Ben Mikic Foundation kids skills clinic

Fantastic weather greeted the competitors for the running of Saturday’s lead-in events to the 2013 CamelBak Highland Fling, blue skies and not a threat of rain. The day got rolling with the younger generation of riders that kicked off events – rolling over logs, carving up corners and generally having a great time learning new skills with the Ben Mikic Foundation.

The enthusiasm levels were high for the kids skills clinic

The enthusiasm levels were high for the kids skills clinic

Next up was the seriously non-serious cycling event the Rolloff World Championships.

Defending champion Glen Leechburch Auwers, took the win for a second year.

Defending champion Glen Leechburch Auwers, took the win for a second year.

Once again the Rolloff World Championships proved to be the great leveller in cycling sports. On the start-line were riders (and non-riders) of all shapes, ages and wheel sizes.
A super hero outfit, designed to cut-through air with a single push, was the most impressive kit of the day and almost took its rider Mark Tatarinoff from MacMasters Beach, NSW to the top spot. After winning his heat and semi final convincingly, he was finally out rolled by defending champion Glen Leechburch Auwers. Glen once again took Rolled Gold honours, rolling the furthest, and claiming the Air New Zealand prize to defend his title at the New Zealand Redwoods Coast in Rotorua in 2014. Grant Johnston rolled across for third. New Zealander Garth Weinberg, who placed second in the 2013 Redwood Coast, and travelled to Australia to reverse the one-two placing there, was knocked out in the first heat.

Next to take the start line were those riders keen to prove they had the fastest legs in town. The Bundanoon Dash, now a prerequisite warm up for the main racing, saw Australia’s top elite riders including Dan McConnell, Shaun Lewis, Andy Blair and Peta Mullens in the front row.

It was Andy Blair who set the tempo throughout the race, with the pack staying close together until the final steep hill sprint back into town. Cameron Ivory’s recent road training in the hills of New Caledonia however, paid off to give him the win in 10:18, followed by Shaun Lewis and Andy Blair. The 2008 record of 10:05 set by Shaun Lewis remains intact for another year.

Cameron Ivory's time on the road in New Caledonia gave him the legs to take the win ahead of Shaun Lewis and Andy Blair.

Cameron Ivory’s time on the road in New Caledonia gave him the legs to take the win ahead of Shaun Lewis and Andy Blair.

The fastest woman on the day was Peta Mullens with a time of 10:46, combining her in form mountain biking and road legs for a convincing win over Kylie Webb in second and local rider Beverly Tyler in third.

In the local Battle of the Businesses Bundanoon Pottery’s Nick Smith blitzed the course, hot on the wheels of the elite riders to finish first in the Battle and an impressive 15th overall. A truly spectacular show of both speed, and costume, with each business dressing to represent the business they are competing for.

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A change of weather for Sunday morning, race day didn’t dampen rider spirits

Whilst the skies were heavy, rider spirits were anything but, with an impressive lineup of riders bracing themselves against unseasonably cold and wet conditions to take part in this year’s race. Federal MP for Hume, Angus Taylor, himself taking part in event, officially kicked off the race with 100Milers and Full Flingers rolling out at 7:20am to the theme of The Flintstones – in keeping with the fun-side of serious racing and this year’s themed element of The Flingstones.
The most hotly contested racing of the day was always going to be the Full Fling with a line-up of elites that included Australia’s best mountain bikers. Really, it was anyone’s race. It was Mark Tupalski who set a blazing pace at the start, with only three other riders, Brendan Johnston, Andy Blair and Dylan Cooper able to go with him. The group worked together and changed it up a little throughout the race, losing Andy Blair at a train crossing but gaining Dan McConnell to help with the work. It wasn’t long before Dan was no longer in the group, but Andy was back in the chase. Mark Tupalski picked up the pace once again and this time no one went with him. It was a bold move, but one that didn’t pay off in the end with the chase group working together to catch and pass him with only the last few kilometres to go. It ended up being just two riders that kept the pace hot and battled for the finish line.

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Brendan Johnston hot on the heels of Andy Blair, took the win in 4:18:53.

Brendan Johnston, who finished third in 2012, took the win with a time of 4:18:53. First to cross the line in the race however was Andy Blair, but after taking a 30 second time penalty for a rule transgression, finished in second. Cameron Ivory rounded out the podium in third. ‘Mark lit up the pace from the start and it was really hard to go with him, but I’m glad I did,’ said Brendan from Canberra. ‘It’s a long race though and the last 20km are brutal. I worked hard and managed to drop Cameron, but couldn’t shake Andy and that’s what the finish line showed. But it was in my favour, so I’m happy with that.’

In the women’s elite race Peta Mullens, who finished second in 2012, took a convincing win with a time of 5:05:23 – almost twenty minutes ahead of Jo Bennett in second and Myra Moller in third. Peta’s strong form showed with a finishing line comment about the race missing a climb she remembered from 2012. With the said climb confirmed as still in the race, she concluded ‘I must have been feeling OK then. I set a good tempo for most of the day, even though I was on my own a lot. It’s definitely a race that keeps giving though, in the most challenging of ways.’

Peta Mullens demonstrated just how talented a rider she is, creating a gap of over 20 minutes to 2nd place.

Peta Mullens demonstrated just how talented a rider she is, creating a gap of over 20 minutes to 2nd place.

In the long format 100Mile (or 165km to make it sound even longer) it came down to a sprint finish on the line. Andrew Hall took first place with a time of 6:59:15, with Ed McDonald, the 2012 winner, finishing a close second and UK rider Matt Page crossing in third.

After almost 7 hours it was an exciting finish to the 100 miler with  Andrew Hall edging out Ed McDonald in a finish line sprint

After almost 7 hours in the saddle it was an exciting finish to the 100 miler with Andrew Hall edging out Ed McDonald in a closely contested finish line sprint

Half Fling Men
Gary Millburn (2:13:45)
Brad Morton (2:17:26.2)
Michael Potter (2:17:26.6)
Half Fling Women
Karen Evans (2:53:56)
Kath Bicknell (2:54:55)
Belinda Diprose (3:01:12)
Full Fling Elite Men
Brendan Johnston (4:18:53)
Andy Blair (4:18:54)
Cameron Ivory (4:19:00)
Full Fling Elite Women
Peta Mullens (5:05:23)
Jo Bennett (5:24:50)
Myra Moller (5:38:15)
100Mile Men
Andrew Hall (6:59:15)
Ed McDonald (7:00:49)
Matt Page (7:19:13)
100Mile Women
Charlie McCabe (9:30:24)

For full race results, including category results, visit:
http://www.wildhorizons.com.au/highland-fling