RRR fifi nally hits the sand

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT -

THE 2012 RRR Moun­tain Bike Chal­lenge fi­nally made it to the fin­ish line on Four Mile Beach last Sun­day.

The race, orig­i­nally sched­uled for May 29, had to be post­poned due to se­vere weather con­di­tions and dras­tic flood­ing on the ru­ral out­back course.

Well re­garded as one of Aus­tralia’s most ex­cit­ing and chal­leng­ing “point to point” en­durance races, the iconic 35km and 70km events lived up to the “RRR” ex­pec­ta­tions.

Over 450 par­tic­i­pants lined up at the Mt Mol­loy race line to make their way through the in­cred­i­ble di­verse ter­rain to the fa­mous Four Mile Beach fin­ish line.

Course de­signer Peter Blakey has worked dili­gently for the past year recre­at­ing the new and im­proved race start at Wetherby Sta­tion, Mt Mol­loy, to fur­ther in­cor­po­rate the “ru­ral” to the RRR.

The riders lined up at the start line on the orig­i­nal Bump Track, which was the main bul­lock track from Port Dou­glas to the gold fields dur­ing the gold rush days around the 1870s.

In the 70km race, a 6km start loop took riders around a small part of the prop­erty, then brought them back through the start line to the cheers of sup­port­ers.

“Wetherby Sta­tion was the per­fect race venue as we got to use the ru­ral el­e­ments in the course, fea­tur­ing the cat­tle grates, bump track and re­vis­ited the old orig­i­nal homestead,” Blakey said.

“There is no other moun­tain biking race in Aus­tralia that can boast a course like ours.”

In the 70km race, 19-year-old Nel­son Tilley from Townsville ped­alled fast across the Four Mile Beach fin­ish line to beat lo­cal Cairns rider Do­minic Hoyal.

“What an awe­some course change,” he said.

“The new start at the sta­tion was fast and in­ter­est­ing. I loved that you got to loop back through and get a cheer from the spec­ta­tors watch­ing.

“Dom and I were on each other’s tail for most of the course.

I knew he was hun­gry for the win but af­ter rac­ing and win­ning the 70km in a pre­vi­ous year, I came back to North Queens­land to win the ti­tle.”

In the women’s 70km race it was lo­cal Lau­retta Howarth that crossed the line dusty and dirty but happy to be done.

First fe­male to cross the line for the 35km chal­lenge was the 2011 win­ner, Josephine Zam­mit from In­n­is­fail.

“I continue to com­pete in this event and ev­ery year it just keeps get­ting bet­ter,” she said.

“The new start is so mem­o­rable. Wetherby Sta­tion has so much his­tory and to be rid­ing through the pad­docks across the ru­ral set­tings is like no other race in Aus­tralia.”

Head­ing for vic­tory: Nel­son Tilley (in­set)

Lau­retta Howarth cross­ing the fin­ish line

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