Written By Daniel Turton (Club President)
Eight students from the South Burnett represented their schools at the MTBA National Schools Championships over the weekend. Hundreds of school aged students from 96 schools were buzzing with excitement throughout the proceedings at the Nerang MTB trails on the Gold Coast. There were three formats: the XCC , where competitors raced around a short track for ten minutes tackling tricky rock gardens, navigating between trees and pitching their bikes over wooden pallet obstacles. The races were fast-paced with a number of crashes throughout. Ben Weier was nudged into a tree three quarters of the way through the race and lost his second place position, yet picked himself up to work his way back into the lead pack. Ben had put it all out there and although upset with the crash, he picked himself up, chalked it down to experience and used that as a driving force for the next two days: what a weapon! Becky Provan had a crash with a rider on the start line and another after jumping the rock garden. Becky was able to get back on her bike and finish the race. Had it not been for the crash she would be standing on the podium: tough as nails!
South Burnett riders placed well throughout the XCC. After a hard earned rest the team set their minds to the XCE an Enduro style race were the trails used were of an international standard. A timing transponder was strapped to the arms of riders and their times recorded as they raced down the gnarly, rocky trails, this format was not for the faint hearted. Matt Weier's chain broke and coiled around his rear cassette..... race over! Matt carried his bike back to the SBMTB club tent, shrugged his shoulders and said " I was having a great run too". When you look up “Legend” in the dictionary, you'll see Matt Weier's name in there. All of the South Burnett riders stacked points, but the real points were the smiles on their faces as they whipped down the trails.
Onto the main event, the XCO - Cross Country Olympic: 4.5km of grueling climbs and flowy decents, thow in a couple of crazy rock drops and you have the XCO. Matt had decided he didn't want to risk damaging a bike that was offered to him to race on for the XCO and anyone who owns a bike can understand that. Oliver Vogelaar set off first for the Grade 7 boys and I think surprised himself with a fantastic result; he will be back next year.
Luca and Becky were next to ride and both had brilliant races, with Becky conquering some rocky sections that she had practiced earlier in the day with Luca. Luca was well prepared and delivered on the trails "I feel like doing another lap or two" she said as she crossed the finish line.
Outstanding rides by all the boys. Jacob Slatter had a mechanical early in the race, but he muscled up pushed hard to achieve the top ten position he promised himself. With a bike that had decided to wait until race day to start changing gears by itself, that is a pretty crazy good effort.
Dylan Provan put down the SLR and picked up the BMC and didn't leave anything in the tank, was good to watch him race again. Jacob Provan summoned some additional strength from the other supporters as they screamed him up the fire road every lap. He did himself proud with his efforts.
These boys and girls were inspirational to watch over the weekend, but for me the two new riders Becky Provan and Oliver Vogelaar summed up riding MTB in a competitive environment.
For Oliver it was getting involved in something he loves to do with like-minded people and surprising himself with the outcome, hanging out with his dad and taking the advice and inspiration from those all around him.
For Becky I think it was believing in herself, trusting her intuition and now knowing she can get it done! So many people give up when it all gets too hard: not this girl!
After this fun and tough weekend I have to say I couldn't be more proud of our club, that's the riders, the members and the supporters. They are all great people! Just always remember...... Do it for XC!