Mixed Teams Racing at the JetBlack/WSMTB 12 Hour

Mixed teams racing demands mixed teams tactics, most of which revolve around the chick.  Can she bake good muffins? Is she quick off the gun? And, where it gets dirty, is she prepared to sit out a lap if the team is down a few minutes on the win. Working as a team when riders are blown or injured complicates this a bit, but gaining a victory in this category with an even ratio of laps is certainly a satisfying way to do it.

The event centre vibe at the JetBlack/WSMTB 12 Hour makes for great times off the bike as well.

Cannondale rider, Jorge Baron, keeps warm between laps in his pro team jacket.

At Saturday’s JetBlack/WSMTB 12 Hour race, hosted by Rocky Trail Entertainment at the Dargle Farm enduro track, the Subaru-MarathonMTB.com mixed four duked it out with the Stevens team all day long. Andrew Arthur’s enviable hot laps pulled their team to the front of the game as the male laps unfolded, and at the end of each cluster of four, I seemed to catch Emma Bussell on the final technical climb. Racing was tight, grins were big and the rain that threatened to ruin the event never appeared.

The gap between Stevens and Subaru-MarathonMTB.com was tight all day.
“Tag! You’re it!” Adam Scrivener sends Rae-Anne Hardie out on another blisteringly fast lap.

Off the bike, I enjoyed getting to know the blokes on my own team better (Tate Dogan, Gary Harwood and Jorge Baron) and hanging out with my training buddies – Jeremy and Adam Scrivener,  Marty Johnson and Rae-Anne Hardie – riding for Bicycle Garage in a mixed four as well. Both groups had a few mechanicals that could have quickly ended the race but quality teamwork, thoughtful preparation and generous support from race sponsors, Blackman Bicycles, prevented any dramas from putting a dampener on the day.

A well-prepared teammate is everyone’s best friend at a race like this one.
Brian “Big Dog” Price’s ute got the best view of the sky at dusk.

A massive rainbow and an extraordinary sunset signaled the beginning of the night laps and the onset of fatigue. The Steven’s blokes went hard on the final laps which gave them the win while I thanked my team for letting me have a bit more fun in the dark. Norm Douglas, supporting wife Jessica for the solo crown, threw down a fastest female night lap challenge and geed me up to give it a crack. I had the lights, I just needed the flow and the legs. I spent part of the lap giggling to the heckles of bearded singlespeeding icon, Brett Bellchambers, trying not to stack my brains out in front of a smooth riding Andy Hall and remembering how to hurt. These guys had been riding continuously since 9am that morning and make racing look easy. I crossed the line 30 seconds shy of night lap victory but with that adrenaline-filled buzz of going your hardest. I love that a good event allows for pain, ego and laughter to come together in combinations like that one.

Reiner Schuster takes a well-earned rest on his way to clocking up 12 laps in the men’s pairs.
Podium time. L-R: Subaru-MarathonMTB.com, Stevens, Bicycle Garage.

For full results and links to photos from the race track, head over to the Rocky Trail Entertainment site. Jess Douglas and Jason English won their respective solo categories but did so posting some of the fastest, most consistent laps of the day. Their race speed and endurance was a talking point of most riders in teams and deserves respect and congratulations. The vibe from everyone on the race track was full of friendly support and competition earning respect and congratulations too.

Last of all, thank you to my own team and our sponsors for another brilliant day in the dirt. If anyone missed out on these delicious almond and banana muffins, I promise to make another batch for the next event. Yum!

Photos: Kath Bicknell (most) and Amy Bardsley-Smith (pode).