Joel Willis from Lithgow and Kellie Weinert from Kearns are the 2016 RedAss Downhill Enduro State Series Champions! On a challenging course in Lithgow they secured their wins against riders from all over NSW and the ACT with the fastest times in both race runs in their respective elite categories – the fastest time of the two runs counted towards the end result.
Joel Willis’ winning time on the track he grew up on was 1:52.882 with Brent Smith from Woronora Heights coming in second (+3.512) and Josh Clark (+5.579) from the Central Coast placing third. All three riders also placed first, second and third on the overall state series podium.
“It’s good to win on my home track and the competition this weekend was tight”, said Joel Willis at the finish. It had been a windy race day with riders being cautious about gusts from the side at the big jumps.
Kellie Weinert mastered the course well, “You just have to be focused and stay calm on race day. I’m happy that it all worked out.”
Sarah Booth from Newcastle and Sian A’Hern from Canberra placed in second and third respectively in the series and Becc Wyatt from Rozelle came second in Lithgow (+12.812) and fourth in the overall series standings for the women.
2017 season already being planned
With almost half of the field in the junior categories (U15, U17, U19) for both male and female classifications, race promoter Martin Wisata from Rocky Trail said that plenty of new talent was coming through the ranks in the sport.
“Downhill racing is definitely a niche sport and it takes the passion of the young riders and the support and commitment of their parents to succeed. It’s tough, because in NSW there are so little official downhill tracks that we can race on, to keep it interesting is really hard for us as private event promoters, but also for our partner clubs who are struggling to motivate their members”, explained Wisata. The challenge in the adult categories was the lack of enthusiasm by riders, who spend some time abroad in Europe, North America or New Zealand where vast mountain bike parks are successfully being operated with major emphasis on the downhill sport. “Riding the same tracks over and over again back home then gets monotonous, I can understand”, Wisata admitted.
“We are trying new things every year to keep the race format fresh and will work together with the NSW Clubs that have downhill tracks to bring a fun and interesting 2017 series together – this is a spectator sport and even on state-level we get great media coverage, which grooms the riders to step up to national and international events”, he added.
For more event information and detailed results, visit www.rockytrailentertainment.com
Photos: Matt Staggs Visuals
Elite Women l-r: Kellie Weinert (1), Becc Wyatt (2), Club president Craig Flynn
Series Elite Men l-r: Daniel Smith (4), Brent Smith (2), Joel Willis (1), Josh Clark (3), Luke Walsh (5)
Series Elite Women l-r: Organiser Martin Wisata, Kellie Weinert (1), Sian A’Hern (3) – absent: Sarah Booth (2)
Elite Men l-r: Josh Lea (4), Brent Smith (2), Joel Willis (1), Josh Clark (3), Daniel Bender