From Australia to the world
Having completed a stellar cyclocross season Down Under, the MAAP Sixpence CX team is preparing to bring the noise in Europe. Before they make the big trip to the sport’s heartland. Here’s what athletes Fiona Morris, Garry Millburn and Chris Aitken have been up to during the Australian CX season.
The trio brought their positive energy and racing steel to every event they entered this year, climbing more podiums than you can count on two hands.
Millburn and Aitken captured their State Championship titles in Victoria and New South Wales respectively, with Aitken going on to win the National Series overall, a precursor to more successes to come. Millburn also took silver in the series with Morris rounding out the results by taking third in the overall classification in the women’s league.
Mix in the SEVEN UCI gravel race for Millburn and Morris, plus the National Gravel Championships in Tasmania for the trio, and you have a solid run of racing action.
Then came the highlight of the season, the national championships from Ballarat, Victoria. An iconic ‘cross day – for one race only, the warm and dry season was replaced by a filthy mud bath in late August.
The green, white and gold jersey worn by Aussie cycling champs of every discipline is an icon of the sport, so when Aitken crossed the line to win the team’s first ever national title, the feeling of pride was unbelievable. What carried him to victory though was a phenomenal team effort.
With the mud proving the biggest challenge of the day, Aitken and Millburn had to do a total of 30 bike swaps and washes over the one hour race! This consisted of a six-strong pit crew doing bike swaps, keeping the water topped up for the pressure hose and then running the bike to the other side of the course where Morris was standing waiting to clean. Throw in a couple of washes for other competitors and there you have the quintessential positive energy that the MAAP Sixpence CX team always displays.
That’s what we call a team effort.
The memorable weekend was rounded out by Millburn also climbing the podium to win bronze – one minute and 26 seconds behind Aitken – and Morris placing in the top five.
The team behind the team
The season could not have been such a major success without the unsung heroes behind the scenes who keep the team on track and helped deliver the trio to victory.
A community of helpers that are behind every result, including Fiona’s dad, Jim Morris, who as team driver has transported the rider’s kit all over the country so that they could “live the pro life” and fly out to the races. Aitken’s wife, Tia, is also a huge part of operations, attending most of the races and being the number one supporter. Morris’ ‘hype man’ Brad could also lay claim to that title; a long-time friend and racer, when focus, calm, experience or even brevity is needed, he’s on hand. Whether it’s working in the pits or being on the finish line, Brad keeps the team ticking on race day.
MAAP Sixpence CX isn’t just a racing team, it’s truly a family.
The team just returned to gravel racing for events including the Gravelista World Series from Beechworth, Victoria and the epic 246km Dirty Warny which acted as a good indicator to how the legs are going into the European scene.
Next up, it’s crunch time when Millburn and Morris make the trip to Europe to represent MAAP Sixpence CX and Australia at a host of World Cup and C1/C2 races from mid-December through February. They will be competing against the best in the world and it’s sure to be a phenomenal adventure, whichever way the results go.
The experience they gain in this crucial few months is all garnered with the big one in mind – selection for the UCI World Championships in Tábor, Czech Republic.
Make sure to check the progress of the MAAP Sixpence CX team throughout the season by following Fiona Morris, Garry Millburn and Chris Aitken on Instagram. We’ll see you out in the dirt.