Nationals Update: Moama - What a race venue. Next Stop Bright

Post date: Mar 5, 2014 12:22:38 AM

See report with pictures included at bottom of article.

5 NEMTB members made the epic Journey to Moama for the final round of the National Series on the purpose built track on the banks of the Murray. First inspection showed a track of about 5km that was flat and flowy with not much room to overtake, starts were going to be crucial. After a couple of practice laps, the course was dialled in and we were a little worried that the absence of hills would not be the best for the mountain bred riders. We went off to do a little sightseeing as this is a pretty picturesque bit of country and after the obligatory visit to the bike shop and tourist points the team was ready to ride.

Saturday morning saw Jack Felthan (the now veteran of 3 national rounds) and Mick Harris ready to take on the countries best on a new track. We soon found out that Moama must be in a good spot because all the big gun riders were there and ready to ride which is what we were looking for a fortnight out from the National Champs in Bright. The race started at breakneck speed with Jack smashing the start but soon having a altercation with a pole and settling back just off the lead group of 5 riders. Mick in the meantime knew Jack was a good starter and grabbed his wheel dragging him into 2nd place where he sat comfortably for just over a lap. Things were looking good as Mick was patiently sitting on the leaders wheel when the guy in 3rd decided that an impossible overtake was the call and took himself and Mick out in the process. This shook things up a bit and the leader got out to about a 20 second lead and was never headed. Mick got going again and sitting in 4th after 2 laps and Jack a bit further back in 6th have a tussle with the guy in 5th. The 3rd and final lap saw Mick close the gap on the front bunch and pushed into a sprint finish for 2nd but narrowly missed out. Jack held on for a solid ride into 6th (his best of the series). Both boys learned a lot from this race and will take some confidence and experience into the Champs.

Next Race was Holly and she was up against a star studded field of elite riders and having to start at the back of the grid made things a little more complicated. She got boxed in at the start and was well back, but after a little hard work she managed to get herself back onto a second group of 3 elite riders that were lapping about 30seconds behind the lead group of Bec Henderson, Jenni King and Peta Mullens. Holly managed to stick with the same group for the whole race and held on for 9th overall in probably the best field for riders for the year and finished about 4 minutes behind Bec the winner. This put her comfortably the winner of the u/23's and looking really strong the champs.

That evening saw the warm down tennis match take its toll and Chris (the water boy)Feltham, he tore his ACL whilst trying a high backhand smash. Bottle duties for the Sunday Enduro were now twice as difficult as he was now limited to one leg. The Parents went on to win the Tennis comfortably against an obviously fatigued opposition.

Sunday was to be a big day with the XCE and an Enduro - our work was done at this stage but it was good to use as a training hit out. Jack was super strong in the Eliminator and was unlucky to finish 5th, Mick got knocked out in the first round after dropping a pedal, Holly got pipped in a sprint with Bec Henderson to finish 4th and I ended up 6th.

The Enduro was a bit like groundhog day, the 5kms of flowy trail soon became a little monotonous for a 2 and 1/2 hour Enduro and the team was a little sore after the previous days hit out. Holly went on to win the Womens, Mick and Jack were 2nd and 3rd in the Juniors and I held on for 2nd in the Masters.

Holly was also earned second in the series for XCO and XCE which was a great effort since she only made it to one round.

All in all as coach I was really happy with the performance of the team and I am really looking forward to some strong riding at National champs. We tested ourselves against the best riders and got a great feel for what we can achieve. The team swells for this round with the Hoskings and the Woosters joining the fray and bringing the junior team to a massive 6 riders who are all strong chances of climbing aboard the podium at the hilly Bright track.

Racing will start on Friday.