Thanks to Lindsay Klein for the race report, and Andrew Benson and Styl in Images for the rad snaps.
Maxxis QLD Sunshine Series Round 2 Hennessey Hill Beerburrum
Those that have been racing in Queensland for the last few years would know that Beerburrum this year was an odd race. Us sun loving northerners seem to cancel downhill races at the slightest chance of rain (we don’t like getting our bikes dirty ok). However this time was different, not only were there days of constant rain leading up to the event but the night before a huge 90mm rain fell on the hill. This meant a run in the morning was like riding through a swamp and even a few hours of sun before racing only managed to make everything slicker and more slippery.
To the track and yes you read right before, I referred to it as a “hill”. Locals know that apart from the local town having a rad name (it’s got the word beer in it, what’s not rad about that?) the track isn’t on the biggest pile of dirt around. However the track does it’s best to make up for the lack of elevation with some good flowing turns, a few gaps and some more flowing turns. Usually it’s a simple track to race. Just rail turns, maintain exit speed everywhere and pedal like a fat kid chasing an ice cream truck. Although this time the conditions definitely added another aspect to racing as every little bit of speed mattered. It was imperative to stay out of the deep puddles, mud bogs and not to drift in front of mum and dad no matter how cool your roost was.
Practice was a muddy, messy affair with the track handling the 150+ riders pretty well. It was a surprise to see only a few ruts and muddy bogs develop through the course of the morning. Especially seeing that those enjoying the conditions managed 8-10 runs in the morning. Needless to say you didn’t hear anyone complaining about lack of practice.
Of those punching out runs like he was doing laps at a cross country race was ForTheRiders’ Tim McCullough. He decided to compete on a Santa Cruz Blur TRc, (5 inch travel trail bike) so it makes sense he was confused about what event he was racing. Some thought the bike was to help with the pedally nature of the track, but really we know he just wanted to show off his rad new trail bike.
Qualifying showed up no real surprises: Greg Palmer first, Jensen Woodcock second, myself third, Matt Tape fourth and Antony Moore fifth. Who’s Matt Tape I hear you say? He used to be a constant podium contender in downhill 10 years ago before going to the darkside of road and cross country. After starting work at ForTheRiders, we’ve managed to drag him back to downhill. Although at times he must think he’s back in the 90’s with his riding style, which can only be described as a constant high speed tuck.
A few hours of sun before racing brightened our spirits, and then the dark clouds started building up behind us. Our fingers were crossed that rain wouldn’t hit before racing. After a short break the start gate dropped and the U19’s were sprinting off trying to gain every ounce of time possible. Ben Forbes came down with the fastest time of the day with a 2:01.386 to take the win edging out James Murphy and Max Warshawsky in second and third respectively.
The elite racing saw a few people trade places from qualifying. Once we got to the pointy end of the field Matt showed he was ready for a battle with a time of 2:01.471 which was faster than Greg’s first place qualifier. I was next, my run was clean but I probably didn’t hit a few corners as hard as I should have as I ended up 1.4s off Matt’s time. Jensen was next and came closer but was still 0.6s off. Last off was Greg, a man not short of downhill wins the last few years. Could he beat the 90’s pinner? Not this time it seems, coming down 1.0s off the win. So at only his 2nd DH race in nearly a decade Matt took the win. Looks like you don’t need to teach old dog new tricks.
Although looking at the times the old guy was beaten in the end, by a junior! For those following the times you’ll see young Ben Forbes ended up with the fastest time of the day. Not bad for junior cross country racer who podiumed second in Elite at the Sunshine Series cross country the week before.
Big thanks to the D’Aguilar Range Cycling Club for running another smooth event and to my long standing sponsors/supporters ForTheRiders, Santa Cruz and SRAM/Rockshox.
1 Tape Mat 2:01.471
2 Woodcock Jensen 2:02.131 0.660
3 Palmer Greg 2:02.477 1.006
4 Klein Lindsay 2:02.883 1.412
5 Hallam Daniel 2:03.157 1.686
1 Forbes Benjamin 2:01.386
2 Murphy James 2:02.523 1.137
3 Warshawsky Max 2:03.112 1.726
4 Moss Zac 2:03.766 2.380
5 Brown Tim 2:04.451 3.065