All eyes will focus on the best mountain bikers in the country racing in the final round of the Real Insurance Australian Mountain Bike Season in Newcastle this weekend (March 2-4).
The season that began in Perth in November has travelled to Thredbo, Mt Buller and Canberra, through all kinds of challenging terrain and conditions.
The revamped Real Insurance Australian MTB season was divided into two halves for season 2011/12, with the Gravity Cup encompassing the DownHill side of the sport, and the All Mountain Cup providing the stage for the cross-country riders to battle on.
In the men's side of the Real Insurance Gravity cup, reigning dual Junior World Champion and newly-crowned National Champion Troy Brosnan (SA) is leading the season by a dominant 79.5 points from former triple Elite World Champion Sam Hill (WA).
With 120 points on offer for the Gravity Cup in Newcastle, Brosnan will be the clear favourite to take the Cup, a phenomenal achievement in his rookie season in Elite.
2006 Junior World Champion Tracey Hannah (QLD) has already won the women's Gravity Cup with a safe151 point leads. And while the recently crowned National Champion will not be present due to international commitments, she will leave both the mountain bike community and her competitors in awe of her flawless undefeated season in her return to the sport.
Michelle Crisp (NSW) and Trudy Nicholas (ACT) sit in a close second and third respectively, and are expected to have a great battle in Newcastle.
In the All Mountain Cup, experience is shining throug with two of Australia's senior riders currently in the lead, with Andrew Blair (NSW) holding a 33 point lead from 2004 Olympian Sid Taberley (TAS).
With 80 points up for grabs, Taberley would need to find some of his best form to attempt to reel-in Blair, who after an excellent first two rounds of the series reconfigured his goals and has focussed on maintaining his lead to win the Cup. Talented Josh Carlson (NSW) will be racing to defend his third and possibly push for a second-place with some excellent results.
Jenni King (VIC), will be racing in the green and gold stripes after winning her first National Championship last weekend in Adelaide. It's not as if King needed more confidence coming in to Newcastle, as she has also wrapped up the Real Insurance All Mountain Cup with an unassailable lead of 125 points.
King is having the summer that most athletes only ever dream of, winning 8 out of 11 Elite National races she has entered, and will be racing in Newcastle to put the icing on the cake of her best ever season.
Every second will count for resurgent Jodie Willet (QLD) and Jenny Fay (IRL), sitting in second and third place in the season respectively. Willet is a slender 9 points in front of Fay.
Racing will be take place at Awaba Mountain Bike Park, a purpose built facility at Mount Fork Road Cooranbong.
This is the first time that a round of the Real Insurance Australian MTB Season has been held in the Hunter region, with the excellent reputation of the Awaba tracks and the growing reputation for mountain biking in the Hunter combining to make for an exciting weekend.
All Awaba trails have excellent vantage points with trail-side access. With dynamic viewing and free entry, the general public are welcome to come and see the most skilled riders in the country battle it out for the Real Insurance Australian MTB Season.
Friday will see a Cross-Country time-trial to kick-start the All Mountain Cup, with All Mountain riders then racing on Saturday an Olympic-format cross-country race and finishing on Sunday with a 25km point-to-point race. Gravity Cup riders will complete seeding runs on Sunday afternoon with racing taking place on Sunday. 2011/12 Australian MTB Season website here:
Real Insurance All Mountain & Gravity Cup Rounds 4
March 2-4, 2012
Awaba Mountain Bike Park
Onley State Forest, Cooranbong NSW
Thursday Night Registration and Entry session
Will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Wharf Road Newcastle from 7 - 9pm in the Breakwater Boardroom.
All new entries made on Thursday - Saturday to the Real Insurance All Mountain and Gravity Cups in Awaba will be accepted at the discounted pre-entry cost = a massive 25% discount of the full entry fee.
(Photo credit: Caleb Jackson)
cycling, bicycle, bicycle racing, mountain bike, bicycle race, event, cycling event, mtb, cycling news, cycle, cyclenation, Real Insurance MTBA National Series, Gravity Cup, Awaba, Troy Brosnan, Sam Hill, Ben Cory