Over 2000 riders signed up for a weekend Fling in the scenic NSW Southern Highlands town of Bundanoon, where Australia‚Äôs largest mountain biking event took place on Sunday 13 November 2011.
As the highland mist lifted to clear skies, riders were greeted with a blast of bagpipes, while a special screening of The 7 Year Itch, to celebrate the 7th year of the Fling, kept the growing coffee queue entertained.
Featuring a field of mountain biking elite, and an even bigger field of weekend warriors, the Briars Highland Fling once again proved to be a highlight in the annual mountain biking calendar.
2010 Men‚Äôs Elite winner and World 24 Hour Champion Jason English arrived for his first 100 mile (165km) Fling without a timing responder. Proving the importance of a good support crew, he was on the line before the gun fired and led the field onto the course. That same timing responder reported his winning time of 6:17:07. Andrew Hall crossed the line in second place, ahead of Andy Fellows in third.
Women were less represented in the 100 mile with a solo competitor Libby Adamson crossing the line in just over 7 hours.
The hotly contested battle for the men‚Äôs Full Fling between some in-form elite riders proved to be just that, with the first three riders furiously hitting the line within one-second. Dylan Cooper took line honors with a one-hundredth of a second lead over Ben Mather in second, and Andy Blair in third.
Cooper said: ‚ÄúI blew up three times, but luckily I got back three times too. At the half way point I thought it was over, but I didn‚Äôt want to give it up.‚ÄĚ
Dylan Cooper also wins the inaugural Real Insurance XCM men‚Äôs series.
With just as competitive a field, the female Full Fling was won in 4:54:00 by Jenny Fay, with a clear lead over Peta Mullens in second, and Becky Mates in third.
Fay said: ‚ÄúI had a strategy. I raced smart. I headed in easy and then attacked the hills to get my gap and never looked back. I worked with the other girls and the competition from them was relentless; they rode well.‚ÄĚ
Jenny Fay takes out the Real Insurance XCM female series.
Huw Kingston, Event Founder says:
‚ÄúThe 7th Fling has been our biggest yet with over 2000 riders taking part. The battle at the line for the men‚Äôs Full Fling was intense. It was so close we had to check the results a few times to make sure we had it exactly right. But, just as important as the top-level competition are the ‚Äėweekend warriors‚Äô for many of whom The Fling will have been their first mountain bike race. Every year the numbers increase, showing the popularity of the sport. There‚Äôs not too many other sports where you can line up next to the elites, race and enjoy the incredible community atmosphere that mountain biking, and events like The Fling offer.‚ÄĚ
Half Fling results:
Half Fling Male
- Trenton Day (2:07:47)
- Cameron Ivory
- Andrew East
Half Fling Female
- Rowena Fry (2:39:24)
- Michelle Ainsworth
- Karen Evans
Full race category results will be available at www.wildhorizons.com.au.
More about the Briars Highland Fling: Riders can take part in the Full Fling (solo 110km), Half Fling (solo 55km) and Flinging Threesome (relay style teams of 3) or the 100Mile Fling option (165km). ¬†There is also a Casual Fling (14km) untimed participation ride.
The Briars Highland Fling passes through farmland tracks, State Forests and local villages. Riders encounter singletrack, open paddock, rough 4WD track, dirt roads and a section of sealed road. The 2300 metres of enjoyable climbing gives spectacular views and a sweet 2300 metres of downhill.