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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Rocky Trail racers compete in mountain bike and trail running endurance events

An impressive line-up of local racers took on a strong field of visiting mountain biking and trail running competitors at the Deep Creek Dam Loop on the weekend for the Jetblack Wild Wombat event. Multiple Australian National Marathon Champion Brendan Johnston wins the cross-country mountain bike four hour race on the Saturday and fellow Canberran and ultra-endurance racer Gwynn McLeod wins the solo female general classification. Luke Olive from Moruya completes three laps on the 8km course as the fastest male in the trail running event on the Sunday. Lauren Evans from South Durras repeats her victory from last year also in the triple run.

The Rocky Trail weekend started with the second race of the Shimano MTB Grand Prix Series took at the Deep Creek Dam Loop in Mogo. Despite most of the NSW Coast line battered with rain, a strong crowd of solo competitors and pairs teams raced for 4 hours under blue skies and in warm autumn conditions. Racers competed for placings across age categories for adults and juniors and in four major General Classification (GC) on the 8km course.

The event had an impressive line-up of fast nationally and internationally acclaimed mountain bikers – and a number of road racers too, who took on the Deep Creek Dam Loop.


“With this racing series want to shine more of a spotlight on people that do the cross-country racing sport well, as its equally important as descending a million miles a hour. The Deep Creek Dam adds a unique trail to the line-up of venues this year with a short but tough climb and sweeping, technical descents”, Rocky Trail's Juliane Wisata said about the event at Mogo, which had challenged the best.


Saturday: GC OVERALL AND SPRINT TITLES FOR BRENDAN JOHNSTON AND GWYNN MCLEOD

For the start, the race organisers lined up the competitors on the Deep Creek Dam wall and Canberra’s Reece Tucknott and former junior Marathon (XCM) National Champ attacked the entire field from the get go with an impressive sprint. Tucknott charged into the single track and took the King of the Mountain climbing title with 2:02min.

His chasers included multiple MTB National Marathon Champion Brendan Johnston, professional road racer Ben Hill, Ed Hall, Ben Allen, Morgan Fitzgerald and the U18 Ludlam brothers. Hot in pursuit also the female line-up with ultra-endurance racer Gwynn McLeod and Em Viotto from Canberra as well as Kellie Finlay and junior racers including Amelie Burrell.

Throughout the first lap, then, the chase group caught up to Tucknott and Johnston took the lead, which he extended to over 2 minutes as he crossed the finish line after lap 1 already. He would keep and extend that lead for the race. Johnston claimed the outright win with 11 laps in 4:09:22. Tucknott came in second on 10 laps in 4:03:33 ahead of Ben Allen (+6:22min).

Em Viotto is the Queen of the Mountain at Mogo with the fastest time on the climbing classification of 2:39min. Gwynn McLeod raced a consistent race in the mean time, clocking in the fastest sprint time with a lap time of 29:48min and the outright female solo win with 8 laps in 4:09:59. The ultra-endurance and acclaimed 24 Hour racer is an old-hand among the Rocky Trail racing field and competes in these short 4 hour events to train and to travel to and race on the versatile courses offered as part of the series.

“I just love this course in Mogo”, Gwynn stated as she crossed the line. “There are so many fun sections and rewarding descents”, she added and that she was looking forward to seeing what the new Mogo Trails development would bring in the coming months.

Brendan Johnston grew up in the Eurobodalla region and said that he knew the trails at Deep Creek Dam well from when he was a junior – and working at the local botanic garden right next to the trail network. He said that he had enjoyed racing with his XCM peers at Mogo and that he had tried to pace himself during the 4 hours, which not only resulted in the fastest lap time of the day with 21:15min but also the outright line honours in the race.

In the juniors, Thomas Ludlam claimed the junior sprint in 23:29min and Amelie was the fastest female sprint junior with a lap time 28:14min. The race also offered solo eBike classifications for male and females. The overall winners in the teams classification in Mogo are Jarrad Davis and Levi Johns with 10 laps in 4:13:11, taking the fourth place outright.

Sunday: A SHOWDOWN OF LOCAL TRAIL RUNNING TALENT

The Sunday saw trail runners hitting the course, braving wet conditions that had returned.

"Rocky Trail has established itself as one of the major mountain bike events promoters and we developed this trail running format specifically for the Deep Creek Dam loop in Mogo", explained Juliane Wisata.

Lauren Evans from South Durras repeated her win from last year in the Triple, training for a half-marathon later this year and finishing in 2:14:01. In the men's Luke Olive from Moruya was our final racer across the line on the day after 1:51:12 - the crew welcomed him in style on the Dam Wall.

"I have never ran this course before, in fact, didn't know it existed", said Luke Olive and that it was always a treat to compete in a single trail race. He added that he had enjoyed Rocky Trail's running format with the neutral feedzone along the dam wall and that he hoped to return next year.


In the Double Laps Batemans Bay's Donna Davis won the women's in 1:38:12 and Shane Howe from Vincentia the men's in 1:37:22. In the Single lap challenge, Craig Hutton (Billywillinga) clocked in a winning 40:40.

The sensation of the day was 12-year old Taylor Traecey from Moruya who completed the track in 43:33, the second-fastest female lap time of the day behind Lauren Evans.

Wisata said that Rocky Trail had been showcasing the potential for trail running and riding activities in Mogo for years. "We are now working in Mogo with our extended Rocky Trail Destination project crews to truly bring this potential to life for the Mogo Adventure Trail Hub. We will help establish a unique nature experience for and with the local business community that will inspire the next generation of local trail blazers and bring many visitors to the region throughout the year", she concluded. Saturday:

  • Race winner (Solo Men's and outright) Brendan Johnston


  • Local fourth outright in Solo Men's, Morgan Fitzgerald


  • Female winner Gwynn McLeod


  • Start sprint (Reece Tucknott charges towards King of the Mountain win):


Sunday:

  • Taylor Traecey


  • Luke Olive Finish


  • Lauren Evans


  • Fun format for all - Rocky Trail Running

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