Port to Port Come Down to the Wire

26 May 2018

Defending champion Brendan Johnston has clawed his way back in the leader’s jersey at Port to Port MTB, with a solid performance in the Fat Tyre Crit and a stunning ride in the Awaba/Watagans, Lake Macquarie stage. Women’s leader Holly Harris was unstoppable yet again and barring incident looks certain to cruise to her first Port to Port win.

The first two days of racing were dominated by Cam Ivory but with the help of Michael Potter and Tas Nankervis, Johnston has staged a remarkable recovery to find himself tantalisingly close to achieving back to back victories. However, today’s allies will be tomorrow’s competitors and when the riders roll out for the final stage, the gloves will be off with Johnston desperate to both defend his 14 second buffer over Nankervis and keep Ivory from making up any time.

“Today was the Queen stage where big gaps are possible if you get away on the longer climb and over the top. It was a tough day out. Tas and Potts were certainly putting in, making me hurt, making Cam hurt and the rest of the field hurt. They were the only riders who were comfortable.”

“Tas and I shared a common objective of gaining time on Cam and we did that but once we were together and away, he was obviously racing me as hard as I was racing him. In a situation like that, you have to have a conversation about working together. If you sit up at the top of the climb it is too easy for the guys who have been dropped to roll back on. Everyone knew what they had to do and then they just had to commit and do as much work as you can. That is what we all did.”

“Having the jersey back is unreal. From day one, when I thought I was out of it, I have gotten better and better and I am really pleased. This event means a lot to me, I am really proud of that. We are into day four tomorrow so it will be tired legs. I went pretty deep in the Fat Tyre Crit last night and even the first part of today I was hurting in the legs. Who knows how I will turn up tomorrow, I could be a bit cooked but we will see how we go,” Johnston said

Stage three winner Michael Potter was out of contention for the General Classification but that didn’t stop him from causing mayhem on course, driving the breakaway and totally changing the complexity of the race.

“Tas ripped up the climb and that is where we got our gap, so from then on it was like a road race and were just chopping off all day. Tas and Brendan were really nice and let me have the win because I am out of GC after losing six minutes yesterday with three punctures. But these two are still going for the GC win. They had their own little battle but I was just able to have fun working hard for them because they are both really good guys. We will see what happens tomorrow. It is going to be a bit of an epic between these three, Trekky, Tasman and Cam,” Potter said.

In stage 3 it was once again Holly Harris first and daylight second, with the smiling assassin building up a 22 minute buffer going into the final day.

“I was really happy with today. I struggle on the flat stuff but I was so happy to keep up with these amazing guy riders who were really punching it out. I was just hanging on the back for dear life but I am so stoked with the win. I am loving this race, just frothing it. Tomorrow is all about enjoying it. I am really happy with everything so far, I couldn’t have written the script better myself. I know tomorrow’s race finishes on the beach and if there is food there it will suit me perfectly,” she laughed.

The race is still well and truly alive for second place with Sarah Tucknott grabbing another podium and closing in on Jessica Simpson in the GC.

“Sarah rode really well and with Penny, they turned me upside down. I really don’t know how I am going to get up tomorrow morning and ride my bike. Holly is definitely setting the standard for this race, we will be hard pressed to catch her at this point. She needs to have a little break and let us catch up,” Jessica said.

Prior to the race Sarah Tucknott was hoping for a top five finish. The 19 year old from Perth has exceeded all expectations and she is hoping to climb one step higher on the podium tomorrow.

“I pulled some time on Jessica and the plan is to keep pushing. I need to get into the Glenrock single track first, then put the hammer down and then see what happens,” she said.

Port to Port MTB Stage 3

Male                                                                             Female

1          Michael POTTER (44)               02:15:23           1          Holly HARRIS (67)                    02:35:26

2          Tasman NANKERVIS (4)          02:15:23           2          Sarah TUCKNOTT (68)             02:43:13

3          Brendan JOHNSTON (1)           02:15:23           3          Jessica SIMPSON (63)             02:43:35


Port to Port MTB General Classification


Pos      Name                                       Time                Stage 1            Stage 2            Stage 3

1          Brendan JOHNSTON (1)           06:15:48           01:56:09           02:04:14            02:15:23

2          Tasman NANKERVIS (4)          06:16:02           01:56:06           02:04:32            02:15:23

3          Cameron IVORY (2)                  06:17:16           01:56:03           02:03:46            02:17:26


Pos      Name                                       Time                Stage 1            Stage 2            Stage 3

1          Holly HARRIS (67)                    07:14:36           02:15:43           02:23:25            02:35:26

2          Jessica SIMPSON (63)             07:36:33           02:21:21           02:31:36            02:43:35

3          Sarah TUCKNOTT (68)             07:39:06           02:26:28           02:29:24            02:43:13