Gravity Enduro racing (also called Enduro, All Mountain or Super D, depending who you ask) is taking off in a big way all over the world and Sunday 5 August showed why South East Queensland (SEQ), Australia is no exception. Garapine Recreation Facility, south of Gympie, played host to Round 1 of the 2012 SEQ Gravity Enduro series which is being run by Event Management Solutions Australia. The series is about growing Gravity Enduro in SEQ as a fun but competitive format for all kinds of riders and Round 1 was also about racing to support a great cause - World Bicycle Relief. WBR is an organisation dedicated to providing access to independence and livelihood in Africa through The Power of Bicycles. You can learn more about their work at worldbicyclerelief.org
After two weekends of tireless work from some dedicated volunteers the Garapine trails were running perfectly and riders were in for a treat. The first stage involved a 4.5 to 5 minute descent beginning with a series of sweet berms, doubles and drops before a hard sprint to the rainforest section, where tricky corners and rocky terrain tested riders before another hard sprint to the finish. The second stage was shorter at around 3 to 3.5 minutes but was the most technical of the stages involving steep drops and chutes, tight corners and seriously off camber terrain as it straddled a gully down the hillside. The final stage was the longest at around 5.5 to 6 minutes and had more than a few riders hurting with its pedally nature and multiple little pinch climbs, with cornering being just as important to lay down a quick run here. After each run riders then needed to climb their way to the start of the next stage via fireroad before a cut off time which was generous enough to allow banter between mates but still kept the pressure on.
After a full day of practice on Saturday, race day started early on Sunday with trails open for warm up and some sneaky last minute practice. A few bikes and bodies were early victims of Garapine during this time as riders found that laying down a fast run here was not going to be easy. Once racing was underway riders completed one run of each stage before breaking for lunch with BBQ steak burgers and sausages on the menu and all in name of charity. Fueled up and eager for more, riders then completed a repeat run of each stage to finish off racing.
At the end of the day World Cup veteran Michael Ronning proved that retired downhillers never really retire, they just race Gravity Enduro. Ronny took the win in A grade by 11 seconds ahead of Jeremy Peterson in second and Tim Neilson in third. Amongst heckling accusations of ‘Sandbagger!’ from the crowd, Stefan Majewski took the win in B grade by a comfortable margin. C grade was taken out by Graeme Nelson. In a really positive sign for the sport, Round 1 had a great showing from the women, with Sarah Holmes taking the win in the Female category with a time that left a few of the guys red faced... Full results from the day can be found here
Race 1 of the series was a huge success and a great glimpse at the future of mountain bike racing. What stood out the most at the event was the combination of how many times the word ‘FUN!’ was overheard in conversation, as well as the great social aspect. Riders who had never met each other before were the best of mates by the end of the day and other riders were seen helping complete strangers to change flat tyres and fix mechanicals at the end of each stage. Better still is the number of riders who made the comment that this was the first mountain bike event that they’d entered - yet more evidence that Gravity Enduro can appeal to the pros as well as the punters.
With all proceeds from entry to Round 1 being donated to WBR, the race was also a great success from a fundraising point of view with final dollar figures about to be confirmed. On top of this, competitors are being encouraged to get sponsored by friends and family to fundraise for WBR between now and Round 2. Thanks to Event Management Solutions Australia and major sponsor Supersports Australia
, two brand new Transition Bandit framesets are up for grabs as an incentive to get involved in the fundraising component of the events.
The event organisers would like to thank Race 1 sponsors: ForTheRiders.com
, 99 Bikes
, MTBSkills Queensland
and Podium Lube
for their support. A huge thanks also to the volunteers and competitors who helped create this awesome event.
Round 2 of the 2012 SEQ Gravity Enduro series takes place on Monday 1st October (new Queen’s Birthday public holiday in Queensland) at rider favorite Mt Joyce. See you there!
Video highlights of the day can be found here
More information about the series can be found at emsaustralia.net.au/events
and the latest news on the series can be found by liking our Facebook page: facebook.com/SEQGravityEnduro