OF all of the 155 teams and solos that entered Sunday’s inaugural round of the Fairfax Media Evocities MTB Series in Orange, one team turned heads more than most.
An unrelenting wave of gears, rubber, dust and lycra, the Wollongong-based Ward Brothers were scintillating, smashing lap after lap of the Kinross State Forest circuit to finish the fastest of any competitor - teams based or solo - with an astonishing 10-lap time of four hours, 10 minutes and 14.09 seconds.
Brothers Kyle and Jayden, national mountain bike representatives having recently returned from touring in Europe, also recorded the single fastest lap of the meet, with Kyle smashing out a 23 minutes, 34.66 seconds rout.
Set to feature in all seven of the series’ legs in 2015, the Ward Brothers are officially the two-man team you have to see to believe.
“We enjoy going fast, and I suppose we’re pretty young so we enjoy going out and flogging it,” Kyle said with a grin.
“We get a kick out of going as hard as we can for as long as we can.
“The shorter format, pairs suits us at the moment.”
The duo will contest - and going on Sunday’s efforts likely win - the team of two male category, having previously predominantly featured in the shorter forms of the sport - think cross country and marathon four-hour events - during their international careers.
Both expected the competition to balloon following Sunday’s opening round.
“Some people will see the results from here and think ‘I’ll come and give this a crack’,” Kyle said, the pair going one-lap on, one-lap off in a rotation that left the on-lookers at Kinross State Forest in a now-you-see-them, now-you-don’t daze.
“I think we’ll have a fair bit of competition from here on in.”
Doubling as the Orange-based Ginja Ninja 250, the series opener is just one step in the way of both Jayden and Kyle giving back to a sport that’s given them opportunity after opportunity.
“It’s nice to be part of the Evocities series. The sport has taken us places so we enjoy kind of giving back and being part of it,” Kyle said.
“We enjoy getting out and getting involved.
“We thought we’d try the Orange trails and we really enjoyed it. It’s a four hour drive, but for a quality four hour drive it’s all worth it.”
“It’s one of the funnest trails I’ve ever done for a four-hour race, to be honest,” Jayden said.
“Here it’s fresh, new, new faces around the Orange community, which we enjoyed.
“For us to come out here and have fun is the main thing. If we’re winning then it’s a bonus as well.”