What a race! The weather threw a massive spanner in the works for the top 30 men with torrential rain turning the first two stages into rivers and seeing many ex-World Champions languishing outside the top 100. The pits were a mass of riders changing tyres and trying desperately to clean drivetrains and brakes before heading back up for more.
Local heroes took the podium led by Wyn Masters (pictured above), the colourful Kiwi dominating with some serious style ahead of compatriots Matt Walker and brother Eddie Masters. 4th and 5th place showed two riders worth watching for the season, Sam Hill and Greg Callaghan respectively. These two were in that tricky top 30 but were some of the few riders who coped with the conditions. Fitness and skills in abundance.
In the woman's race Cecile Ravanel took up where she left off in 2016 with a fine win, dominating all but the last stage which was won by Scot Katie Winton who went on a late charge to finish 5th. 2nd was Ines Thoma and 3rd Anita Gehrig.
In the Under 21 category Chilean Pedro Burns won ahead of Ireland's own Killian Callaghan who had a stormer of a day despite some early crashes.
It was an emotional weekend for the Canyon team of Thoma who's manager, Flo Gorel, suddenly and tragically passed away just before the race. We all knew Flo from his trips to the Emerald Enduro and he was always a pleasure to deal with, great fun and full of enthusiasm for the sport. He'll be sadly missed and we'd like to express our condolences to all his family, friends and teammates.
Next up is a new venue on the circuit, EWS Tasmania on the 9th of April with a Challenger event the day before. After that it's on to the island of Madeira before the racers arrive in Ireland in the last weekend of May.