Nestled on the steep Toowoomba range, Jubilee Park played host to the first round of the 2018 MTBA GE cup. The first round kicked off with a bang with of 250 riders hitting the course. With the race being run in conjunction with the SEQ Enduro series, the start list was littered with a stack of Queensland entrants with riders also making the long trek from NSW, SA, ACT, VIC & WA. Known for its dusty, rocky, tight and fast trails and for being the home trails of none other than Jared Graves, riders were in for a long, arduous and physical race.
The race consisted of 6 gruelling stages with over 900 vertical meters of climbing. Riders were split into two groups in a set stage order format, with each running order set opposite to the other to spread riders across the hill and reduce delays. In addition to this, set start times for stage 1 and 4 meant riders needed to manage their time and energy efficiently to ensure they met their start times.
Naturally dusty all year round, the trails had been running ‘well’ recently due to some much-needed rain. Come race day, however, the trails were back to the usual dusty self, meaning carnage was likely to ensue.
Men’s and Women’s Elite
The Women’s Elite, while lower on numbers than the Men’s, saw some close racing between places 2-4, while the winner Jessica Hoskin took a convincing win in all stages with a time of 27:57.05. Annelie Marquardt would follow in second place, 1 minute and thirty seconds back with a time of 29:27.53, taking 2nd place in stages 1-4, a third in stage 5, and a 5th in the final stage of the day. Rounding out the podium was Rachel Hore with a time of 29:48.60, including strong finish with a 2nd place on stage 6.
With a stacked Elite Men’s field of 41 riders, there were many local riders with experience on these trails. For the others from interstate, it would be a test of their ability to ride to unexpected trails and conditions. Tight racing was the order of the day, with the top ten riders all within the same minute after 24 odd minutes of racing.
The competition for the podium was intense, with a three-way battle for 3rd, 4th and 5th only separated by 2 seconds. A tight battle raged for 1st & 2nd place, as the top 2 riders swapped the lead multiple times throughout the day. In the end, it would be the local boy Andrew Cavaye who would take the win and extend his lead in the overall points race for the SEQ enduro series with a time of 23:39.62. 2nd place would go to podium mainstay, the consistently fast Ryan Leutton with a time of 23:44.77 and a significant gap 13 seconds clear to third.
The first of the final three spots on the podium was won by Nerang Giant rider Stu Cali 3:58.48 further cementing himself as a serious podium threat. Interstate elite rider Michael Vanos of Nicks Cycles in NSW in 4th place missing that third spot by just 0.16 seconds with a time of 23:58.63. Rounding out the podium was SEQ legend Linsday Klein riding for Mountain Bikes Direct with a time of 23:59.67, just over a second back from 4th.
And that’s a wrap from the hills of Toowoomba!
A huge thanks to MTBA, White Lightning Events, all the volunteers as well as TMBC for all their hard effort in keeping things running smoothly on the day. Also a huge thanks to TMBC for their efforts in providing and maintaining a fantastic venue, the trails were running sweet all weekend!
A special thanks to the team at Jonny Sprockets in Toowoomba for setting us up with a Merida eBike for the weekend. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to cover the riders and tracks that we have! If you’re ever in the area, go check their shop out!