In today’s stage along the resplendent Sunshine Coast, Neil Kindree (Specialized/EMD Serono) came to the table and put a winning bid for the overall on the table. At the close of yesterday’s stage the prevailing attitude was that Barry Wicks (Kona Bikes) had signed the deed to the house, but in the closest men’s race in BCBR history this sale is still open for bids. Wicks didn’t exactly fall apart, but Kindree didn’t waste any time in reclaiming the time he had lent Barry the day before and charged him an extra five-seconds for the loan. Chris Sheppard of the Rocky Mountain Factory team also slapped Wicks with a penalty by dropping him on the RedBull Gravity Enduro stage, which he won in dominating fashion, and regulated Wicks to third place, his lowest finish of the race.
Kindree flew through the first half of the race and by the time he reached ‘Guys Gulch’ trail and started the climb up ‘Hwy 103’ he had a slim 45 seconds on Sheppard. Riders were greeted by the most technical section of climbing and had to negotiate roots and four-inch wide skinnies to avoid the wettest sections of old forest. Tired bodies were hugging the side of the ridge and carefully balancing across classic North Shore style bridges that looked ready to be absorbed by the rain forest if left un-ridden for a week.
At the entrance to the Easton Gravity Enduro Redbull section, Kindree had a solid minute lead, but Wicks and Sheppard were in pursuit. Wicks led into the final descent but with a few too many miss-steps and Sheppard was able go solo as he floated away on the rollicking descent.
Matt Hadley of the Exprezo Borseo-Factory team rolled in seven minutes back for fourth. “Today was great, super fun. I really like singletrack and this was a good day for shredding. Those first three guys just have a little more snap.”
In the overall Kindree now has the slimmest margin of five seconds over Wicks while Sheppard has cut his deficit to three and a half minutes. Hadley and Cory Wallace (Kona) are only separated by 3:45. With two days left it means there are still plenty of checks to be cashed.