Victoria Tops National MTBO Rankings for 2022

Victoria’s MTBO team have capped off a stellar year with some fantastic performances at the ACT Champs weekend, the final round of the National MTBO Series. It was a ‘vintage year’ for Victorian MTBO riders – we had the ‘have bike will travel’ ethic after so much COVID for past two years, with excellent attendances and performances at all rounds of the series.

Particular note – our two top juniors travelled with Maya Bennette (YV) topped the W-16 class and then at last weekends ACT Champs she stepped up to take 3 wins in the W-20 elite class (‘cause the W-16 courses were getting too short). Hats off to Lucas Kent (YV) as he rode away with the M-16 gold with two strong wins out of three rides in ACT. In 2023 if we can just get some Victorian M-14 and W-14 to travel as well as more M/W-16 riders – along with Maya and Lucas – Victoria will start building a strong junior involvement in MTBO at the National level.

Our elite Seniors did well with Ricky Thackray taking out the M21 crown, Carolyn Jackson tieing with Marina Iskhavova (ACT) for the W21 – both on 150 points. Surprise of the weekend was the excellent riding of Gavin Bennette (YV) who won all three races (Middle, Sprint, and Long). Heather Leslie (BK) won two out of three races to claim the National Champion W60 crown, while Leigh Privett (AW) did the same (2 out of 3) to top the National M70’s. Steven Law (BK, M60) took the first Middle distance race, but finished 5th in the Long on Sunday on his first mtbo trip interstate. Kathy Liley (YV, W70) ground out 3 tough wins over the weekend to claim the National W70 title again. Keith Wade (TK, M80) rounded out the winners of M80 National honours despite not making the trip to Canberra – maybe next year!

But it was the combined performance of all 15 riders who made the long, wet trip to Canberra – despite the floods and limited riding preparation after the 2022 Australian Championships in Victoria just two weeks ago – that made the big difference in the team scores. Victoria eclipsed all the records since the National MTBO started in 2008 to top all states in the Men’s 21 Elite (71 points), Women’s 21 Elite (107 points), Women-20 Elite (27 points), Men/Women Elite 21 Combined (134 points), W/M Elite 21 and -20 combined (205 points),  Mens Masters Combined (M40 to M80) – 304 points – and Men and Women Master Combined (M/W 40 to M/W 80), 552 Points. The rankings are based on a 9 for 1st, 7 for 2nd, 5 for 3rd, etc- just like the foot-o teams.

What is truly remarkable about our return this year from COVID is that these Victorian landmarks are the BEST results in each of the categories listed above since the National Elite MTBO Series competition started in 2008, and since 2010 when the National Masters MTBO Series commenced to encourage Seniors to travel to 2 or more states to have a truly national series. The full set of historic Victorian results in the National MTBO Series are available here.

So take your hats off – hip,  hip, hooray – for the ‘fab 15’ who made the trips north to NSW (in the torrents of Newcastle), Qld (Carolyn, Kathy, Rick and Leigh braved that trip) and ACT (the final national event for 2022).

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