Close to 80 riders amassed for the finale of the Cycle World Dunedin CX series – the Emersons Classic. The naive thought it would be an easy roll, some even spoke of a “roadie” course, no mud, no technical. Obviously that was never going to fly and there was plenty of CX action as riders took on harbour-dredge sludge holes, a mind bender of a Belgium Circle, and slippery, tight corner action which claimed plenty of victims. Hecklers corner this week was in full noise as riders struggled with the slippery surface around the barrier jumps – the Emersons patrons delighted with the unexpected entertainment of a Sunday afternoon!
The race was a fascinating cauldron of series rivalries, with many category podiums to be decided in race 6. Big fields mean the start is everything. How many people were a little nervous to see a learner driver lesson in the Stadium car park as we were given the countdown to unleash?! After the log jam at the underpass cleared the top speedsters were away and the second group of riders were sorting out the hierarchy. The bog hole was a key leveller and many positions changed here over the laps. Loved the SH88 speed section and then it was into Emersons to take on the barriers. I hear tell of many near misses, a few hits, and quite a bit of beer consumed! Wondering if the beer helped or hindered in the dizzying Belgium Circle? Exit the grass, jump the curb – hit the angle right and unweight the back end to avoid puncturing. Up the pinchie bank and onto the Wickliffe St over bridge, full noise into the head wind by the railway tracks then into the cycle lanes, up the steps and into the greasy serpentine before the bog hole again. Does anyone know if the young rider who lost his shoes in the shite came good?
Up ahead mechanicals had taken out two of the contenders, Dave Headley and Guy Carter. Paul Gough and Tom Kaminszky were joined at the wheel, with Warwick McLaren in the mix and dealing out the hurt on his MTB. However, one rider had already gapped the field and was pulling away, lap by lap. Jeremy Furlong stamped his authority yet again to confirm that he was the dominant CX rider. Regardless of course profile – fast, technical, strength or speed based – Furlong had the fitness and skills to prevail. As they say in road scene, chapeau.
Fifty-few minutes after the gun Furlong took the overall win and first CX rider. McLaren was second, and first MTB rider, after passing Gough (third) in the last corner, with Kaminszky in fourth. Paula Hasler was first woman and CX rider. Ever the professionals the timing team sorted the series results on the spot and the prize giving acknowledged the considerable effort of the organisers, the volunteers, the generous permission to use facilities from the DCC, Emersons, Waiora Scout Camp and Beachlands – and of course, the top series riders! With the growth in participation this season, who knows how big CX will become in 2018? Only 10 months to go and we will see…
A huge thank you to all competitors, spectators and marshalls, as well as this week’s course designers.
Click the link for the full results – RESULTS