Canberra pair Jason McAvoy and Andrew Hall has won an enthralling stage one of the seven day Terra Australis. Stage one saw riders tackle a gruelling 65km stage from Falls Creek to Mt Beauty through Victoria’s High Country. McAvoy and Hall (Onya Bike Superstore) completed the stage in 3:03:23 with second placed BSS Rangas a mere 5:53 behind and then the Super Masters team of Roger Cull and Rodney Hart in third overall in 3:11:07.
The result for McAvoy and Hall continues a fruitful summer for the pair. McAvoy is the reigning World 24 Hour Champion (35-39) and Hall finished 11th in the Elite Men’s category at the same event. McAvoy said the day had gone to plan.
“We had planned to ride quite conservatively on the first stage to get a feel for the terrain. The landscape is amazing with massive mountains, rocky descents and grinding climbs. I have never ridden here before and it was everything I expected. The mid section was quite technical and the descent was very challenging. We were fortunate to not have any mechanicals like the Rollin Thunder (UK) boys,” said McAvoy.
Adrian Scott who is one half of the Rollin Thunder (UK) team said that “we suffered a major mechanical which probably cost us 10 minutes. We ripped a side wall of one of our tyres and had to do some bush mechanics as you guys call it. Issues with the bike are frustrating, but that’s racing.”
McAvoy expects the Rollin Thunder team to be a major challenge for the rest of the week. “We have some major distance to cover and it would be crazy to think that we can get through the week without some sort of issue so we live in hope that we can build on our 5 minute lead.”
In one of the other major battles for the week, current Women’s World 24 Hour Champion Jessica Douglas and her partner Brad Davies completed the stage in 3:12:41 with their main rivals Jo Wall and Mark Fenner a further 11:09 back. Mark Fenner said “Jo had a major, major stack and I ripped my rear derailleur to bits so we think with a bit of luck we can get back with Brad and Jess.”
Tomorrow sees the event travel from Falls Creek to Dinner Plain. The epic 92km travels to some of the most remote parts of Victoria. The course includes a blistering 35km descent towards Omeo before a relentless climb up to the alpine village of Dinner Plain. Many teams have eyed off tomorrows stage as a key stage to put some time pressure on their rivals which will make for a relatively fast day of racing.