A star studded Elite Field lined up on the start line for the start of Round 2 of the XCM Series in Kowan Forest on Saturday. Series leaders Shaun Lewis and Jenny Fay in the purple leaders were flanked by their team mates of the Rockstar Racing team. King of the Mountain Adrian Jackson, Andrew Blair, Peter Hatton and Australian XCM champion Jason English were some of the riders out to take the jersey off Lewis' back.
Lewis showed early on that he was not planning on relinquishing his lead by taking the maximum points for King of The Mountain ahead of Peter Hatton, Adrian Jackson, Dylan Cooper and Andrew Blair. This places Lewis in equal first in the KOM competition with Jackson who both have 5 points. Cooper is in equal 2nd with Hatton, both on 2 points. Jason English unfortunately flatted just before the KOM which put him out of contention for top honors.
The KOM competition was also the start of the 20km un-timed section which saw a group of 15 riders come together. The un-timed section in this event makes for complexity in tactics. After the un-timed section the riders are uncertain of exactly where they place overall on the second part of the course, and have to wait for their overall time to be calculated after the finish.
As the riders reached Stromlo a group containing Lewis, Cooper, Jackson, Blair and Hatton formed. With every millisecond counting in the very close battle the riders had to take their chances navigating through the slower 50km field on the Stromlo singletrack. This caused a few crashes with Hatton losing the most time.
Series leader Shaun Lewis beat Cooper and Blair in a close sprint, increasing his hold on the Series lead, with Jackson and Hatton following closely.
The women's race was once again dominated by Jenny Fay. Fay convincingly won the maximum QOM points and the overall race. Becky Mates made her Series debut for 2012 scoring 2 points in the QOM competition and finishing 2nd overall.
The 50km Half Marathon event was hotly contested by a few very strong riders. The Half Marathon competition is promising to become a specialist 2 hour smashfest, perfect for cross country specialists, ex 100km participants or beginner riders.
The next event takes the riders to St. Albans for the Convict100. The Convict100 is the 3rd event in 3 weeks in the Series and will truly test the riders in a completely different level on the rough course.
The Real Insurance XCM Series is the biggest mountain bike Series in Australia's history with over 7,000 riders expected to participate. Riders 3 best results out of 6 count towards their Series ranking, allowing for mechanicals, bad days or busy schedules. The next events in the Series is the Convict100 in St Albans, Stevens Bikes Husky100 in Callala Beach, Wollombi Wild Ride in Wollombi and the Briars Highland Fling in Bundanoon.