Local Double Header: Nankervis & Mullens do their hometown proud at the 2016 Golden Triangle Epic.

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TORQ-Merida rider Tasman Nankervis took the hometown advantage for all it was worth, setting a blistering pace to beat a talent stacked field of elite men. A great confidence builder before heading to Cairns for this week’s world cup.

The Bendigo Mountain Bike Club is celebrating a successful weekend of racing following the 11th edition of the Golden Triangle Epic. Held last Saturday the 16th of April in Spring Gully, the Golden Triangle Epic saw many of the country’s fastest mountain bikers arrive in Bendigo to battle it out on the dusty and rocky trails.

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Wow… 2 in a row for Peta Mullens. A win in Derby at the XCM national champs and then a solid win in her hometown.

As the Bendigo Mountain Bike Club’s flagship event, the Golden Triangle Epic received significant support this year from MTBA, having been officially sanctioned as the 3rd round of the Australian National Cross Country Marathon (XCM) Series. Along with a host of improvements over last year’s event, the Golden Triangle Epic saw numbers swell for 2016, with over 550 competitors taking to the start line on race day.

Part of the events growth can be attributed to a new 30km “Miner” route option, which provided the ideal race distance for beginner riders looking to try their first mountain bike marathon race. In addition to the 30km option, the 15km “Pioneer” race attracted a record number of young riders, highlighting the significant growth of youth participation in cycling in Bendigo.

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Andy Blair is getting good use out of the Team Specialized VW clocking up the miles to the races, Tassie then Bendigo. Sadly, no leave pass for Cairns and a huge roadtrip with the imminent arrival of jnr. Blairy. The guys at Swell will have to design a team romper suit.

At the pointy end of the field, there were some big names taking to the start line in search of a $1200 cash prize for the top spot on the Elite podium. Competitors included Specialized-Swell rider Andy Blair, Canyon rider Jenni King, and head of the Flanders team, Chris Jongewaard.

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A cooked Chris Jongewaard, had nothing but praise for Tasman’s win

In the end, it was local knowledge and local talent that took out the glory, with TORQ-Merida rider Tasman Nankervis putting on a blistering display for his home crowd.

“I’m so stoked to take the win on home soil”, said Nankervis. “But I’m definitely looking forward to a few days of rest now before heading to Cairns for the World Cup!”

Finishing just two minutes behind Nankervis, it was Australian mountain bike legend Chris Jongewaard’s first time at the Golden Triangle Epic.

“Tasman was unbelievable”, said an exhausted Chris Jongewaard following a hard-fought battle on the unrelenting 100km course. “He was just on the gas through the singletrack the entire way”. Kyle Ward, Adrian Jackson and Andy Blair rounded out the podium for the Elite 100km Male category.

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4th place for Adrian Jackson closely followed by Andy Blair to round out the podium

Having taken out the XCM National Champs in Derby only the weekend prior to the Golden Triangle Epic, local mountain biker Peta Mullens took a gamble as she signed up to race just an hour before race start.

“Having a home ground advantage was absolutely huge today”, said Mullens after she crossed the finish line in first position. “I know these trails like the back of my hand, and I’ve been feeling in good form, so today worked out really well for me.”

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Peta Mullens, heads off to Cairns for World Cup this week

Mullens finished two minutes clear of Kiwi Samara Sheppard, who impressed the locals with her technical ability on the rocky singletrack trails. Mel Anset finished in 3rd position, with Anna Beck and Rebecca Locke keeping the racing tight right until the final kilometre.

As one of the original 100 Mile races in Australia, the 2016 Golden Triangle Epic saw 23 riders attempt to race three laps of the 53km course. In the end, just 4 minutes separated local rider Shane Roberts from a dominant Tobias Lesterell, who took the in just under 7 hours of racing.

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Tobias Lestrell

With Bridge Road Brewers as one of the event sponsors, many riders were able to enjoy a well-earned complimentary beer after they crossed the finish line. The vibrant village atmosphere surrounding the Spring Gully Cricket Oval included a product exhibition from Maxxis, Birzman, and TORQ, while local food vendors including the Spring Gully General Store, Mother Bean coffee and Lady Sultan Turkish fed hungry riders.

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Great trail conditions on race day left many riders grinning

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The man with the Golden Gun… Ginger Moore. Well the number plate was 007! One of the perks of being the official plate printer

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1st Peta Mullens , 2nd Kiwi Samara Sheppard 3rd Mel Anset 4th Anna Beck and 5th Rebecca Locke

As always with the Golden Triangle Epic, all profits raised from event entries will be going straight back into the local trail network and developing the Spring Gully Master Plan. With the ongoing support of Bendigo Council and Parks Victoria, riders can look forward to seeing the development of new trails in the future to help support the sport of mountain biking in Bendigo.

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Andrew Low, 3rd in Masters Men, looks like he’s already visualising that first beer from Bridge Road Brewers

Final results for all categories