Jetblack’s 12hr mountain bike race recently went down at the James Estate Winery. Situated in N.S.W.’s beautiful wine region of the Hunter Valley the winery has constructed a series of trails that runs through the vineyards and single trails into the bush at the back of the land. As you might have guessed Gil and I were up there to cover all the happenings and goings on over the weekend. Also there was Jason English in order to defend his title which he did successfully making it his 5th 12hr in a row.
The James Estate Winery is near the small town of Denman in the Upper Hunter Valley. Graeme Scott, the winery’s manager, has worked hard to open up and maintain the trails around the vineyard and the land bordering the Wollemi National park. For Events such as this he also opens up one of his paddocks and turns it into a campground. Many people took advantage of the camping while others set up base in the nearby towns.
This year’s race drew in almost 400 competitors raced and around 200 spectators. Many were familiar faces for Gil and I from the Shimano GP series but there was also plenty of new faces as well which was great to see. The race was run on the same track as this year”s Shimano GP. Originally planned for a 9am start race organisers decided to delay until 10 to give everyone a chance to warm up a bit after the cold night before the race started. The start area was amidst the tents of the campground with stalls for tasting wine and local produce. At 10am the race got underway.
Gil and I wandered the track over the day. Gil took the vineyard this time while I set off to the single trail in the back. It was great conditions as far as the weather was concerned, at least where I was, cool but not to the point of being cold at least until later. Gil mentioned something about a cold gusty wind where he was up on the hill but in the sun and protected by the trees things were lovely. As the race moved on into the evening and darkness fell so did the temperature. Those watching and those waiting for their next lap moved closer to the bonfires burning around the basecamp and we all rugged up tighter. Gil climbed the hill behind the Vineyard and got a wonderful view across the area and the lights of the centre and competitors circling it. I stayed around the base and shot the competitors as they came in through the camp again. After the race people gathered around the bonfires near the start area for presentation.
Gil has created a wonderful slideshow with some of the weekend’s highlights that you can see below. And below that you will find few of our favourite shots from the day.
To see all the images from the day check out the gallery on our website here
To see the full results check out Rocky Trail Entertainment’s Website here