Locals find Garapine tough
SOME of Australia’s best endurance mountain bike riders converged on Garapine at the weekend to contest the first round of the South East Queensland Shimano Enduro Series.
The Garapine event was a crucial stage on the national mountain biking scene with 10 places in the Tasmanian Enduro World Series up for grabs.
The enduro racing format involves a number of timed downhill sections of trail combined with uphill transfer stages.
Conditions proved tough for the locals. Among the best was Tomas Evans-Butcher, impressing in his first enduro outing to finish second in the under-17s.
Meanwhile, Rob Stone also claimed second spot on the Masters podium.
According to event organiser Ian Harwood, the Mary Valley venue is the birthplace of gravity enduro riding in Australia.
“The trail network here is a very good mix of range and terrain,” Ian said.
“There is steep and technical elements (to the course) and the riders just love coming here.
“We did our first event here in 2009 and that was the very first gravity enduro event in Australia.”
Since then the event has been a mainstay on the national mountain biking circuit and Garapine owner Nick Bennett said it was a combination of skilful trail building and a solid community of riders that made it such a success.
“It is great to keep working with the mountain biking community and bringing people to Gympie,” he said.
The weekend-long competition injected thousands of dollars into the local economy, with riders from not only around Australia but overseas taking to the trails.
The top riders from the weekend’s races will now focus their attention on the Tasmanian Enduro which starts in early April and forms part of the world series.
Ian said the sport was growing nationally and Australia was acting as the market leader.
The next Queensland event will be staged at Toowoomba on May 28. It will return to Garapine for the final round on October 29.
Noosa’s Fynn Donaldson is about to get up close and personal with Garapine.
Sharon Heap in action at Garapine on Sunday.
Alex Gifford gets air time.
Joshua Hartwig looking confident.