Fun trails, perfect weather, tight organisation and possibly the friendliest on-track atmosphere in history made the James Williamson Enduro Challenge a happy and fitting way to reflect on Jimi’s life and far-reaching influence on the mountain biking community. Held at Wingello State Forest, as a joint Canberra Off-Road Cyclists and Southern Highlands Cycling Club production, 600 riders took part in the 13/25/50/75km races on offer.
The races used all, or part of, a 25km loop that took in some fun, flowing trails, but had enough fire road to tick of the distance, have a drink, put some hurt in the legs, and get ready for more quality singletrack ahead. Dylan Cooper was looking set to take out the 75km men’s event until a puncture caught him out in the final 2kms. He recovered well to finish 4th, with Pete Hatton taking out the top podium spot. Niki Fisher looked set to take out the 75km women’s event, but was also overtaken in the final kilometres of the race, conceding the win to Michelle Ainsworth.
It was an emotional day out for many of Jimi’s close friends and family at the event, as well as for other people who may not have known Jimi very well, but are affected by his loss and the mark he has left on the riding community. The happiness experienced out on the race track and the chatter between riders at the event centre showed that many people are inspired by Jimi’s actions and enjoy celebrating the love of riding and life Jimi expressed so well through his writing and riding. It was also great to see so many first time enduro racers out at this event soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the large lap format of the race.
We admire the strength and generosity of the people close to Jimi in putting this edition together and want to extend a big thank you for hosting this event. As a package, the event evoked all the good things of enduros past and built on these experiences to set a high standard for other events in the future. We were thrilled to hear that it will be run again in 2012, a sure sign of many more great days out on the bike to come!
Further details on the event including full results are available at www.jameswilliamson.com.au/enduro
A great video on the event from the NSW Singletrack Mind crew is available by clicking this link.
Thank you also to Dan Mackay for the great photos.