Written by Una McKay –
The Riders Club Angela Skirving reports from the QLD State Championships
Big guns of Queensland Cross Country racing, Aiden Lefmann and Jodie Willett both fought off the challenges of exciting young up-and-comers to add to their Queensland title trophy collection at Adare on Saturday.
Competitors took on the toughest course ever seen at Adare with 180 vertical metres over a punchy 5.8 kilometre lap that included up and down rock gardens, tricky descents, steep fire road pinches and plenty of the fast flowing singletrack for which Adare is famous.
Lefmann came into this event facing in form teenager Benny Forbes, who with his penchant for super strong finishes recently wrapped up the premier SEQ series, winning at tracks including Adare. This time however, Lefmann came with all guns loaded, pulling out a 40-second lead on the first lap while Forbes and heavy hitters Michael Illing and Glenn Stewart fought over second. Lefmann backed up his stonking 19.16 minutes first lap with four more consistent rotations to win by an incredible four minutes. Behind, Illing broke away on lap two to stake his claim for a runner up spot which would eventually be his, while Glenn Stewart survived a last lap attack from Benny Forbes to take third, with Forbes and Jeff Rubach rounding out the five.
A similar tale of challenge took place in the Elite Women’s category as multiple state champ and World Cup competitor Jodie Willett faced SEQ series winner Kylie Maduna, whose great riding ability has been complemented of late by greater and greater fitness. But Willett turned the screws hard from the outset, destroying the competition in a clinical display in which she turned out four, near identical 23-minute laps, with an incredible variance of just 12 seconds between fastest and slowest.
Maduna had to contend with tough competitor Anna Beck, who muscled into second on lap one before fading back to third, finishing the race four minutes behind Maduna.
What looked like an unlikely event just ten days beforehand turned out to be a great example of teamwork as a host of interested parties within the sport and industry cooperated to produce an excellent state title.
Slated to run at the new Mt.Joyce facility, the event was cancelled by its original promoter less than two weeks before race day, but disappointed riders approached Adare track owner John Pinnell and The Riders Club, who took up the challenge of a major event with a very short lead time.
“Bringing the state title to the Lockyer Valley just ten days out was a huge call,” said Event Coordinator John Pinnell, “but we have an amazing crew of people who are excited by big challenges, and this one came off a treat.
“Thanks so much to my club TRC and all our volunteer helpers, to all the bike shops who threw prizes at us at a moment’s notice, to Gatton Power Sports, Gatton Soccer Club Catering and Lockyer Valley Regional Council Events, it was a great example of what can be done quickly when a bunch of people get excited by an idea.”