RRR fifi nally hits the sand
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