Per­fect con­di­tions for Buller bike fes­ti­val over weekend

Mansfield Courier - - SPORT -

THE three day Bike Buller MTB Fes­ti­val pre­sented by Kona over the past weekend was kicked off by the Sch­walbe Stir­ling Cir­cuit 50km and 35km XC on Satur­day.

Will Geor of Bal­larat and April McDonough l ed close t o 500 multi-dis­ci­plined moun­tain bik­ers on the open­ing stage of the sixth an­nual event in the scenic Vic­to­rian Alps with per­fect ‘blue-sky’ rid­ing con­di­tions.

Stage one took rid­ers out over Mt Stir­ling and up and down the in­fa­mous Stone­fly trails, which saw Geor and sec­ond place-get­ter Joey Ester­huyzen bat­tling it out all morn­ing with just 23 sec­onds sep­a­rat­ing them over the fin­ish line with Tim Jamieson com­ing in third.

Geor, who rides for iRide Bikes said the course was quite tech­ni­cal and dry in parts, but work­ing with Ester­huyzen helped get them through the chal­leng­ing climbs.

“We worked to­gether for most of the race at the start, then when we got to the back­side of Mt Stir­ling I made a bit of a move,” Geor said.

“But once we were on the other side I re­alised I’d gone a bit hard, so I eased up and Joey caught up again; then it wasn’t un­til just be­fore the chair­lift at the end that I was able to make my move, and it paid off.”

In the women’s pre­mier field, there was an­other close bat­tle on the Stir­ling Cir­cuit, with just one minute sep­a­rat­ing McDonough and Jody Bush (TAS) with Amity McSwan round­ing out the podium for third place.

McDonough was very happy with her ride.

“I went out to­day to ride my own race and not worry about what the oth­ers were do­ing,” said McDonough.

“I knew Jody (Bush) wasn’t too far ahead in the early stages so I just kept plug­ging away on the climbs and de­scents and fi­nally went past her on the fi­nal road sec­tion, so I’m re­ally happy.”

2013 World 24hr Cham­pion Jess Dou­glas used her years of ex­pe­ri­ence to over­come an un­lucky day of tyre is­sues and punc­tures to fin­ish with a very re­spectable fifth plac­ing be­hind young duo McDonough and Bush.

De­spite the mis­for­tunes (Jess stopped three times with me­chan­i­cal is­sues on course) Dou­glas’ pos­i­tive at­ti­tude and love of moun­tain bik­ing and Mt Buller got her to the fin­ish line.

There were plenty of smil­ing faces out on course and at the fin­ish line as en­thu­si­as­tic moun­tain bik­ers got their taste of the world-class trails on of­fer at Mt Buller, with many fam­ily and friends cheer­ing them on.

For the first time, Mt Buller hosted the new Flow Pump Track Pur­suit which was a head-to-head pur­suit style for­mat, open to all rid­ers and it im­pressed the crowd. Stage 1 50km XC Re­sults: Pre­mier Male 1. Will Geor....................... 2:50.50 2. Joey Ester­huyzen......... 2:51.13 3. Tim Jamieson ............... 2:57.22 4. Bryan Dunkin ...............2:59:02 5. Bret Mur­ray...................3:01:07 Pre­mier Fe­male 1. April McDonough ......... 3:28.16 2. Jody Bush .................... 3:29.16 3. Amity McSwan ............. 3:37.19 4. Louise Cook .................3:48:44 5. Jess Dou­glas................3:55:56 Stage 1 35km XC Re­sults Male: 1. Ben Warner .................. 2:17.37 2. Nick Smee .................... 2:23.55 3. Craig Kappes ............... 2:24.53 Fe­male: 1. Kate Maf­fett .................. 2:49.31 2. Kyl­lie Archer ................. 2:58.18 3. Tanya Wig­gins .............. 3:22.45

DOWN­HILL: Will Geor in ac­tion on stage two of the Bike Buller MTB Fes­ti­val over the week­end.

REST TIME: Re­cov­er­ing after stage one were (from left) Joey Ester­huy­sen and Will Geor. PHO­TOS: Rapid As­cent

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