Race Report - Round 2 - Dazzleland, Mt Torrens
The stoke was high & banter was at an all-time prime
Written by Darren Mallard of Beyond the Tape Podcast
Mt Torrens has to be one of the true old school venues in South Australia. Rocking up at 9AM there was a light mist across the valley providing just enough moisture to make the hardpack a little greasy and raise the fresh stuff to hero status. After a day of practice and a few hundred runs, lines through the open corners developed and the marks from bar ends hitting trees increased. All in all, leading to a different and exciting challenge not often found at a GESA round.
This round saw the return of the “choose your own adventure” format of racing. It alleviated the long wait at the first stage as competitors lined up at their preferred stages first. Elites had the extra challenge of doing stages one and three twice. The trails reflected the age and attitude of the venue with their thin, tight, and unforgiving nature.
The venue is renowned for switchbacks, pedalling, switchbacks, a steep push up, tight switchbacks, narrow trails, and the jetty. All stages rewarded those who were efficient and could maintain speed throughout the day. The flat off-camber corners were something different to almost any other venue in Adelaide and saw a few people do their best Sam Hill impression. Small gaps in trees caused trouble for modern day bar widths and if hit they were unforgiving. Features like the “Double Down” chutes, The OG Jetty, and the techy rock gardens were all crowd favourites. Even though there was an inconceivable amount of pedalling for some, there were smiles all around.
At the end of the day the Elite Men's podium was filled with a tapestry of SA DH History. Steve Marsh, the old school downhill royalty of Adelaide stood on the third step. Steve Gebert, a mid-school pinner, put in a commendable effort for 2nd place. On top step was the young up and coming talent, Sam Walsh. Sam and Gebert traded 1st and 2nd place stage results throughout the day but, Sam came through by pulling time on the stages requiring more pedalling to claim the W. Other honourable mentions from this field include Dave West making a strong return from a big injury in ‘17 and overcoming the flu that plagued his previous round. Alex Waddicor also popped his head out from fatherhood to ride his (claimed) $1000 Yeti, equipped with 26 inch wheels, into 8th, proving you don’t need to ride the marketing wave.
Emily Hill took the top step in elite women with an almost clean sweep of the day. Amy Schwarz was second fiddle all day until she took a 1st place on her second run of Stage 3, The Mincer. Willowa Atkins came 3rd with a valiant effort, with consistent times throughout the day.
U19 was the most interesting class of the day when looking at the results. While Dylan Draper took a well-deserved 1st place through consistent speed. Anyone up to 7th were biting at the heels with what looks like mechanicals or crashes deciding the day. With varying winners on stages and people jumping around in the order, it really wasn’t until the end of the day that we would know who would round out the podium.
Here are some random facts and shout outs for the weekend; there was a 20 year age between 3rd and 1st place on the elite men podium. Carol Moore slayed the open women's field and showed them that with age comes ability. Brendan Moore had a party in his shirt but forgot to send out the invite. Julie Harris was competing and shredding hard after beating breast cancer. Her message – check you boobs, and if you don’t have boobs, tell the women in your lives to check theirs. Tadas Dambrauskas walked away from one of the hardest crashes I have ever seen. Neil Waterhouse took home the OLLO Enduro Vest as the winner of the Spirit of Enduro Award for coming to the aid of GESA’s youngest competitor and sorting out medical assistance. The stoke was high, complaints were low, and banter was at an all-time prime, bring on round three.