The Toowoomba range played host to the sixth round of the Australian National DH and XC Series. In an exciting weekend of racing the top spot in many of the Downhill categories were up for grabs with only split seconds separating top riders.
With Richie Rude in town to contest against many of Aussie's national riders, the top step of the podium was far from decided.
Jared Graves was looking strong and fast all weekend on his hometown trails with the dusty and unpredictable sections to his liking, giving him a bit of an advantage come race day.
Graeme "Muddy" Mudd was the consistent rider of the National series with a guaranteed series win, however he was determined to chase Jared Graves who seeded 3 seconds faster. Jared had only raced one other series round in Thredbo previously this season.
Jared had the fastest pace during seeding runs followed by Richie with a gap of 2.79 seconds.
Seeding Results for Elite Male:
2:51.16 - Jared Graves
2:53.95 - Richie Rude
2:54.12 - Graeme Mudd
2:55.35 - Thomas Crimmins
2:55.66 - Adrian Dawson
In the women's elite field, Tegan Molloy and Danielle Beecroft were in a head to head battle for the series points. Tegan enjoyed an extra day of practice on the Toowoomba trails, but both were looking strong and it was going to come down to the wire.
Seeding Results for Elite Female:
3:23.97 - Tegan Molloy
3:27.17 - Danielle Beecroft
3:27.24 - Lisa Mathison
3:32.39 - Sarah Booth
3:37.61 - Kellie Weinert
The downhill trail 'Mackenzie Frenzy' kept everyone on their toes. It's an especially slippery trail in dry conditions with large sections of loose and unpredictable rocks ready to punish riders and their wheels if they came even slightly off their line.
Sunday afternoon brought around the DH finals. Some cloud coverage provided relief from the harsh sun but the track was running hot and dusty and was breaking up after seeing plenty of action over the last two weeks.
Richie Rude was hoping for a repeat of the 2015 Oceania Champs in Toowoomba where he edged out Jared for the win, before Jared reclaimed the top step in the National race the following day.
Final rider to hit the start gate, Jared was confident leading into the finals. With a slow leak in his rear tire immediately before racing he had to give it a couple of pumps of air before heading down the range.
It was a hot Saturday for the XCO racing which tested competitors on long tough single track climbs, followed by some smooth flowy descents.
Special thanks were given by riders to the Toowoomba Mountain Bike Club and MTBA for a successful event.
Next up, the National Champs are in Bright, Victoria on the 17-20th March. With the UCI World Cup in Cairns coming up in April the MTBA crew and all of the riders will be putting in the hours to ensure a successful event on the world stage.