. Debbie Blake. 2. Cathy Flanagan. 3. Lisa Roberts.
Recreation male: 1. Josh Deasey. 2. Kev McIntyre. 3. Daniel Blake, Craig Roberts, Adam Flanagan, Chris Feltham and Jasper Thistle.