The rain stopped and the sun shined for the final stage, the Ground Effect Surf Safari. Organisers were determined to finish the event at Narooma Surf Beach, but blown out coastal lakes and paddocks a metre deep under water meant much rerouting of the stage.
In the end Course Director Wayne Byard, a Narooma local, pulled together a brilliant 18km race stage using the Bermagui MTB Park, followed by some coastal singletrack to Camel Rock near Wallaga Lake.
After much jockeying in the slippery singletrack, Dylan Cooper (0:48:43) managed to hold off Jason English to win the stage by 2 seconds, with Andy Fellows just over a minute back in 3rd. Dylan Cooper had needed to make up 32 seconds to win the event; so Jason English is crowned the 2012 Mountains to Beach champion.
For Jason, Australia’s most awarded endurance mountain biker, this makes it 3 from 3 with him winning the event in 2009, 2010 and now 2012 (he did not compete in 2011). Dylan was pretty happy with his 2nd place in his first Mountains To Beach, and Andy Fellows finished 3rd overall. Andy is one of only 2 riders (along with 2012 Supermasters category winner Gary James) to have taken part in all 4 events.
Ria Johansen from Canberra completed her domination of the Women’s Category winning the final stage in 1:10:39 ahead of Lyndall Smythe (1:21:04) and Jane Manning (1:21:33). Ria is a worthy 2012 Mountains To Beach champion with a total race time of 12:24:41. Helen Dorsett (13:18:09) finished 2nd overall, one place better than last year and Jane Manning in 3rd (13:35:14) rounded out the podium.
In the other categories, Jason Mcavoy won Masters Male over Tim Goulding and Trent Moore. Garry James was the Supermasters victor ahead of Guenther Hauber-Davidson (who rode from Wednesday with a broken wrist!) and Jon Allison. In the Pairs, Mark Hardy/John Miller took it over Darryl Smith/Grant Dixon with John Scambary/Rod Tracey in 3rd. As the founder of the Weatherzone forecasting service, Mark certainly had plenty to watch and predict this past week!
From the end of the race stage, riders cruised via back roads and trails to drop onto the beach near Glasshouse Rocks. A final sting in the tail was presented by the fast flowing tidal creek near the surf club. But who cared – with 50 metres to go to a finish line marked by sand sculptured fish (remembering that, as the Scaffolds sang –Friday is Fish!), riders plunged into the salt water. $6000 bikes tipped their riders into the briny and followed. Australia’s bike shops will be happy! But why not, an epic journey complete from the Mountains to the Beach through some of the heaviest rain events in decades.
Last Friday night riders will enjoyed a presentation dinner at Narooma Golf Club. Whilst ‘Saturday is Pay Day' came a few hours sooner for the winners.
Is everybody happy? You bet your life they are!!
The Mountains To Beach is organised by Wild Horizons, Australia’s longest established organizer of mountain biking events including: The 3-Ring Circus (21-22 July 2012) and The Briars Highland Fling (10-11 November 2012)