Held each year to remember one of Australia's most respected mountain bikers James Williamson who sadly passed away in 2010, the Willo has become a much loved event for everyone who participates each year. Held usually in Wingello, NSW the race this year was moved to Sparrow Hill in Canberra after the Wingello forest was devastated by bushfires this summer.
This year saw the 10th running of the Willo and the event now run by Rock Trail Entertainment attracted a who's who of Australian Cross Country Marathon racers to the start line. Representing Giant Australia was the entire Giant Australia Off-Road Team as well as Josh Carlson of the global Giant Factory Off-Road Team.
The pace was on from the gun with a short fire road section raced hard before heading straight into the predominantly singletrack course that featured lots of rough pine trail sections throughout. After the first lap a break of three consisting of Brendan Johnston, Jonny Odams & Reece Tucknott had taken a lead from the remainder of the field which they would hold until the end of the final lap.
During the last lap it came down to Brendan Johnston and Reece Tucknott who held a small gap back to Jonny Odams in third place, the two eventually fought out the victory in a sprint with Brendan taking the victory on his Anthem Advanced Pro 29 0 XC race bike. Fellow Giant riders also finished in the top 10 with Paul van der Ploeg in 6th and Josh Carlson in 10th.
After winning the Willo Brendan had this to say after the event, "It’s very special to get the victory at the Willo for me. Obviously James and I were good friends and he was a great mentor to me early in my career. I always seem to be able to find something extra when racing the Willo, I’m sure he’d be proud of yesterday’s race. It was a really strong field and it was awesome to finish off a tough day with an exciting sprint against Reece."