If the sublime scenery and epic ocean views didn’t knock competitors and spectators out – then the course for the Southern Exposure 6hr MTB Festival did!
More than 1500 hyped mountain bike enthusiasts from across Australia hit the Surf Coast shores to watch the line up for the mass start of the Southern Exposure 6hr and 3hr twilight enduro ride at Eumeralla on Saturday. Mountain bikers tested their bodies and bikes and in some cases their friendships while pedalling through the Surf Coasts hidden treasure of world class mountain bike trails.
After only three years of existence, the Surf Coast 6hr could lay claim to being Australia’s most popular 6hr night race – proof not only of its iconic status amongst all levels of riders and attracting international riders, but also of the magnitude to which this iconic Surf Coast event inspires all who ride it.
South African competitor Ed Sturrock said, ”I’ve raced some iconic international races and the vibe here was excellent with a great spirit amongst the riders which is great for overseas competitors. The course was outstanding, a good length of single track which was clearly marked, not too challenging but certainly of a high standard. This race definitely ranks as one of the better races I’ve done.”
Scott Chancellor confirmed his pedigree as one of Victoria’s top all round mountain bikers when he extended his current streak of impressive results to claim his second consecutive title at the Southern Exposure Surf Coast 6hr MTB Festival at the weekend.
Chancellor’s victory was sweet as he not only conquered a demanding 6 hours of riding into the night, but he beat off a high quality field, including sibling Sam Chancellor and 2007 title holder Troy Bailie. Chancellor said, “it’s a great race with a big turnout for a 6hr event. All the climbs had rewarding downhills and the race had a fantastic atmosphere. It was a close finish, with the other guys just minutes behind me. I guess it was my lucky day”.
With the absence of elite mountain biker Jess Douglas, Courtney Shinn dominated with her aggressive riding style to take the top podium spot in the 6hr solo women’s category ahead of and Torquay local, Jo King in second place and Linda Wylie cruising into third.
Shinn, a recent convert from triathlons said, “I didn’t own a mountain bike until March this year and I haven’t done much night riding, but the event was so well organised that I had nothing to worry about; just jump on the bike and start peddling. She added, “The course was awesome, free flowing single track and felt really nice to ride. The sandy sections and short steep climbs kept the race challenging.”
Another surprise win were the local Evan’s sisters, taking out their wily Melbourne Rivals in the 6hr Female Team category. “We managed good lap times on the fast single track which suited all levels of rider. We’re so motivated after our win, we’re already talking about training for our next race”.
Mick Sheehan, event director said “We’ve already had so much positive feedback. The weather was on our side and the improved village and track design seemed to go down well with both the elite competitors as well as the social team entries.”
Men’s 6hr Team member David Macdonald commented, “We managed to improve on our 5th last year and snag 2nd in the 6hr men’s 3's, so as you could imagine we're over the moon. We all loved the changes to the track, is was so much faster for all of us and without the fast bumpy corners from the first half of last year a lot less punishing on the body. Even though it was longer we lapped in pretty much the same times as last year.”
Event Organisers, Southern Exposure were also thrilled with the level of junior competition. Sonia Ivetac, event manager said, “Hopefully these junior riders will continue to build skills, ride for fun and may continue to pursue racing. It’s great to see so many keen young riders out there.”
Thomas Power pulled off a feisty win in the 6hr Junior Solo category while, SPC 1st School team blasted into 1st place ahead local Geelong school team GBC Rockets in the 3hr Schools Category.
Full results are available on the race website at www.surfcoast6hour.com.au