Fast and Furious for Stage Two

25 May 2018

The intensity of racing at Port to Port MTB hit redline with only five seconds separating the top three riders in general classifications. After two days of racing local hero Cameron Ivory is wearing in the leader’s jersey but he has been hotly pursued by Bendigo’s Tas Nankervis and the defending champion Brendan Johnston.

In damage control after struggling to find his legs, Johnston was on the back foot on day one, but reinvigorated he was the star of the show this morning, not only winning the stage two (Killingworth- Lake Macquarie) but regaining his self belief, out sprinting Ivory and Nankervis for victory.

“Yesterday was a bit strange for me, I normally feel really comfortable on the long climbs but it was the exact opposite and I have never really had that feeling before. On the first climb I was thinking I am feeling really good. I let Tas and Potts lead out and we got a gap on Cam, so I was pretty happy that the form had returned. Jonny Odams was riding really well and he is so fast on the single track and we were just hanging on. It is quite enjoyable to just follow his wheel. We had a group of guys and it was good until the end, where it really opened up.”

“As soon as we turned off the single track onto the fire trails it was full gas, dust everywhere and the power was pretty high for the last couple of kilometres. I normally look at the finish to suss it out before the start but I was a bit rushed and thought we came straight into the finish. Instead we did a big loop around the golf course. Cam went early and gapped me and I closed him down. I thought I better go past and see what I could do and managed to hold him off.”

“I don’t know how but I am stoked with the result, it was a real turnaround and I am really looking forward to the next two days. It is a real race out in front with only seconds between all of us. It is wild and I think it is going to be one of the best Port to Ports ever because the closeness of the competition. It was one of the most fun days I have had at Port to Port, although I am sure Sunday might challenge it,” Johnston said.

Port to Port leader Cam Ivory tried all day to drop riders on his local trails but he couldn’t shake anyone and he echoed Johnston’s sentiments about the quality of racing in the fifth anniversary year.

“They kept buzzing my tyre and there were six or seven us together for that whole section. It made for fun, exciting racing. It is exciting for the spectators and it is exciting for the riders to see how close we all are. We are just on the limit trying to get a second here and a second there. That is all there is to it at the moment. We have the tonight’s Fat Tyre Crit stage with the time bonuses which will form a few gaps and then two hard stages to come,” he said.

Australian international MTB dynamo Holly Harris, who rides for MERIDA Gunn-Rita continued her dominance of the women’s race, extending her lead out to more than 13 minutes. But the time gap wasn’t Holly’s main focus. The smiling assassin is just determined to have fun and enjoy every pedal stroke of the four day event.

“I was a little sore yesterday but I came in to this stage feeling really good, really enjoying it. At the start there was a big road climb and then we had some really beautiful single trail. It was really raw and not super padded down and groomed, and that is what I really like. It is really mountain bikeresque trails and it was awesome.”

But riding wasn’t always Holly’s passion, it slowly sneaked up on her and in the last eight years she had developed into one of MTB’s hottest properties.

“As a kid I didn’t want a bar of riding. Dad rode for ages and it was his thing but one day I hurt my knee running. I was about 15 and decided I would go for a ride with him and we rode 12km. I thought I was so good at this thing. Then I went and did a race and won $50 and the rest is history.”

“How long have I been seriously riding? I don’t know if I seriously ride yet,” she said. “I guess I started in 2012 getting into the World Cups going away with the Australian team as a junior and things like that. I was pretty damn horrible then but I have been slowly improving since. For me riding is about enjoying myself but the big goal is to be competitive in the World Cups and show people that I can do it. It feels unreal to be on Gunn-Rita’s team. I am so honoured that she thought I would be a good fit.”

Nineteen year old Perth rider Sarah Tucknott put herself into contention with a strong second place in stage two, eclipsing her pre-race expectations.

“I was first girl up the climb and then Holly came past me and there was no way I was hopping on her wheel she was just so fast. I ended up staying with Jess Simpson and Penny Slater up the climb and then passed them before we got into the single track. From then onward I just rode my own race and went hard for two and a half hours. I have been racing since I was seven or eight and I grew up on single track, so it is my strength so this stage suited me. My aim when I came here was top five, so anything above fifth I am stoked with. I tend to be a bit of diesel and get better as the days go on so I am looking forward to the next few days.”

Port to Port MTB results Stage Two


1          Open    Brendan JOHNSTON (1)           02:04:44

2          Open    Cameron IVORY (2)                  02:04:46

3          Open    Tasman NANKERVIS (4)          02:04:47


1          Open    Holly HARRIS (67)                    02:24:25

2          Open    Sarah TUCKNOTT (68)             02:30:09

3          Open    Jessica SIMPSON (63)             02:32:06


General Classification


Pos      Cat       Name                                       Time                Stage 1            Stage 2

1          Open    Cameron IVORY (2)                  04:00:49           01:56:03           00:07:23                       

2          Open    Tasman NANKERVIS (4)          04:00:53           01:56:06           00:07:20                       

3          Open    Brendan JOHNSTON (1)           04:00:54           01:56:09           00:07:14                       


Pos      Cat       Name                                       Time                Stage 1            Stage 2

1          Open    Holly HARRIS (67)                    04:40:09           02:15:43           00:07:22                       

2          Open    Jessica SIMPSON (63)             04:53:27           02:21:21           00:09:24                       

3          Open    Sarah TUCKNOTT (68)             04:56:38           02:26:28           00:02:21