Sevens Gravel World Series write up
"Racing a gravel World Series Round domestically is a big opportunity and one I didn’t want to miss. The Sevens Gravel event which hosted the round is located in the small ex forestry town of Nannup, WA. The Sevens event is only a few years old however growing rapidly with 1400 riders competing this year and in 2026 will be the hosting for none other than the 2026 Gravel World Championships.
I knew coming into this event the form was good, with a large training block completed leading into the USA where I will be racing the Lifetime Grand Prix Series. The week leading in however was dismal with work, appointments and lost baggage flying over meaning I only rode the bike 3 times in the week leading into the race.
Flying over on the Thursday afternoon my bike never arrived and I was ensured it would be sent early the next morning to Busselton where I was staying some 3hrs from the airport. I then drove to Busselton and the next morning called Virgin to get an update of my bike’s whereabouts. Virgin said it was delayed and will be at my Accommodation by 2pm. I wasn’t too stressed as that would leave me plenty of time to build and ride still. As 2pm rolled around there was still no site of my bike. I called up and that’s where the problems really started as now, they didn’t know where my bike was. After a solid 1.5hrs back and forth on the phone it had been realised that my bike was still sitting with Toll at the airport and wouldn’t be delivered until the next day (race day).
So, I drove the 6hrs return trip to Perth, ate dinner at the service station on the way back and had my bike built by 11pm that evening. The next morning was a 4:30am wake up to head for the race start in Nannup, 1hr away. I knew all this wasn’t ideal preparation, but I kept my head screwed on, with the experience I have by now, knowing what it’s what you do in the weeks/ months prior and not the day before which defines you.
The course is 125km through old logging fire roads and featured 3500m of climbing on short punchy hills. To make things more of a challenge it rained overnight and as the mass field dropped into the first gravel road, I realised just how muddy the course was with mud flying through the peloton as everyone scrambled to pick a line and find traction.
I treated the first hour or so of the race as my kind of ‘warm up’ watching the race but not putting my nose to the wind as people threw down early moves. To my relief I was feeling good, and selection was taking place in the bunch with it being whittled down to 10 or so riders roughly around the halfway mark.
Just before the halfway mark I decided to test the waters and put a little dig in on one of many steep climbs. I got a small gap with Adam Blazervich which opened further as I gave it a nudge on the decent. The bunch caught back up but knowing I could stretch a gap got me planning the next attack.
Past the feed zone and at the 70km mark, was one of the longest climbs of the day. Conner Sens, Bendigo local like myself, lit it up from the bottom and 1km into this pacing I saw the opportunity to attack. I attacked on the steepest part, watching my Wahoo GPS climbing feature and was off the front solo. With 55km to go I was hoping for company but no reinforcements joined, with the next closest rider behind being cycling legend Nicolas Roche. At the top of the climb, I was given a gap of 40sec to Roach and 1min to the bunch. Still so far from the line I thought to myself I’d commit for the next 5km then re-evaluate. Riding in clean air I was able to open up the descents and make some calculated risks riding the new BMC Kaius. The new Kaius has certainly transformed my riding having such a stable feel on the descents, aggressive geometry and aerodynamic shapes which had me committing to the flatter sections turning over the big ring at speed.
With 40km to go I got a time gap of 1.5mins and knew it was all in now for roughly what I estimated would be a 1.5hr TT. I went to work milking as much time as possible getting low on the bike in fast sections and calculating my efforts on the climbs. I knew if I got out of sight and got the group behind second guessing the case, then it would only benefit myself more. I got my last time gap with 30km to go suggesting I had a lead of 3mins, this was the last time-check I would get as the lead car ironically suffered a flat tire.
With 3hrs or so of mud riding I was super impressed to have the Shimano GRX Di2 shifting flawlessly, even as any signs of having any oil on the chain were long gone. From here to the line, I was ticking down the climbs breaking down the efforts and if I found my mind wandering would start counting pedal strokes. Along the way the course criss-crossed with the shorter distance riders and as I went past would get a rev up from other competitors which was super motivating to have.
All the way to the line I drove it, never wanting to ‘count the chickens before they hatch’. Coming into the village and finish straight I was able to sit up take it in and had a rush of emotions conquering the race and a difficult 24hrs of mayhem. After a lot of bridesmaids finishes at the big events of late it was nice to snatch a big win and perfect timing as I build to Marathon Mountain Bike Champs and Unbound USA all within the next three weeks. In the end I was surprised to hear the time gap was some 8mins to second place.
BMC were supporting the event with a display and even put my dirty race bike front and centre of the expo which was a cool feature. BMC were also raffling off a URS gravel bike to one lucky entrant of the race and I was able to be a part of the presentation of the bike which was quite special.
The Sevens event team put on a great atmosphere post-race and catered to the masses. Celebrating everyone’s achievements with a few war stories out there of riders overcoming adversities.
Winning this event qualifies myself for the Gravel World Championships in Italy at the beginning of November. Being a self-funded rider and with a big USA race block planned this year, I am doubtful I will be able to afford to attend, but will see how things progress.
Thanks for reading, hope it gives a good insight to what was a great event!"