JASON English was wondering what he was doing appearing in the same room as top Australian cyclists Dan McConnell and Troy Brosnan.
But he shouldn’t have doubted himself when Cycling Australia announced the Port Macquarie school teacher as the elite mountain biker of the year.
English claimed the award last weekend at Australian cycling’s night of nights – for the second time.
“It’s the highest award you can get in mountain-biking,” English said.
“But this award has been allocated not just on 2016 alone, but for the achievement of seven world championship events in a row.”
English received the same award four years ago when he won both the marathon distance championships as well as the 24-hour championships.
“I wouldn’t think they would ever give it to the same person again,” he said.
“I thought they’d try and share it around because in mountain biking there are so many disciplines.”
It’s been an amazing 12 months for English – who was touted as the “best Australian cyclist you’ve never seen” in the Sydney Morning Herald in October.
“I don’t know if it all links in to that article that was released a couple of months ago which might have raised the profile of the crazy things that I go and do,” he said.
I hope winning this award will lead to ongoing sponsorship next year.
“But it is pretty cool to have that sort of achievement and I hope it will lead to ongoing sponsorship next year.
English came out on top in a tough field which included Brosnan (SA) who claimed six top ten finishes on the world cup circuit and Sam Hill (WA) who won a round of the Enduro World Series and finished second in two others.
The Port Macquarie product won the 2016 World Solo 24-hour title for the seventh consecutive time – a record unmatched by any rider in the history of the sport.
“It takes a lot to get this far and I couldn’t do it without my family supporting me so it means a lot,” he said.
“Looking at the results of these other boys I was wondering what I was doing there so it was a real surprise to hear my name read out.”
English is now looking forward to some well-earned time out before preparing for the Wembo World 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike Championships in June.
“I’d like to improve my placing from the last time I did a marathon world champs and I’d love to be able to defend in Italy, we’ll see how we go.”