Andy Blair, first win in 11 starts | GiRoPhoto.

Andy Blair, first win at the Highland Fling in 11 starts | GiRoPhoto.

The Southern Highlands turned on near-perfect riding conditions across the weekend for the eleventh CamelBak Highland Fling mountain bike marathon.

Following a Saturday afternoon of fun racing, including the annual Rolloff World Championships, which saw a handing over of the World Championship jersey to winner to Jamie Sell. And the always fast and furious Bundanoon Dash, which was claimed once again by Cameron Ivory in a time of 10:19 for the men and Lucy Bechtel in a time of 11:50 for the women; Sunday saw some thousand riders heed the call of the dawn piper and line up for a Fling.

Getting racing underway was the 100Mile (160km) racers and Full Flingers (non elite), followed by the most hotly contested racing of the weekend, the Full Fling elite, which included a key elite line-up Andy Blair, Shaun Lewis, Kyle Ward, Lewis Cressy, Cameron Ivory, James Downing in the men’s field, and Eliza Kwan, Lucy Bechtel and Briony Mattocks in the women’s race.

The river crossing was a bit shallower this year. Jason English opted for his cyclocross bike for the Fling | GiRoPhoto.

The river crossing was a bit shallower this year. Jason English opted for his cyclocross bike for the Fling | GiRoPhoto.

For much of both races there was only seconds between first and second. Kyle Ward led Andy Blair for much of the distance, but after flatting couldn’t make the time back, leaving Blair to claim his first Fling victory after having raced all eleven editions. Andy Blair: “Kyle got a flat in the singletrack. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I’ve had my own fair share of bad luck here, so I know how it feels. I’m stoked to finally take the win after all these years!”

Lucy Bechtel was up for the win this year after a 3rd place in the 2014 race | Marathon Photo

Lucy Bechtel was up for the win this year after a 3rd place in the 2014 race | Marathon Photo

In the women’s race, there was little between Lucy Bechtel and Eliza Kwan but Lucy led for most of the race, and with a short distance to go, Bechtel who placed third in 2014, was able to pull away for the 2015 win.

Lucy Bechtel “It was awesome – I have two percent life left on my Garmin but my legs are in deficit. Eliza and I stayed together most of the race, but I lost her in the last bit.”

In the 100Mile Ed McDonald backed up his 2014 win, again crossing the line looking deceptively fresh after a grueling 165km of racing. Meredith Quinlan conquered the 100Mile race as the only woman in the 2015 edition.

Nothing fazes Ed McDonald, still looking pretty relaxed afer the Full Fling, 165 KM | GiroPhoto

Nothing fazes Ed McDonald, still looking pretty relaxed after the Full Fling, 165 KM | GiroPhoto

The 2015 CamelBak Highland Fling also featured the annual 55km Half Fling, which saw a dynamic sprint finish by the top five men, and the newly introduced 23km Some Fling, a shorter distance race designed to provide a serious race proposition for junior riders.

Key Race Results in the 2015 CamelBak Highland Fling:

Half Fling MenGRP_HLF15-0200_clipped|Brad Morton (2:14:58)
Adam Cooper (2:15:05)
Matthew Dinham (2:15:06)
Ben Metcalfe (2:15:06)

Half Fling Women
Linda Stahlgren (2:45:05)
Georgina Landy (2:57:21)
Louisa Lobigs (2:57:50)

Full Fling Elite Men
Andy Blair (4:30:24)
Marc Williams (4:31:33)
Shaun Lewis (4:34:24)

Full Fling Elite Women
Lucy Bechtel (5:31:54)
Eliza Kwan (5:35:43)
Briony Mattocks (5:38:35)

100Mile Men
Ed McDonald (7:32:57)
Oliver Whalley (7:46:14)
Sam Moffitt (7:49:03)

100Mile Women
Meredith Quinlan (10:35:28)