With almost exclusively Australian and New Zealand athletes at the start of CHALLENGESHEPPARTON, there isn’t any fear being presented with a boring race. In both the men’s and women’s race, which will take place April 11, there is a strong field of pro athletes and there seem to be more than enough athletes who want to do everything to win the race.
Among the women, the big favourite is probably Ellie Salthouse. So far Salthouse is having an amazing season, participated in three races and won all three of them. Still there are more ladies hungry for a win, something that certainly also applies to Amelia Watkinson. Salthouse and Watkinson have fought duels with each other before, and it is Watkinson who will undoubtedly will give all she can to keep Salthouse from winning four times in a row.
As a local favorite, Grace Thek is perhaps the most popular woman, someone who has also proven herself to be a strong athlete on numerous occasions. In addition, there are plenty of other women – such as Courtney Gilfillan, Renee Kiley and Kirra Seldel for example – who are more than able to surprise.
Big favourites and lots of outsiders at men’s race
On the men’s race at CHALLENGESHEPPARTON, much excitement is expected as well, with the highest expectations most likely for Steve McKenna, Trent Thorpe, Matt Burton and Levi Maxwell. McKenna has already won two races this season and seems to be the man in form, but at the same time it is an understatement to say that Maxwell will be pulling out all the stops to beat him. Maxwell is not only the defending champion, but also considered a local favourite. Burton contrasts that with the fact that he is considered the strongest biker of the four, while Thorpe is a true all-around athlete.
Of course, there will be many more pro men starting, who will be fighting for what they are worth. Top athletes like Josh Amberger, Max Neumann, Simon Hearn and Caleb Noble have regularly shown that they are capable of great performances. These men are not only eager to finally be able to race again, but more importantly to show themselves up front in an important race.