With Toowoomba hosting the latest round of the SEQ Enduro series the weekend prior, it was time for the big bikes to come out to play. A staple of the series, the Toowoomba DH track is always a favourite of riders with its combination of fast open sections, flowy switchbacks and wheel wrecking rocks. With two rounds already in the books, it was time for riders to either back up their earlier results or seek redemption to win back bragging rights over their mates.
Pre-practise chat's, where the topic can range from which lines are best, who's looking fast, who's sandbagging and whether that extra beer the night before was a smart move.
Team Ashgrove Giant preparing to get their choo choo on.
The top of the track is corner after corner of powdery dust. By the time racing came around though, big braking bumps were forming leading into every corner.
Lisa Mathison wasted no time sending everything on course, showing exactly why she's won both rounds so far for the women.
Sam Fraser has only two rules, always look good for the camera and always have a banana tucked into your goggle strap.
When every fraction of a second counts, stopping to double check sections and talk the options over is always a good idea.
Eyes forward, lean back and resist the urge to pull the brakes. Easier said than done though.
The dust doesn't last forever though and it all starts with this steep, rock/concrete chute. From experience, it's not somewhere you want to go down.
After the chute dodging all the small sniper rocks along the ridge line becomes key. There's plenty to kick you off line or puncture on.
Young and old(er) racing helps mix groups who normally wouldn't ride together.
Rocky corners might be good for sustainability but they definitely don't make for wheel friendly tracks.
Did we mention rocks?
While the A-line might not be mandatory, if you're wanting a good result they're essential.
While other's sent it getting the top of their head cut out as a result.
I spy with my little eye, something beginning with 'S'.
While the focus was definitely on the downhill, plenty of locals were out on all the other trails on offer at Jubilee Park enjoying the warm winters day.
With the introduction of the Enduro class in place of hardtail, more and more people are joining the fun. At the end of the day, it's all just about riding a bike.
It seemed half the riders were sticking tight to take the inside line through this left hander.
The other half came flying around the outside. While it was a longer line, it could easily be done without slowing down.
Sideways Sam took a break from flipping his DH bike to keep it simple.
After getting 5th in U17 at the previous round, Caleb Rees was pushing hard to get back to the winning pace he had at Kenilworth.
Ben Power, always smooth and consistently at the pointy end of the Elite category.
Birds eye view of the ski jump.
Eyes forward, elbows wide and tip it in.
A self-confessed hater of pedalling, if it can't be ridden chainless then Sunni won't rate it as a downhill track. Luckily Toowoomba has berms like this for him to rail and keep up his momentum.
The rockgarden has been playing match maker between riders pants and their rear tyre for years now.
While 650b might be the norm with new DH bikes now, plenty of people still rock the smaller wheels of older bikes #26aintdead.
Some riders were on even smaller wheels still. Despite spending a fair of time looking at the drop out of the rock garden in practise, by the time racing came around he'd got it.
This kicker has definitely worn down over the years from it's Huck Contest glory days, but riders still find ways to get the most out of it.
Daniel Hallam rolling through the trees on one final practise lap.
After the lunch time break everyone was heading to the shuttle pick up point to get racing underway.
With a turn out of 7 girls consistently this year, the competition is tougher than ever in SEQ.
Mc Gav was on the mike all day, big shout out to all the volunteers (marshals, shuttle drivers, rego tent and timing). The event couldn't get off the ground without you.
Current Elite series leaders Ryan Leutton and Lisa Mathison chatting with local news about the sport.
Is it really a finish line without a finish line jump?
What's the point of having suspension if you don't use all of it?
Joseph Lester performed a quick, mid-air bike change. On the left is the normal 2016 Specialized Demo, on the right is the 2017 1" travel model, guaranteed to scrape on speedbumps.
Even on the lower sections of track you can't escape hecklers in Toowoomba.
Rob Stone, putting younger riders to shame.
Post race run it's time to get your heckle on.
After laying it over during qualifying, Tracy Knight would remain upright to claim 2nd in the Women's.
Lisa Mathison continued her dominating streak leading up to a trip to Canada to race Crankworx by making it 3/3 wins this season.
Post race run it's time to get your heckle on.
Sunni found his way to the top step in Masters 1/2 with a time of 3:05.07. Investigations are being conducted to determine if he pedalled.
This corner was all about who could get lowest and Harry Donald was leading that charge. 8th in Elite for the junior rider.
Nose tapping the gap out of the rocks.
Caleb Rees making it count in his race run to win u17 with a time of 3:05.9.
Niki Barber made it 3/3 in u19. After putting an 11second gap to 2nd in qualifying with a 2:55.6, Niki would only manage a 3:04.7 in finals but it was enough to hold onto the win.
After qualifying 4th, Ben Power would go down hard in finals. Luckily he was able to get up and roll down the hill but his day was done.
More than one rider got a bit sketchy through these rocks throughout the day. Toowoomba's famous jumping trees can be seen on the right, responsible for claiming Ben Power during his race run.
With his banana now on the left side of his helmet to help with his cornering, Sam Fraser would finish 5th with a 2:52.2.
Young gun Jerry Armstrong came flying into 4th, narrowly missing out on a medal position by 0.7 seconds.
Toowoomba local Andrew Cavaye would take the top spot in qualifying with all the pressure of being the last man down the hill. 3rd on the day with a 2:50.8.
Ryan Leutton pushed hard but could only manage 2nd on the day but it was enough to increase his lead in the overall.
Fresh of racing as a junior in the world cups, Harry Bush would continue the form that saw him to a 2nd in Lenzerheide by taking his first Elite win with a time of 2:46.7, a full 2-seconds up on 2nd. Even with missing a race, Harry now sits 2nd in the overall.
At the end of the day, it's time to make your way back down the hill, fix up the broken bikes, let the bruised bodies heal and get ready for state champs to be held in a month. Until next time!