Photo by Sholto Douglas

QLD State Cyclocross Championships 2015

Queensland has two new State Cyclocross champions, after the 2015 championships were held at Nundah criterium circuit in Brisbane on Sunday 2nd August.

Robbie McEwen is the male champion, and Imogen Smith is the female champion.

Robbie McEwen put in a surge before the last corner to get away from the other members of a leading quartet, which had battled for the whole 45 mins of the elite mens race.

Defending champion Andy Fellows, local legend Declan Kilkenny and newcomer David Penhaligon were the other protagonists, and each had a go at trying to get a gap. The course at Nundah is mostly flat, and slightly breezy conditions favoured a bunch staying together. It was hard to break away.

Photo by Perry Morgan
Photo by Perry Morgan

With two laps to go, Kilkenny made the strongest attack of the race, and put both McEwen and Penhaligon on the defensive. Fellows was able to chase Kilkenny down, but perhaps at the cost of dulling his sprint for the final lap.

For the previous two editions of the State titles, both held at Ipswich, Andy Fellows (from the Sunshine Coast) has simply ridden away from the elite men’s field. This year, as something of a measure of the improvement in the standard of racing in Queensland, it was a more even contest.

Elite Men's Lead Group - Photo by Sholto Douglas
Elite Men’s Lead Group – Photo by Sholto Douglas

McEwen admitted afterwards that his preparation (six weeks in Europe, first on a family holiday and later on media commitments at the Tour de France) was non-existent, and he was in real danger of being dropped from the lead group several times.

“I don’t think the other boys knew how much I was suffering,” he said.

However much that was, Robbie still had enough for a burst at the end of the race which none of the others could match.

Andy Fellows was second, David Penhaligon third (on a mountain bike, so his result was not included in the State CX Championship results), and Declan Kilkenny fourth.

The next bunch across the line was Jeremy Worringham, Mike Blewitt and Rupert Leigh.

Elite Men's Podium - Photo by Sholto Douglas
Elite Men’s Podium – Photo by Sholto Douglas

In the women’s race, Imogen Smith was the class competitor of a small field.

Smith is a well-credentialled mountain bike stage racer, including a Croc Trophy win and international experience. Her previous cross experience was limited to a couple of local races in Brisbane at Murarrie and Chandler. She showed up intending to race on her partner Mike Blewitt’s cross bike, but quickly organised the loan of Sharon Heap’s machine. Heap, the defending women’s champion, is recovering from serious injury which has kept her out of the Queensland races for most of this year.

Imogen Smith - Photo by Sholto Douglas
Imogen Smith – Photo by Sholto Douglas

Nikolina Orlic, a local road racer, was Imogen Smith’s main competition, but a storming first lap from the favourite was enough to establish a lead which she did not relinquish.

Enthusiastic junior racers Olivia Nendick (series leader in the national under 19 series) and Madison Dillon (second behind Ewen McEwen in the under 15 race a few minutes earlier) finished third and fourth, and Yvette Waterfall was fifth.

Elite Women's Podium - Photo by Sholto Douglas
Elite Women’s Podium – Photo by Sholto Douglas

In the junior races, Ewen McEwen dominated the under 15s, and Aidan Taylor continued his great form to win the under 13 race.

Myles Houghton (under 9), Harvey Anderson (under 7) and Ryder Paksec (balance bikes) were also winners on the day, as junior numbers continue to be encouraging.

Kids Racing - Photo by Sholto Douglas
Kids Racing – Photo by Sholto Douglas

The State Championships were also round 2 of the SRAM Series for Queensland Cyclocross. Declan Kilkenny is the series leader in the A grade mens, and Olivia Nendick leads the A/B women.

The B grade men is a real battleground with only five points between series leader Dan Radford, with a win and a second place on his single-speed mtb, and Darren Croad, who overcame a crash and a slow start on Sunday to grab third place.

There are two rounds left in the SRAM Series, on 16th August at Nerang on the Gold Coast, and 30th August back at Nundah.

And for those for whom too much cyclocross is barely enough, there is also a CX race coming up on Saturday 5th September at Samford, as part of the weekend’s festivities for the Qld Cross-Country (XC) Mountain Bike Championships.

Lots of photos from the day can be found on our Facebook Page

Full results from the day can be found HERE

Report by Andrew Demack, Photos by Sholto Douglas & Perry Morgan

Photo by Sholto Douglas
Photo by Sholto Douglas
Photo by Perry Morgan
Photo by Perry Morgan