Good old Fox Creek was up again. And the rain came down in a big way. Saturdays weather was generous compared to race day, just cold winds and a few showers made the track slick and was a good test for anyone contemplating staying home to watch the Crows wallop the Roos instead of braving more of the cold, wind and rain the following day
Sunday morning looked promising at first, just a couple of showers overnight and no signs of the flood warnings people talked of the previous day. But to everyone’s disappointment, especially Trigger, who was overheard commenting he’d plan to work on his tan, it didn’t take long for the clouds to roll in and there was no doubt they were there to stay.
The track was getting destroyed by the minute. Garry Patterson had done all that was possible in the lead up to the event, spending time building up a number of corners and making the track quite flowy had conditions been drier. But nothing could stop the relentless ruts being created, and the slippery off camber sections were a challenge for every man and his dog, spectators included. The rain continued belting down, making mud tyres and flat pedals a necessity rather than an option. Young Troy was the only one to race clipped in. A concept which seemed suicidal to a number of riders.
As the first busloads of competitors headed up the top for their race runs the rain continued. A credit to the 3 riders in the novice class for still racing in what will no doubt be the worse conditions they’ll ever see, all with a podium for their efforts. Team KFC taking 3rd and 2nd, and the winner Geoffery Nitschke with a very competitive time that would have placed him in the top 15 elite final times. Next up, hardtail and the point zero tight competition between series leader Steven Gerbert and Matt West was non existent on this occasion, Matt clearly having a massive advantage with his 1.95 pizza cutting mud tyres (thanks to Scotty Z), opposed to Stevens’s clogged ‘n’ bogged 2.5’s, took the win by 35secs, with Andy Brett’s podium dreams coming true in 3rd. A note to Steven to watch out for young Nicholas Norton, who just beat his time (.06) and took the junior hardtail win by a massive 43secs, over Aaron Pelttari, 2nd and Cameron Ryan, 3rd. Just 3 guys in Super Masters, where Frank Nicholson proved that even with just one pedal you can still podium, in 3rd, Stephen Lewis 2nd and David Miers taking the win. Bar the junior and elite classes, Masters was the one class which still retained some close times. Chucky, just winning by half a second over Paul Nelson and Andy Murnane 3secs back in 3rd. With only 2 people in VetsA and 5 in VetsB it made you wonder why they don’t combine the classes. Michael Loussert way ahead of them all in 1st, Jade Phillipe in 2nd and Ben Graefe winning Vets B.
On to the girls. I saw Molly Payne getting some mad drifts Saturday and a cautious run race day saw her get down the hill safely in the horrendous conditions in Junior Girls. Sarah “Boothy” Booth took out Elite women, with Emily Hockey not too far behind rounding out the class in 2nd.
Now for the Junior burgers, U13’s saw Bailey Morse 15secs ahead of Matthew Taylor in 2nd, for the win, and Matthew Reilly,3rd. Kyle Pfitzner had a good run to claim the win in U15’s, Joseph Neubaurer 7secs back in 2nd and Chris McKendrick rounded out the top 3.
Sean Heywood-Smith rode blisteringly fast with one of the quickest runs all day in 2:34:70, winning U17’s by 14secs. Sullivan Fleming in 2nd and Henry Blake just 3secs back in 3rd.
As final runs time came the rain had got progressively worse all day. The 4″ deep ruts had now turn into 8″ deep water canals and smooth glossy lines parellel with each one were clearly visible from competitors consistently dabbing and paddling their way down. Initially U19’s saw some worries with the top 3 times but after some ironing out the results were in. The victor on the day, Jack Payne with a 4sec margin, riding consistently all weekend deserved the win. Unlucky for Connor Fearon, who’s qualifying time was the third fastest all day, but come finals had a big off in the bottom section, no doubt costing him the win. Issac Thomas just 3secs back scraped in to claim 3rd.
Elite men, most of whom were pretty keen for the day to be over but stuck around, bar poor ol’ Buzz who injured his knee in seeding and checked himself out early. TB also had an off which sent him sliding, bikeless, down the hill in a seal like fashion.
Come racing, it was Fox Creek Rnd 3 all over again. The wet conditions causing at least half the elite riders to come off somewhere. The lower section consisting of the tight hooking right hander into the skatey off camber uphill being the main culprit, claiming both the Jenkins brothers, Scotty Z (who seeded 4th), Will Gower(who seeded 3rd) and numerous others throughout the day. Yatesy came through the section in a disgruntled fashion, to busy thinking about getting to the heater in his car, but still sliding into 5th with a 2:39:33. Just under a second ahead, 2:38:49, was Ben Tregoweth on his shiny (but brown now) new beast, the only guy we saw pull up in time to stay high on the nasty right that claimed so many others. Dave West was seen going down in the long right hander just after the fireroad crossing, but looked super fast through the bottom section to make the time up in a 2:35:72 for 3rd. TB, the only person as far as we know still riding clips on the day, held it together looking faster than anyone in the bottom section with 2:33:16 in 2nd. But it was Flanders’ day today- Todd Folland, he seeded 1st and kept his consistency flowing for the finals, making little mistakes and looking far more relaxed than many others. In his 15years of racing, believe it or not, his first SA state race victory, well done Todd.