ABOUT 250 students from 16 schools across Tasmania had good reason to head home covered in mud on Friday.
All had acquainted themselves with the charms of Kate Reed reserve in Prospect in the second Tasmanian all-schools mountain bike championships.
St Patrick’s College teacher Adrian Cooper again put the word out and the state’s growing band of dedicated young mountain bikers leapt at the invitation.
“We got quite a few people interested straight away and this year it was just a case of updating the emailing list a bit and we’ve ended up with 50 more riders and four more schools,” said Cooper, who was recently awarded clubman of the year by Launceston Mountain Bike Club.
“It’s nice to have a little window of good weather and I’m sure a lot of washing machines are going to be busy tonight.
“Everybody seems very keen to get involved and we definitely want to keep it an annual event.”
Riverside High enjoyed a double success with Sam Fox winning the under-17 boys race and Izzy Flint claiming the under-15 girls.
Both are familiar to national level competition, although Flint is more at home at the nearby Silverdome having been selected for both track and road junior nationals.
“I do some of the local twilight events but that was my first real race and it’s pretty awesome to win,” said Flint, who turns 14 next week.
“I’d love tobe able to have a really good crack at mountain biking and maybe go to some of the national series.
“I like the freedom you get whichever bike you are on. I really like the difficulty that comes with mountain biking but also the speed and feel of the track and you can’t go wrong with the road.”
Two-time national marathon champion Fox added: “That was really, really muddy _ a bit like a slalom course _ and very hectic.”
Defending his title from last year, the 15-year-old said:”I had a bit of pressure going in and you never know how it’s going to go but I feel pretty good about that.”
RESULTS _Under-15 boys:1 Liam JOHNSTON (Launceston Christian School), 2 Riley COWLING (St Patrick’s),3 Sam MCEWEN (Queechy). Girls: 1Isabel Flint (Riverside), 2 Amy Wright (Queechy), 3 Fenella Harris (St Pat’s).
Under-17 boys:1 Sam FOX (Riverside),2 Mitchell GITTUS (St Virgil’s),3 Innes FERRIER (Launceston Church Grammar). Girls: 1 Rebecca Bye (St Pat’s), 2 Jessica Callendar (Brooks), 3 Maddison Brown (St Pat’s).
Under-19 boys:1 Ewan FERRIER (Launceston College),2 Oscar BANNERMAN (Guilford Young),3 Conner GALVIN-RIDGE (Launceston College). Girls: 1 Emily Down (St Pat’s), 2 Emma Wadley(St Pat’s).
Bunch ride: Scotch Oakburn College’s Alex Grove leads a group through the bush at Kate Reed.
Winners are grinners: Boys under-17 third place-getter Innes Ferrier, winner Sam Fox and second place Mitchell Gittus are all smiles after a close race. Pictures: Scott Gelston
Blur: Hutchins’ Tom Taglieri flies along the course during the boys under-17 race.
Mitchell Gittus in action
Flint strikes: Girls under-15 race winner Izzy Flint, of Riverside High, relaxes after her event.
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