Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

 MTB index page for all MTB content

Simpson Desert Challenge - NE

Australia, September 30 - October 5, 2007


Two riders complete full Simpson Desert Challenge

By Su Spencer

When it comes to ultra-endurance mountain bike riding there is no substitute for experience and knowledge of how your body will respond. In this edition of the Simpson Desert Bike Challenge only two competitors were able to ride 100% of the course: 592 km in nine stages over 4.5 days.

First, based on cumulative time, was the tenacious and vastly experienced Bruce Wood from Queensland, an Epic regular who admitted that even entering the gruelling event was the result of a last-minute "brain explosion" on his part. He established a lead early in the challenge with strong sand riding and a marathon pace, and he hung onto that lead for the remainder of the event despite riding in considerable pain (at least when seated!). The only other finisher was Andrew Koop, from Alice Springs, a five-time veteran of the Simpson Desert who knows what it takes to complete each stage even when pre-race training is not all that it could it be.

Several riders "blew up" early in the hot and soft conditions, with two-thirds of the field eliminated from full-distance contention by the end of the first stage. Weather conditions during the 2007 event were hotter than in recent years, with some punishing head winds and difficult tracks. Traditionally relatively pleasant sections such as the lakeside track on stage five were this year made more difficult by drifting sand on the track. Support vehicles had their own challenges with some of the dunes, especially in a 10km section just before Kuncherinna Junction, and the support crews were as relieved as the riders to see the end of the stage.

An outstanding female rider was Kathy Moylan (Alice Springs), who was a victim of mechanical problems but rode strongly throughout the challenge to good stage placings and has vowed to return and deal with "unfinished business". Mick Harvey, fulfilling a long term ambition to ride the Simpson, spent a lot of time off his bike seat after doing himself some serious early damage, then produced the traditional finish-line crash in Birdsville to the delight of the spectators. Audax-experienced Leon Malzinskas of Inverloch, Victoria, has now declared himself a retired rider and plans to return in future as medical support. But his approach to the event made him the unanimous choice of race organisers for the "Bean Attitude Award".


1 Bruce Wood                38.46.58 (100% of 592km)
2 Andrew Koop                1.59.02 (100%)
3 Matthias Axt               8.22.53 (94%)
4 Mathew Dickerson           8.36.47 (89%)
5 Leon Malzinskas            9.36.28 (90%)
6 Ron Whitehead             13.04.17 (85%)
7 Kathleen Moylan           13.16.14 (83%)
8 Matt O’Neill              15.17.53 (80%)
9 Andrew Armsrong-Taylor    16.58.20 (77%)
10 Ryan Hyde                17.49.18 (73%)
11 Gregg Berry              19.51.40 (75%)
12 Rick Neale               24.40.50 (63%)
13 Cara Malzinskas          24.52.47 (63%)
14 Michael Harvey           25.01.39 (59%)
15 Tim Sullivan             30.41.38 (52%)
16 Stuart Wigfall           35.41.43 (43%)
17 Neville Nottle           43.46.43 (27%)