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After five exciting rounds, the SRAM Singletrack Mind Series was set for an action packed finale at the Awaba Mountain Bike park near Newcastle. As the largest round in the Series with over 360 entrants, it’s pretty clear that the swooping singletrack of Awaba is universally adored! Not even the thought of 8 hours of riding in temperatures around the mid-thirties could put riders off.

The series standings featured some battles that were set to go down to the wire in the final round, the solo men especially so. Despite winning 3 out of 4 rounds, Ed McDonald would still need to beat his mate and nemesis Andrew Hall to claim the overall Series victory. Hall won the final round and the Series last year so McDonald knew he would have his work cut out for him. After marking each other for 4 hours, the decisive moment came on the short but very steep Camelback climb as McDonald accelerated away from Hall and slowly prised open a gap that would remain until the conclusion of the race. McDonald taking the Series, Hall in 2nd for the race and the Series. …View More

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Hall back on top as SRAM Singletrack Mind Series hits the Highlands. The third new venue of the SRAM Singletrack Mind Series for 2012, Welby in the NSW Southern Highlands served up a course that had something for everyone. Lovingly crafted by the Southern Highlands Cycling Club the venue is a great reuse of what was formerly the Council tip, however the trails are far from “rubbish” with fine swooping singletrack, technical rock sections and fast flowing descents, receiving overwhelming praise but with the soloists noting they would be in for a tough day out.

Off the start a number of solo riders held top 10 positions including Canberrans Mark Tupalski and Andrew Hall. Tupalski set to establishing a lead on his rivals but a major mechanical half way through the first lap saw his race essentially come to an end. With Tupalski out and his nemesis for the Series Ed McDonald also out due to injury, Hall might have thought he’d be in for an easier day but Andrew Lloyd had other ideas passing Hall after three laps and spending the next 3 three hours in the lead. Hall’s trademark is his endurance and as Lloyd’s lap times started to blow out Hall’s were the definition of consistency not deviating by more than 60 seconds. Hall, the 2011 Series champion taking his first win for 2012. The Solo Masters Male category went to Garry James for his 3rd win of the Series.

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Nowra hosted the third round of the six event SRAM Singletrack Mind Series. As the midpoint of the Series, contenders for the overall category podiums are starting to become apparent and they were all in attendance, making for a very competitive field. The entry list also featured one of the biggest junior categories yet seen in the Series with 8 teams and, in a first for the Series, one of the teams was an all-female line up of Vincentia High School students. The Coondoo Road course at Nowra is a favourite amongst Series participants and has featured in every year of the SRAM Singletrack Mind Series. For 2012 a new layout was set with a fresh singletrack section which would result in making the normally quite flat course even flatter and ensuring super-fast racing! At the conclusion of the start lap the front of the race was dominated by the male pairs teams with Australian MTB team representative Cam Ivory leading the pack followed by Brad Morton and Series leader Jon Odams, while 10 seconds back Mark Tupalski led the solo men with Andrew Hall and Ed McDonald only another 10 seconds behind, and Series leader Janet Martin led the sizable solo women’s field.

With the unrelenting nature of the course, the lead in most categories changed throughout the 7 hour event, the Junior category featured a see-sawing battle between Series leaders The Young Guns and Jett Racing, only 6 minutes the difference in the end, The Young Guns adding to their overall lead. The Mixed Threes saw another strong performance from the BG Three, while in the Masters Threes, Horccules Vs The Chocolate Footed Monster again triumphed over What the HORCC, a clean sweep thus far in the Series. With the lap record holder on their team it was little surprise to find that Stevens Bikes took out the Male Threes while in the Female Threes, Accident Prone bested their rivals, and when asked if they were accident prone they admitted to a small unscheduled exit during the race!

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