Scott 24Hr - Jet Masters
To follow on from Ant's report, the older constabulary of Jet Racing also had a fantastic time, great success, and the building on some new friendships that make these events something a little different then a marathon or individual event.
Our team was formed from a group of us that have over the last 12 mths come together through racing each other competitively over the marathon season. This was something different, this time all of us would be working together for a common result.
Our team included:
Paul (Slowman) Sloan
Steve (The Black) Knight
Matt (The Jack) Russel
Brian (The Weatherman) Tracey
Kane (Mona) McLachlan
Over the weeks preceding the event the team / equipment was organised, and it all came together for our start on the Saturday. I must admit, our in team weatherman failed on his normally precise weather predictions, with snow falling and reports that Kowen was under a foot and a half of snow. Fortunately Stromlo did not seem to suffer the same consequences.
As one of the younger riders of the Masters team, I seem to be the default choice for the starting position, and I too took my position in front of the mob of hundreds of riders lining up for the start.
Unlike the Mont the lemans start consistent of a 50m run, then chaos of hundreds of riders trying to find their bike and get underway. Fortunately, I secured my bike early and managed to move into the group of the first 30 or so riders.
The first lap was a blur, with my main intention of moving up through the field to give our next rider a clear lap for lap 2. The track as this stage was in pretty good shape, and I managed to return in the top 20 riders, to get the team off to a good start.
With that Steve took off on what was known as the Red lap which climbed to the top of Stromlo, and came down the well know Skyline / Luge downhill. Steve also set a cracking time and we were placed in 2nd after two laps amongst some very fast Masters teams.
Brian, then set off on the next lap (Blue Lap) which had the same amount of climbing as the Red Lap, but was somewhat more rocky and technical, and longer. Brian came in maintaining our position in 2nd place. The boys Matt, Paul and Kane all setoff completing their first lap, and on review of the times there was no more than a minute separating each member of the team across all laps.
I think after 6 laps we were all very surprised, we had a team that was very consistent, and competitive across the board, not only at a Masters level. With the Elite team giving us a few tips along the way our confidence increased.
Saturday afternoon and evening the conditions deteriated, with the blue lap and the bottom of the red lap becoming a quagmire. Lap times began to slow, and the mud and energy sapping conditions began to take its toll.
Through the night the team switched to double laps, to allow some rest. As many would know who have done 24's previously, this is where the errors happen. Our team did brilliantly through the night, maintaining consistent laps time and everybody eager and ready to commence their laps and take the baton from the previous rider (well maybe a couple of exceptions). Yes we had some crashes and falls, Matt and Kane struggled on the blue lap in the conditions, but never stopped driven by the team camaraderie and want for team success. The elite guys were awesome sharing advice and tips / strategy through the night kept us all in the mix.
With dawn approaching, we looked at the leader board and we had slipped 1 place overnight, but still had a considerable lead over the rest of the competition. With 6 hours to go everybody tired, the two teams really came together.
There was urgency in the camp, and both teams were keen to improve or consolidate their position.
Brian and Paul (not so slow this weekend), and myself hit the blue lap, whilst Steve and Matt hit the red lap with vigour. In the poor conditions our lap times quickened, and lap after lap our times were improving amazing for a team that had ridden for almost 24 hrs.
The team was awesome, coming in 3rd in Masters, and 27th overall, out of over 450 teams. For the first time riding as a group, I am proud of the result and what we achieved together.
Back next year ? For sure.
Thanks to Jet Cycles / Specialized and our illustrious elite team for sharing their time, advice, tactics and general trash talk throughout the event. Maybe us old dogs can learn new tricks :-)