A team of four mountain bikers from the Broken Hill Cycling Club claimed glory at the 18-hour Bike Melrose race this past weekend.
The team of Ethan Kimball, David Stephenson, Rowan Hamilton, and Ben Evans achieved their victory, despite the fact it was the first time the team had contested the event.
They covered nearly 292 kilometres in the endurance race, in numerous laps of the 10.1-kilometre course. And it was a close-run thing, with just one second separating our local team and the team in second place after nine hours of competition.
“It took until the 14-hour mark for us to try and grab a couple of minutes lead,” Ben Evans told the B Truth.
“In a race like this it’s just who can tolerate the pain the longest.”
Because the race was so close it wasn’t until the very final stages that a big enough lead was secured by the team and they felt comfortable with proclaiming victory.
“It was so close. It was only really in the last couple of laps that we started thinking we had won. In a race like this one it’s just who can tolerate the pain the longest,” Mr Evans continued.
The celebrations began on the last lap, but as you can imagine after an event such as this one, some serious sleep time was a priority for most of the team following their exploits.
“Rowan handed me a beer on the very last lap, so that was a good start. But after that we just went out for dinner and then straight to bed, because we were pretty stuffed, to be honest,” Mr Evans said.
The race, held in Melrose, the oldest town in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, was contested by 145 registered riders this year, an uptick on the 2022 event according to Bike Melrose Club president Don Norton.
“This is our thirteenth year running the event,” Mr Norton told the Truth.
“We have tweaked the format slightly over the years. For example, we used to start at midnight, and about three years ago we changed the start time to 10pm which proved a hit with volunteers and riders, so we have kept it that way.”
The aim this year was to keep expenses down, and it paid dividends for Bike Melrose, with the not-for-profit organisation achieving its most successful financial return to date, a good result for both the club and the sport, said Mr Norton.
As for our local champions, their priority is to grow the Broken Hill Cycling Club (formerly the Broken Hill Mountain Bike Club). And they hope this latest result can go a long way to getting more ‘bums on bikes’.
“We are hoping to generate a bit of interest in the community and get a few more bums on bikes,” Mr Evans said.
“We have a close relationship/rivalry with Coomealla, the Mildura Racing Club, which is great. It’s just good fun, we don’t take it too seriously – it’s good for a laugh,” Mr Evans said.
If you are interested in joining the Broken Hill Cycling Club and help in their mission to get back to pre-Covid participation numbers, give Ben Evans a call on 0418 961 244. Who knows, you could Broken Hill’s next cycling champion.