Words: Kevin ‘Kevlar’ Wynne-Smythe
Pics courtesy: Jim Zirn, Joshua McPherson – Thanks guys!
The 2nd annual PBM Hardrock 6hr was held at the sweet singletrack haven of Kirrawak State Forest in Taree at the weekend and superbly run by the Manning Great Lakes Tip Riders MTB club.
After sending a team to the inaugural race last year (taking out the masters 3 win, I might add) we said we’d definitely be back, and back we were! The Jet Black team representing with a 20 strong field. Racing in a wide genre of categories there wasn’t a point in time that at least 3 of the famous fluro’s could be spotted out on track.
Despite a splash of the wet stuff the previous evening, the hero dirt wasn’t to last more than a lap and it was back to being dusty and sketchy on some of the sweet flowy corners, which made for a few bottom twitching moments, but this just added to the fun of this awesome track.
With a great mix of gravity/flow corner sections, skinny descents and short pinchy climbs (some, with tree roots lying across just to add to the difficulty) this course was a dream to ride, and you definitely had to stay alert or those trees will be jumping out at you and letting you know that you were in ‘their house’
Newcomer, Lucas Bendt was our only solo rider having a crack and was travelling well before being forced to hang up the boots with a strained back (29″ hoops next time big man! Just sayin’ – Ed)
Lucas having a solo crack
After what seems like a swift recovery from a broken collarbone, it was great to see Peter ‘Diesel’ Rohr back on the steed for a good stint in the hotly contested master pairs with everyone’s poppy, Graeme Sonter, who made the trip with his son, Jacob…our unofficial photographer for the day.
It seems like Peter hasn’t lost any form with all of his lap times within a minute of each other.
The juniors were represented with Iona Reynolds, Kate Pickles, Breeanna Judd and younger brother Aidan Judd in a mix 4’s who all had a ball and completed 2 laps each…and all with smiles on their dials!
The youngest of the Judd family…Full Froth!
The elite 3’s team of Nathan Johnson, Dave Collins and Troy Laughlin were seemed to be cursed from the start as Troy, the original starter, had a deflated rubber issue which led to Nathan going from the gun. The team was placed under pressure after Nathan ripped a sidewall later in the game and lost crucial time during repair. This narrowed the decent gap they had and made for an exciting finish. Despite Dave having the ‘it comes in 3’s moment’, all was good, and they held on for the 2nd slot behind the Brame family team of Son/Dad/Uncle. All of whom are exceptional riders with the young gun, Luke, representing Australia in the upcoming worlds in Cairns.
Elton ‘Rocketman’ Judd paired with his brother for the first time in the elite pairs and had a blast churning out consistent laps, but with the pairs field consisting of some top riders from the surrounding areas of Armidale and Coffs, were hard pushed to make it to the PBM Hardrock manufactured podium.
Sorry Dave…Best photo to show ‘That pinch’! 😉
David Leckie and Ian Charles once again paired up to tackle the twisty course in the masters pairs, and after being back in 5th for most of the day, pushed hard in the latter stages to take the well deserved lower slot of the podium
The elite pairs saw a blow in by the name of Andrew Lloyd looking for a teammate for this race, so we obliged with our very own Duracell bunny, Scott Reynolds. Without putting a foot wrong, (except for a shocker start by Scotty) they amassed 14 laps total to come away with the goods.
Our team of 3 masters consisting of myself, Michael ‘presidentay’ Brown and David ‘Twukky’ Pickles, were back to defend the title we narrowly snatched from the locals last year.
Twukky ‘happily volunteered’ to gun the start, but had a Barry Crocker after getting a small stick jammed in his cleat,m preventing a good turn of the pedals. Once going though, it was over to Browny for the 1st of his 4 laps, then over to myself to round out the ‘feeler’ laps.
Consistency was key, with no mechanicals or tree hugging moments to enable us to once again take the top slot by a mere 4mins, and of course…the choccies.
The team was once again supported well with Elton’s lovely family, David Leckies partner, Rachelle and of course, the multitasker and Scotty and Ionas mum, Pamela. Always on hand with lead times and the important job of jacket holder in transition when the degrees dropped during the afternoon.
Another ticket in our amazing Giro D’Italia raffle was sold during proceedings and we thank Chad Vowles and Mike Eyb from the tippees for promoting it during the race.
We also thank, and give a MASSIVE tip of the hat to Chad, Mike and the rest of the Tip Riders crew for putting on, and running, yet another awesome event.
With awesome tunes pumping all day, (I really, really want that playlist!) great food and awesome prizes including cash money, this really is an event that will amass numbers as it gathers traction over the coming years.
Ponder on this for a moment: With just over a 3 hour drive north of Sydney, it’s the same distance as it is to the more commonly visited tracks of our nations capital.
So…. I HIGHLY recommend that you look it up, pin it in your maps and head on up during the summer months, because there’s not many places this close to the coat hanger city that you can rip in to 60odd kms of sweet tracks in the morning and be sipping Pina Coladas on the beach after lunch.