Lo­cals find Gara­p­ine tough

Multisport Mecca - - News -

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.

PHO­TOS: LEEROY TODD

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.

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