Top Track at the Coomealla Mountainless Mountain Bike Park, Dareton
The morning of the 26th day of June 2016 was far from the most pleasant. It actually heralded the coldest day in this part of the world since 1989. There was no sun to be had and the sluggish northerly challenged the heat retention techniques of every participant and spectator.
After the comparative carnage of Round 4 (which went unreported: your correspondent puts it down to the trauma of the experience), the Top Track was expected to be something of a straight forward blast due to its comparative lack of technical features. This turned out to be the case. Damo laid out a track that challenged the legs to deliver over long periods rather than the stop start of our usual tracks. Over forty riders showed up to take advantage.
The start at Kookaburra Drive provides a long downhill run over hard ground before weaving past the sewage treatment plant ponds and into the trees. The width and hard surface of the track resulted in a fast and well mixed charge from the punters…and created a couple of moments for some participants. A lapse in handling technique from Bobbie Pappin nearly saw our President dispatched off the pond bank and into a mystery landing in the saltbush some metres below. Only the combination of luck, panic and shouting saved a number of members from coming to grief.
One positive of the long fast start was a quick sorting of the trains of riders…the trail that followed then allowed those trains to largely hold together. There were quite a few close finishes…
Tyler and Sam Barnden (on a rare return, taking advantage of a university break) took off in a class of their own and matched each other throughout their six laps – their only hiccup was a near miss with the resident kangaroos out near Unhappy Valley on the first lap. The two of them led in A grade Mens with Tyler triumphing by 2/10ths of a second. Some minutes later, Rohan Hollis led home a fleet of riders to take third place but there was less than five seconds in it between Rohan, Damo, Nathan Floramo, Mark Furey and Jezza Pappin. Top race, Lads!
Equally impressive was the fast improving David Siladi who also finished only a few seconds behind the A grade fleet to take out B Grade Mens by more than 3 minutes over Andrew Greenfield. Mo Baldock was a further minute and a half back in third…perhaps he was held back as a result of a race long battle with Bobbie Pappin and Sean Dwyer?
In C grade Mens, Nigel recovered quickly from his dice with a Pappin-related demise to implement an impressive first lap charge that unfortunately ended too soon due to his chain having other ideas. Even so, he still managed to hold off Wes Marks for a first place with Peter Gifford following up for a third place.
Despite Bobbie’s widely known and well documented issues with first lap handling and bike cornering (not only tangling with Nigel early on but also mistiming another sharp right later on with Mo Baldock very close behind) she managed another dominant display in the A grade Women’s category. Sonja Mock and Jodie Bray took out second and third respectively. Meanwhile, in B grade Womens, Kerrie Copley triumphed over Hayley Baldock and Lauren Harriss.
The Juniors were out in force in this event and some of riders are continuing to demonstrate their future potential. Laclan Op de Coul took out the A grade Combined Juniors by a three minute margin over Flynn Williams in second place. Bailey Copley rounded out the division in third. In B grade Juniors, Zac and Josh Furey demonstrated a certain amount of family rivalry by finishing their two laps just four seconds apart in that order with Logan Baldock matching his Dad with a third place. In C grade Juniors, the Baldocks were at it again with podium finishes but, in another close finish, Mikaela Lees finished three seconds in front of Georgia Baldock followed up by Declan Baldock (who then demonstrated his keenness to improve by doing another lap!!). All in all an impressive display from our Junior fleet.
On to our next race which is at Merbein on Sunday 17th July…so it is bound to rain again. In the meantime, the Broken Hill mob are doing a special weekend on the 9th and 10th July where they are throwing together four events across their trail network including a sprint UP Fulmen Hill…if this sounds like fun to you then get up there and represent!
In other news, there will be Trail Fairies at work on the Short Track in the coming weeks to repair and maintain trail features. As a result, expect some minor tweaks and changes to some features (notably When the Levee Broke) so please ride accordingly on your first lap to familiarise yourself. Recent activity has seen repairs to Lenny’s Logs and the third jump on the entry to the Play Pen has finally been converted to the table top that was originally intended. Check them out and ride safe.