Linga Longa Bike Park will host the MTBA WA Gravity Enduro State Championships in less than 2 weeks, so we asked Linga Longa Trail Builder Devin Stafford how the trails are shaping up. Tyre selection is critical during enduro racing, especially if the trail material is consistent, and can go a long way to giving you the edge come raceday.
Trail conditions at the moment are dry which means loose pea gravel at the tops of most of the trails and as you go down the hill on each of the trails a few 100 meters this changes to various types of hard pack clay.
These each get dusty and break down to powder at different rates, so perhaps choose tyres with firm knobs that suit loose gravel over hard pack clay that roll fast and won’t squirm under the load of fast hard cornering on Boxers Blast and DDM. Additionally, a preferred tyre that will still allow you to brake well in a straight line on the steep natural trails to hold your line where the roots have come out to play!
If we get rain before the race day… well that’s another story.
It was a very warm Autumn Day in the Perth Hills with temperatures hovering just shy of 30°C for Saturday’s practice sessions and Sunday’s Race in Perth’s northern hills of Chittering. With abundant sunshine are very low rainfall in recent months, we were in for another dusty and dry event but the tracks were anything but business as usual.
Golden Grove Citrus Orchard and Three Chillies Farm are a playground for serious descents, technical rock gardens, fast open fields, timbers features and off-cambers turns. In the leadup to this location, we take the precaution of ensuring our U13 WAGE Wippets remain unscathed by not being able to cater for them in this race due to the technical level of the course. As for the rest of the field, they were excited, nervous and pumped knowing 4 challenging stages were in store, including some pretty painful pushups!
To avoid congestion, we decided to send the elite and expert competitors to Stages 1 and 2 at Three Chillies Farm, to be followed by the females to help spread the field out. The remainder of the field were sent up the big hill of Golden Grove Citrus Orchard and thrown in the deep end to tackle some serious rock drops and off-camber turns.
Back at the Race Village, Wembley Cycles, Giant Bikes and Speedlite Cycles created some great interest with plenty of bikes and equipment on show for competitors and spectators to salivate over as they passed through the village.
With thanks to the bunting team, we set out bunting the course the week prior to the event and over 6 km’s of bunting tape later, we had designed some pretty challenging and exciting stages that caused plenty of chatter with some sneaky Instagram teasers released throughout the week. As a usual benefit of the bunting team, they are able to contribute, design and make decisions on flow and difficulty while highlighting some of the existing features already on site. This all adds up to some well-deserved knowledge of the track that is favourable to the bunters come race day.
Nicco Maggiorarni was one of the bunting team volunteers who is off to a flying start to his inaugural WA Gravity Enduro series and although he has spent a number of years in recovery from dirt bike injuries, he has begun training hard and the results are starting to prove fruitful with a 3rd place in Kalamunda and now reaching 1st place in Male Sport at Chittering on some very tough trails! We are very excited to watch him develop throughout the year.
Stage 1 – Three Chillies ‘off-camber amber!’
Once again, we tested out the Shared Zone concept with Stages 1 and 2 sharing the same piece of trails for a few hundred metres before parting ways. We always like to keep competitors strategising and thinking about their race run and this element certainly tests that concentration with a few riders losing their ways!
Stage 1 verred left after the Shared Zone and headed out to some very fast descents, plenty of off-camber turns, drops in and out of trees and over a timber roll-over. If this race finished in a road reserve, they’d all have speeding tickets!
Stage 2 – Three Chillies ‘jump-to-runway’
Jumps, rock gardens, jumps and rock gardens – did we mentioned jumps and rock gardens? This stage is a beauty. Once you have been violently thrown around like a rag-doll in the bush, a fence rollover calls your name and ask the question: roll or fly? Rolling could easily lose you valuable seconds and you take the safer option and you guessed it – roll down. Fly? This is the other option…at speed, decide whether clearning the road gap is the better option and carry that speed all the way through sweeping berms, another road gap, another ‘jump-to-runway’ before the tag-off.
Stage 3 – Golden Grove ‘Don’t forget your A. B’s and C’s!)
The most intimidating feature on course (fullstop). This stage was had it all from fast and flowy at the top to berms through trees to off-camber turns to a monster of a drop and one the spectators were lapping up! With a chainsaw raoring in the background, this is all that was needed to compel some competitors like Toby Webb to test out the ‘gravity’ in Gravity Enduro…
Who knows… the chainsaw massacre may make a return to Linga Longa…?
Stage 4 – Golden Grove ‘orange fly-by’
The top end of Stage 4 took in some more challenging rock gardens with a few A and B lines on offer, before bombing into the Orange Orchard, popping out on to the fireroad and keeping the brakes open before turned a hard left and tagging off. The smell of the Rock n Roll Sausage Sizzle was enough to get competitors to use the last percentage of energy to jump in line and grab themselves a hot dog coated in spicy chilly sauce – a salute to Three Chillies Farm and a great fundraiser for their Junior Race Development Team.
Congratulations to our Podium Placers and all competitors!
Pemberton is one of our favourite destinations on the WA Gravity Enduro calendar. With cool air, towering karri trees and dirt that is as powdery as the slopes of Niseko, we knew we were in for an absolute treat. Rain hit the hillside a week out from the event which also helped keep the dust down as 300 competitors hits the trails and raced through a solid mix of trails including the rock garden of Wahoo, the dirty climb in Pirate Trail, the commitment needed for Relentless Blue and the flatout speed at the bottom of Bloody Mary just to name a few features. The single-track course was well defined which kept bunting to a (relative) minimum, although there were a few sneaky lines that needed to be shutdown and a huge thanks to Ryan D, West M, Robert C, Duncan B and Alan C for their bunting help on Saturday.
The event weekend was labelled a ‘Double Header’ with the Perth Mountain Bike Club holding their first event of the 2017 series on the Saturday and WA Gravity Enduro hosting round 2 of the Chain Reaction Cycles Series on Sunday. Due to the location of Pemberton being quite remote to the big smoke of the Perth Metro Area, Pemberton hit 80% accommodation occupancy 2 weeks out from the event so we knew quite early on we were in for something special.
To avoid congestion and make a safe an enjoyable race for all, we sent the WAGE Wippets U13 off first for a 2 stage race taking on Stage 5 (Drop Bear) and Stage 6 (Longshanks) at 9:30am. With a special thanks to Rock n Roll Mountain Biking , the Wippets were shuttled to their stage start location and also shuttled between their stage. The timing worked very well, with the Wippets nearing completion close to 10:30am when the main event was scheduled to begin.
The presentation stage was overflowing with WAGE Wippets (U13)! It is great to see the passion and skill that these youngsters showcase and a great friendly rivalry! Congratulations to CONNOR Portia for taking out the Female Wippets U13 and for the Male, 1st O’DONNELL Harper, 2nd DELLA VECCHIA Jacob and 3rd WEST Axel. We really look forward to more Wippets taking part and watching these group progress.
Race Director Steve Janiec dropped a little curveball as he likes to do to keep the competitors thinking about the race, not jump bombing down stages.
“Multiple attempts are permitted BUT……we will only record your last attempt’
Unlike events in Margaret River when the usual format is your fastest time will be recorded due to the shorter stages, a subtle but significant difference was a rider had to determine on-course during their race run if they felt it was their fastest attempt to record, otherwise, it should be aborted.
It kept riders thinking and strategising throughout their run and even between stages adding a new element to the race. With the course scheduled to close at 1pm, it kept the race format tight. However, we were forced to move close at 1:30pm with an incident on Stage 2 causing a delay and quite a number of riders using Stage 2 as their final run.
How the stages unfolded:
Stage 1 – Relentless Blue
Relentless Blue has one of the most unique and iconic features in the WA trail scene with the back-to-back sweeping berms catapulting riders at warp speed with incredible sound effects! Once these features have either swallowed you up or spat you out, riders were thrown across to Cool Runnings to finish off Stage 1.
Elite rider Sam RUBERY clocked the fastest time of the day with 1mins 55secs with Blake PEARCE only 1 second behind. Sarah TUCKNOTT posted a blistering 2min 20sec for Female Elite with Kerry MACPHEE only 3 seconds behind.
Stage 2 – Bloody Mary
Riders may clock the fastest speed on Bloody Many towards the bottom end of the trail with super-fast, hard and compact trails ripping riders along the edge of the ‘Swimming Pool’ area. You can literally hear tyres screaming as they are hanging on for dear life as centrifugal forces desperately try to separate tyre from rim.
Sam RUBERY and Deon BAKER locked horns completed the Stage in 2mins 31 with the closest followers 2 seconds back.
Stage 3 – Pirate Trail
The longest stage of the day…a climb on this stage has most competitors having an outer-body experience to distant themselves from legs and lungs crying out in pain. But once the hurt-locker is closed, its back to business with a fun, fast rocky section into some tight descending switchbacks, a sneaky drop and then flying down the fire-track for a nice ascending tag-off. Perhaps the most demanding stage of the day.
This stage played to the strengths of Male Elite Mark FRENDO clocking in at 3mins 28sec with Male U19 Roly KYME only 4 seconds behind. Male Masters 40-49 John CARNEY posted the fastest time for his category with a 3min 37sec and Sarah TUCKNOTT was only 1 second clear of Kerry MACPHEE with a 4min 10sec.
Stage 4 – Wahoo
We left this Stage out in 2016 but it made a triumphant return in 2017. With dirt fluffier than the Easter Bunny, Wahoo has really come of age and was a tight, technical stage suiting competitors who simply like to point the bike downhill, so it played to Blake PEACE and Sam RUBERY technical skills, both posting a 2min 18secs, with Mark FRENDO, Roly KYME and Jake BYRNE only 1 second behind – talk about tight racing! With Roly KYME the only U19 in this pack, we are very excited to see his riding evolve in the coming years. Jason YOUNG posted the fastest time for Male Expert with a 2min 24sec with Aaron BLACK only 2 seconds behind.
Stage 5 – Drop Bear
Now we move over to the eastern hill of the Pemberton Mountain Bike Park.
Drop Bear starts out very flat with plenty of little woops to interrupt your pedalling. It was a challenging start especially if your handlebars were too wide for the Karri Tree entrance – we know who will win that battle.
The gravity aspect starts further down the stage with challenging turns, technical descents and a descent drop at the end before the tag-off.
Male Elite Jake BYRNE posted the fastest time with 2min 38sec and 2016 Male Elite Champion Luke Ball was easily in reach only 1 second back.
Stage 6 – Longashanks
In 2017, we are trialing adding another stage for the Elite and Expert riders only, to ensure they are being challenged as best as possible. Stage 6 was only open to Elite and Expert riders (plus the Wippets) to be that final push for the top of the field. Longshanks has a few pinch climbs to keep competitors honest but also has some short steep descents to keep the riders on-guard.
Blake PEARCE posted the fastest time with a 2min 37secs with Sam RUBERY only 1 second back. Kristofor CLARKE and Yann BATHELEMY were neck-and-neck for Male Expert with a 2min 45sec time and again, Sarah TUCKNOTT in the lead for Female Elite with a 3min 6sec.
With the Race Village alongside the Pemberton Swimming Pool with views back up the Pemberton Mountain Bike Course, tired legs could finally relax as competitors chowed down on some delicious healthy nachos thanks to Rock n Roll Mountain Biking. With bikes, bodies and full bellies, it was time for presentations to get underway!
Once again, the community spirit was flying high with plenty of laughter, good times and friendly competition in-store at the Pemberton Mountain Bike Park. We really enjoy teaming up with the Perth Mountain Bike Club for this event as hopefully its a case of same-time same-place in 2018! We really want to thank each and every competitor for coming out and making this event a huge success! You all competed exceptionally well and it was great to see the comradery. The soon to be named ‘WAGE Trailer’ stood up to its first test and we look forward to continue rolling it onto its next adventure!
Congratulations to our Podium Placers and all competitors!
1 DELLA VECCHIA Aaron
2 KYME Gus
3 MORGAN Cody
1 MCBROOM Tate
2 FRASER Jayden
3 WESTRA Riley
1 KYME Roly
2 BUCHANAN Sam
3 Riley JENKINSON (STANLEY Greg in picture)
1 ROUGHTON Jen
2 WALDRON Jessica
1 BAZAN Magdalena
Female Masters 40 – 49
1 CONNOR Sandra
2 MUNRO Nicole
3 PACE Jody
1 HUGHES-ODGERS Matthew
2 JORDAN John
3 ALGATE Jake
1 YOUNG Jason
2 ROGERS Wayne
3 BLACK Aaron
Female Super Masters 50+
1 FITZGERALD Vilma
Male Masters 40 – 49
1 STEPHENS Dave
2 CARNEY John
3 WARD Glen
Male Super Masters 50+
1 RUBERY Mark
2 WALLER Robert
3 TWINE Rick
1 TUCKNOTT Sarah
2 MACPHEE Kerry
3 ALSOP Katja
1 RUBERY Sam
2 FRENDO Mark
3 BYRNE Jake (pictured and tied with PEARCE Blake)
There isn’t much we can do when Western Australia wants to turn up the heat so when the long range forecast came in at 37°C, we knew it would be a tough ask for competitors to compete at top level and for organisers to keep sane. So, in the lead-up, we organised shuttle transfers from Mundaring Weir Hotel to the trails which are about 20minutes away to make it a easier and safer for competitors.
Getting closer to the event, Mother Nature said “let’s just round up to 40°C” so we rounded up as well! Transfer shuttles transitioned to a fully shuttled event, fan misting stations were setup, even more cold drinks stations and an additional bus was added to cater for the 250 strong competitors. With Mundaring Weir Hotel well catered, the misters were in full operation under covered areas which took some of the sting off the piercing sunrays.
We had always planned to hold the event late in the afternoon to avoid the heat of the day and that certainly helped. The bush-cover and gently breeze that soon shifted in quickly took the edge off and racing was underway.
To avoid congestion and make a safe an enjoyable race for all, we sent the WAGE Wippets U13 off first for a 2 stage race. We were once again proud and impressed by the caliber of the 19-strong field of WAGE Wippets (U13) competitors who were shuttled first from Mundaring Weir Hotel thanks to Rock n Roll Mountain Biking and soon after, our strong contingent of Hand-cyclists made the move to the top of the hill as well.
Thanks to Kalamunda Mountain Bike Collective, the handcyclists were out weeks before the event ensuring their wider trikes could negotiate through the single track, with some minor trimming tacking place to make the accommodation. The weeks of preparation paid off for the handcyclist with Break the Boundary handcyclist Andrew Liddawi recapping the day:
The handcyclists had an awesome time the whole day and into the night. After the first shuttle the team got into the swing of things and it was all about having fun. It was the first time we had the opportunity to compete with 3 different handcycles which turned into a friendly competition between us. The vibe was buzzing and everyone had plenty to talk and laugh about. If more trails were accessibly around the state, we’d definitely be taking part in more enduro rounds!
1 WELSHBILLIG Marcel 11min 21sec
2 LIDDAWI Andrew
3 SONTAG Chris
Once the Wippets and Handcyclists were well underway with their racing, it was time for the main field to descend on Mt Gunjin to race 4 hot, dusty and dry stages with some of Kalamunda’s infamous ‘peagravel’ sprinkled in for good measure.
Stage 1 – Juddersbars to Alchemy
This stage offers fast and flowy single track towards the top end before flattening out a touch before the powerlines. In the powerlines area, the course detoured around two large jumps which were simply not suitable to hit at race pace, but the trail quickly dropped back in to Alchemy. Alchemy is always a punishing section of trail as it flattens things out and gets competitors hard on the gas for a small incline before descending again to the bottom of Mt Gunjin for the tag off.
Elite rider Todd MADSEN clocked the fastest time of the day with 5mins flat with U17 speed-demon Jesse MORGAN only 3 seconds behind.
Stage 2 – Lazarus
The shortest stage of the day but certainly packs a punch. The top end of Lazarus has been reworked with some really floaty jumps and sweeping berms – a lot of fun to be had in this top section! Then its back to business negotiating short rock gardens and hard turns before a quick tag off before the powerlines. The trail was stopped here to ensure no more speed was generated before the tag-off, trying to eliminate over-shoots!
Male U17 rider Jesse MORGAN clocked the fastest time on this short stage with 1min 4sec with Mark FRENDO, Blake PEARCE and Jarrad LAWRENCE all just 2 seconds behind.
Stage 3 – Loco En El Coco
Also known as ‘Crazy in the head,’ Loco En El Coco is a ladder-riders favourite – although not necessarily the fastest line on some occasions. Rated Black, this trail introduces some dusty off camber turns, rock gardens and a big timber berm (if you chose to hit it!) Once crossing the powerlines, a series of jumps reared their head and this area is always great fo spectators as competitors have some fun twisting and turning in the air before tagging off a short time later.
Elite Rider Todd MADSEN again posted the fastest time with 2min 55sec with Sam RUBERY just 1 second behind and Jesse MORGAN and Blake PEARCE within reach.
Stage 4 – Goldilocks to 3 Bears to Mercury Street.
The longest stage of the day for most. Goldilocks offers series of berms and rutted out sections of trail before running into some jumping fun at 3 Bears, then into a grueling flat pedal section including some little step ups. Once crossing the flat area of the powerllines, the fun returns as competitors bomb into Mercury Street trying had to pedal and carry speed through this long section of trail. Once the tag off was reached, competitors made their way to The Dell for shuttle collection.
Male Elite rider Mark FRENDO clocked in on this long stage at 7min 13sec with Todd MADSEN 2 seconds.
In 2017, we are challenging the Elite and Expert competitors harder than the main field for a few reasons:
Their skill level demands a more challenging course
Bigger cash prizes on offer
To make sure they don’t get back to the race village too soon twiddling their fingers
Give the main field and spectators more opportunity to watch and learn from skilled riders
Push our WA riders to perform which hopefully opens more nationally and internationally recognised events
So, we incorporated a 5th stage – Feral Groove to Katamoorda. This was a very challenging stage with steep descents, rutted-out firetracks and plenty of leaf litter! Unfortunately however, we were forced to make the call and remove it from the day’s racing. Why? Well, not too long into the day’s festivities, one of the shuttle buses decided it’s electrical system wasn’t up to the task so a minor fire and a call to the local fire brigade later, the bus was out of action. So with one less shuttle bus, we wouldn’t have been able to get everyone up to Mt Gunjin in a timely manner before dusk so the call was forced to close the stage to ensure all competitors completed 4 stages.
Nonetheless, the 4 stages were ample in hot and dusty conditions and most Elite and Expert competitors were quite relieved to see the additional stage dropped from their day!
Todd Madsen (Male Elite winner) recapped his experience:
I wanted to enjoy and compete in a renowned event with amazingly well laid out tracks and facilities. With the bonus of a win and great atmosphere, I’m proud to have entered this competition, and look forward to seeing what else WAGE have in store for 2017.
After the event (and everything else) was done and dusted, it was back to Mundaring Weir Hotel for some very welcome cold refreshments and free paella! Food and drinks were in abundance and it was a great way to celebrate the beginning of the WA Gravity Enduro season. The event stage was ready to rock kitted out in Chain Reaction Cycles colours and presentations soon began. If round 1 is any indication of the year ahead, we are in for some fantastic surprises as competitors have been training hard over the break and seeing some fantastic results already. We look forward to seeing the year unfold!
With tough conditions kicking off round 1, we really want to thank each and every competitor for their patience. You all competed exceptionally well and it was great to see the comradery back in 2017 with mates out enjoying mountain bike racing once again! Even though it was a challenging day for our volunteers as well, they too stood strong, communicated exceptionally well which led to another successful event to kick off 2017.
Congratulations to our Podium Placers and all competitors!
As riders become more skilled and Gravity Enduro cements itself as a competitive and exciting mountain bike racing format, helmet selection for your safety is paramount. As WA Gravity Enduro is affiliated with MTBA (Mountain Bike Australia), we must adhere to their requirements to ensure rider safety remains the key priority in Gravity Enduro events.
All riders must wear a full-faced helmet during all special stages. Helmets with a detachable mouthpiece are permitted.
The race director may choose from helmet requirements from the below options, and this information is to be published no less than ﬁve days prior to the ﬁrst day of practice.
Unless otherwise indicated, WA Gravity Enduro operates MTBA ‘Standard A,’ simply meaning helmets with detachable mouthpieces are permitted and the mouthpiece must be engaged at all times during racing the Special Stage/Timed Section.
Special stages [timed section]
Full faced helmet meeting AS2063 or equivalent standard or Helmets meeting AS2063 with detachable mouthpieces will be permitted.
Full faced helmet meeting AS2063 or equivalent standard.
Liaison stages [untimed section]
Full faced helmet meeting AS2063 or equivalent standard or Helmets meeting AS2063 with detachable mouthpieces will be permitted or any open face helmet meeting A82063 will be permitted.
Full faced helmet meeting AS2063 or equivalent standard or Helmets meeting AS2063 with detachable mouthpieces will be permitted or any open face helmet meeting A82063 will be permitted.
The list of standards that MTBA will accept as an international equivalent to the Australian/New Zealand Standard 2063 are as follows:.
Snell “B” or “N” series;
S. CPSC standard for bicycle helmets;
European CEN standard for bicycle helmets (EN1078)
Other international standards may be added however if not explicitly listed above or in any supplementary regulations are not permitted for use.
It is important to recognise that the Australian Standard (A82063) is generally considered to be one of the toughest in the world to pass and thus as helmets for bicycle use, we strongly recommend that such helmets be used where ever possible.
Pemberton become a mountain biking mecca over the weekend, as round 2 of the Chain Reaction Cycles WA Gravity Enduro rolled into town. Pemberton was a hive of activity with kids, teenagers and adults alike all deciding one of the best modes of transport was cycling, especially in the sold-out Pemberton Caravan Park, situated next door to the mountain bike trail network.
With Peter and Ryan bunting and signposting the course on an overcast and humid Saturday, competitors quickly took to the trails for a ride and to inspect the lines come raceday. Mark Hudson of the Pemberton Visitor Centre was looking more like a super-hero (and perhaps he is one) as he walked around all the race trails carrying a high powered blower clearing all leaf litter and debris and the trails were left sparkling!
Saturday night was clam but rain did fall consistently in the early hours of the morning which had us all guessing about how this would alter the trails for the race. Fortunately, the rain stopped when we began setting up the race village.
At 9:30am, we had the WAGE Wippets U13 arrive at the Race Village for their race briefing before being shuttled to the top of the hill for a 2-stage race. Once coming down Stage 3 being shadowed by their parents, they were again permitted to shuttle to the top and finish stage 4. We really enjoy seeing the U13’s have some fun in the Gravity Enduro racing format and we do our best to make this as affordable and inclusive as possible. Congratulations to our WAGE Wippets!
Shortly after the WAGE Wippets completed their two stage course, race briefing took place for the massive field of more than 200 competitors. At 10:30, competitors headed up the hills(s) with Elite and Expert competitors heading to Stage 1 and the rest of the field heading to stage 2, 3 and 4. Although not strict on this requirement, is certainly helped spread the field out and reduce queuing times extremely well.
Stage 1 (Drop Bear) opened up round 2 for the Elite and Expert competitors, allow them some fresh air to clock in their times without traffic. Drop Bear first starts out allowing competitors to measure their handlebars between two towering trees followed by a short flat section to get you warmed up before the fun begins. A fun flowing trail with plenty of turns and a few small tree step-downs, Drop Bear soon gains its name after the 800m descent as you fall into a 3-4m ‘drop’ shoot onto the firetrail for finish.
Average stage time (HH:MM:SS) 00:03:13
Fastest stage time (HH:MM:SS) 00:02:39 by Miikael KINNUNEN and closed followed by Jordan PROCHYRA with a 00:02:40
Stage 2 (Bloody Mary) is always a favourite at Pemberton and the race was no exception. Most things were thrown at competitors in this stage – a flat start before bombing into a wooden ladder drop, then a wooden A-frame if chosen, some quick descents following by a rude pinch climb, before bombing down into what could be one of the fastest parts of the course which was practically a footpath after recent rain – plenty of ‘yahoo’s’ by competitors and spectators alike!
Average stage time (HH:MM:SS) 00:02:40
Fastest stage time (HH:MM:SS) Sam HILL with a 00:02:00 and Sam RUBERY and Luke BALL 5 seconds back. For the females, Claire GARCIA-WEBB led the charge with a 00:02:48 and Holly BAARSPUL 1 second behind.
Stage 3 took in a few different stages and lines – firstly heading north and peeling right to head down Relentless Blue taking into a timber ski jump and then scooped into a steep right and long steep left timber berm double-team before being spat out onto Cool Runnings for the short sprint home.
Average stage time (HH:MM:SS) 00:02:27
Fastest stage time (HH:MM:SS) 00:01:59 shred by Sam RUBERY and Luke BALL with Sam HILL and Jordan PROCHYRA 1 second back, and for the ladies, Leonie BURFORD posted a hotlap of 00:02:26 fastest times with Claire GARICA-WEBB 5 second back.
Stage 4 (Pirate Trail) had the rudest pinch climb of the round – after a quick descent, the altitude was gained once again and competitors could be heard sucking in the air and getting themselves ready for another descent, before meeting a rock garden (or tree).
As a race director, when the radio’s are quiet, all things are going well. “There’s a tree across the track” – how things change so quickly. This was a surprising statement that came through the radio about an hour into racing. Rory (a spectator on course) heard a crack and some commotion about 50m before the rock garden on Pirate Trail (stage 4). After investigating, not only did he see that a tree fell across the track, but he also saw a competitor get up close and personal to the sudden road block. Thanks Rory (who is a tall timber) for removing the tall timber!
WA Gravity Enduro Donation
As usual, we do our best to donate what we can to the local trail custodians and Pemberton is not different. We want to thank Mark Hudson once again from the Pemberton Visitor Centre who works tirelessly for the promotion of mountain biking and Pemberton. With that in mind, we were very pleased to donate $700 to the Pemberton Mountain Bike trails – so on behalf of all competitors and spectators, thank you, and we look forward to racing there again in 2017 – and possibly on some new trails!
With the first competitor finishing the course in 1hr 30 (12pm) and the final competitor coming in about 45mins later, its great to see that the field spread at the start of the day allows for efficient and timely racing.
Upon arriving back at the Race Village, the competitors were refuelled with a hot dog and High 5 Sports Nutrition – surely a recovery regime worthy of any athlete. Behind the scenes, the amazing volunteers were bringing back the timing modules and we crunched the numbers and began compiling results…
Thanks to U19 competitor Ryan Douglas for this POV video of his race highlights
Special thanks to our volunteers, as without their time in administration, course setup with bunting and signage, race village setup, registration, course marshalling, BBQ facilities, debunting, race village packup and cleaning, this event would not be possible:
Terry C, Peter W, Trent C, Peter X, Deb D, Steve, Mark H, Amy B, Russ B, Ryan D, Claire J.
Next time you see these folks, say thanks with a high-5!
Special thanks to our sponsors and supporters any way you can as without them, we wouldn’t have any prizes, goodies, giveaways, awesome racing locations, shelter, equipment and/or gear!
We are always trying to improve and try new things, and Round 1 2016 at Kalamunda was certainly the testing ground! We dived in to 2016 with our eyes closed… or at least in the cover of darkness with flashes of bike lights and disco balls!
For round 1 and the 2016 series, we have introduced:
Implementation of new full-face helmet requirements
Introduction of the WAGE Wippets Under 13 category
Changes to racing categories to increase competitiveness
$500 cash up for grabs for Elite Male and Female competitors
Almost $2000 in CHAIN REACTION CYCLES gift vouchers for podium winners
Licensed bar area
Free dinner for competitors
New online event entry system
…and again, lets do all this in the DARK!!!
Yes, we are mad – but boy was it fun!?
166 registered and equally mad competitors signed up for the CHAIN REACTION CYCLES WA Gravity Enduro first night race and the conditions couldn’t have been any more perfect! With the 2016 series starting early on in the year [Saturday, February 24th 2016] in an attempt to evenly space out the 6 race series, we knew it was going to be warm so to beat the heat of the day (which was hovering around 35°C on the day), we tried something new and planned to race at night which brought calm, humid, warm and dusty track conditions.
WAGE Wippets ready to go!
The inaugural WAGE Wippets for first down the course and for their safety, we had the under 13’s racing from 4:30pm tackling two laps of Judderbars through to Alchemy, where the ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MOUNTAIN BIKING shuttle was waiting for a lift to the next stage. With the youngest competitor Charli Holmberg of the tender age of 8, she kept her Mum defending her line to avoid being overtaken! With most Wippets new to the Gravity Enduro racing format, we kept presentations informal and ensured fun was the goal of the day. Congratulations to the inaugural WAGE Wippets!
Male U13 (Wippets)
Male U13 (Wippets)
Male U13 (Wippets)
Male U13 (Wippets)
Male U13 (Wippets)
Male U13 (Wippets)
Male U13 (Wippets)
Male U13 (Wippets)
Male U13 (Wippets)
Female U13 (Wippets)
Female U13 (Wippets)
Thanks to Darren S. who compiled this great video of the WAGE Wippets!
And onto the main race.
The main 4 Stage Race kicked off with race briefing at the Calamunnda Camel Farm on dusk at 7pm. Once competitors were stocked up with HIGH 5 SPORTS NUTRITION, they were guided up the shortest and easiest route to Mt Gunjin. As usual, we try and keep the Elite competitors racing in a different stage order to assist them in having a clear and uninterrupted race (at least during the start of the event) and they peeled off the climb to Mt Gunjin by racing down Mercury Street first. This stage was later deemed a ‘warm up’ and results were not included to ensure consistency and accuracy among the racing group. From there, The rest of the field headed straight up to Mt Gunjin and flew down any stage they wanted in a consecutive order (i.e. 2, 3, 4, 1 or 3, 4, 1, 2, or 4, 1, 2, 3). This consecutive order helps evenly distribute the competitors and helps marshals account for the groups who pass through based on the last rider.
Spectators enjoying the vantage point
Stage 2: Lazarus. A short and sharp 607m stage descending 51m showed that Sam RUBERY can put the power to the ground pretty hard with the fastest time of the night with a 01:48 with NORTON, PEARCE, KIRBY, ROGERS and MELLISH nipping at this heals for the overall stage time, with the youngster Jessie MORGAN only a few seconds back, and Holly BAARSPUL clocked in the fastest time for the females with a 02:21 followed by Sandra CONNOR with a 02:35 and Leonie BURFORD with a 02:24.
Timmy Davie (Male U19)
Stage 3: Loco En El Coco (or crazy in the head): takes in some fun timber berms and was the highlight for the spectators with the multiple jumps just after the powerlines… 1343m in length and a total descent of 113m and 182m flat, giving the competitors with a little more pedal endurance to keep pushing on the flat. Scott MELLISH was the man to beat with a 03:09 closely followed by Sam RUBERY and Blake PEARCE 1 second behind. For the females, Holly BAARSPUL was in a league of her own clocking in 04:02 followed by Leonie BURFORD 8 seconds later with a 04:10.
Leonie Burford (Female Elite) coming home to a strong 2nd Place
And finally, competitors tackled Judderbars through to Alchemy. Quite a long and demanding stage incorporating descent for 89%, climb for 4% and flat for 7%, it was the longest stage of the night totalling 2345m. Blake PEARCE clocked in the fastest time of the night by 5 seconds with a 05:29 followed by Devin STAFFORD, and 1 second later, Sam RUBERY and Wayne ROGERS came through. For the females, it was tied with Leonie BURFORD and Holly BAARSPUL with a 06:48 followed by Kamlia AMBROZEWICZ with an 06:51.
Blake Pearce taking out the Male Elite in style
Food and drink after the race back at the village
We love donating back to the local trails!
Once the serious/not so serious side of things was taken care of, it was back to the race village for some R & R! Once again, WA Gravity Enduro offered competitors a free hamburger with special thanks to the CALAMUNNDA CAMEL FARM for taking carriage of the preparation, and if that wasn’t enough, the licensed bar area was a refreshing thirst quencher in the humid conditions and gave everyone a little breather as they awaited race results.
Without our awesome marshals dedicating their time whether big or small, we could not hold these great events, so a huge thanks to the following people in no particular order: Chad D, Terry C, Peter W, Robyn L, Stephan B, Russ B, Andrew S, Ryan D, Brian S, Vanessa J, Fane R, Claire J.
And thanks to our media personnel: Darren S. who compiled this great video of the night and Michael H. from AEROTURE who took some awesome shots available here.
Of course, thanks to our sponsors and supporters:
CHAIN REACTION CYCLES
HIGH 5 SPORTS NUTRITION
THREE CHILLIES TRAIL DESIGN
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MOUNTAIN BIKING
COMMON GROUND TRAIL BUILDING
EMR SUSPENSION SPECIALIST
MURPHYS IRISH PUB, MANDURAH
and thanks once again to the support from the KALAMUNDA COLLECTIVE MOUNTAIN BIKE CLUB, CALAMUNNDA CAMEL FARM, DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND WILDLIFE, WATER CORPORATION and SHIRE OF KALAMUNDA.
Almost a year in the planning, the series finale round 6 of the Chain Reaction Cycles WA Gravity Enduro made its way to Balingup, Western Australia, to experience the highly anticipated trail design and construction envisioned early on by a team of volunteers lead by Devin Stafford and given the manicured touch by trail builder Paul Neve of Three Chillies Trail Design and Construction and it certainly didn’t disappoint!
Monday, September 28 to Thursday, October 1 – course bunting and signage.
A huge effort by Devin and his crew, we were amazed at how well the course was setout incorporated all necessary A and B lines, directional arrows and bunting…it looked a treat and I was quickly getting itchy legs from all the Facebook posts along the way!
Friday, October 3 – bump in.
The trusty WAGE van wasn’t going to make the distance with the huge amount of equipment needed for this round, so it was sidelined for a tougher Troopy and trailer carrying all the gear. Turning up on site, Devin, Shane, Bevan and Brydon helped setup the race village tent that became the epicentre of the weekend which was lined with black plastic to help reduce any glare for the setup of the plasma TV for the AFL Grand Final showing on Saturday. After a fight with the gusty conditions, it was time for a trail walk to finalise bunting, signage, start and finish gates and thankfully to get a few test runs in!
With sunlight diminishing, it was time to setup the satellite system and test the reception – 30minutes later and we were in business with HD satellite reception! Mounting the plasma was delicately done in the back of the Troopy and with the stage set, we were good to go for the AFL show… or so we thought… with winds packing a huge punch tearing the marquee and ripping out guide ropes, it became a long night into the early hours holding down the tent. With huge thanks to Matt, Joel and Neilson, we somehow survived the night and got to sleep with one eye open watching the tent sway a few metres at a time and still expected to fish it out of the dam in the morning.
Saturday – race practice.
With St John Ambulance on-site from 11am, the practice session saw fair conditions but the gusty winds didn’t disappear which made for an eventful practice session. With competitors arriving on site to pick the best camping spots, others decided to park their car, suit up and jump on the waiting shuttles for a lift to the trail head. Special thanks to Brydon and Jess for operating these shuttles for most of the day, which saw at least 120 competitors head up the hill and check out the amazing 5 stage enduro course that was on offer.
With some of Paul Neve’s finest work on location, metre high berms running faster than footpaths railed riders into perfectly sculptured gap jumps, table tops and rocky sections through Pine and Bluegum plantations before spilling into open fields and again disappearing into natural vegetation. The trails encompassed so many different elements that it is now regarded as arguably the best trails in Western Australia!
A spectacular 4 jump sequence which was reminiscent of some of the worlds best bike parks, with riders seen whipping and seat grabbing and enjoying the amazingly comfortable jumps… that is until gusty conditions across the open field caused a few crashes and a broken collarbone for young Ryan who was very excited about bending his bars in the accident. Special thanks to Morgan and Matt who were on the scene very quickly and got the word back to the village that medical assistance was required.
Some tough decisions then needed to be made on whether to close this exposed section of trail and later in the day after a weather check, it was decided that it was safest to leave these jumps out of the race which was the right decision considering the gusty conditions experience during the race on Sunday.
With the weather calming on Saturday night, the atmosphere in the camping area was electric and it was great to see the mountain bike community having a great time from the juniors, to families, single participants and seniors… well done to all for the energetic but respectful camping that took place.
Sunday – race day.
Prior to race briefing scheduled for 1030, over 200 competitors made the most of the calm conditions to get a last look at the 5 stage enduro course and get warm for the event. Shuttles in the waiting, riders were quickly whisked up the hill with the Elite Male and Elite Female hitting the course in its designated order giving them a clear run to post some very impressive times.
Stage 1 – Valley of Dreams. What a way to start the day’s race for the Elite field… not far out of the gate, you are welcomed by WA’s finest pea gravel before shaking your teeth over a man-made rock section before bombing down through off camber trails, whizzing alongside large vertical drops before heading in and out an open field quicker than you can say ‘fullface.’ A demanding first stage and certainly one that got you warm (or hot and sweaty). The stage had an average time of 00:03:59 with Deon BAKER, Jordan PROCHYRA and Blake PEARCE equalling the fastest time of this stage with 00:03:05.
Stage 2 – Edge of the World. For most riders, it was a matter of ‘how much brake should I release?’ Demanding your full attention, this raw stage saw competitors really digging into corners to find the ruts caused by competitors and the quicker rider certainly made the most of these features, with more twists and turns than a 50’s barn dance. An average stage time of 00:03:20 was slow compared with Ryan LITTERICK squeezing in the fastest stage time with a 00:02:26!
Stage 3 – Huggies B. Designed by Sam Hill, we knew ‘Huggies’ was not going to be your average enduro course – in fact, it wasn’t even your average downhill course. If you had to find a way to get from the top of the hill to the bottom in the least amount of time while taking in every boulder, rocky outcrop and technical feature along the way, this was it. Hence, the birth of Huggies B! Still quite a raw trail through Bluegums, it was quite similiar to Stage 2 in terms of terrain and ‘rawness’ with both stages quite short and technical. The average descent time was 00:02:09 with Deon BAKER clocking in at 00:01:57.
Stage 4 – Mr Enduro. If ‘Gravity Enduro’ was in the dictionary, a few photos from this trail would be the definition. Riders were spoiled with multiple gap jumps at the top end of the course before a long demanding descent taking in a myriad of berms, off camber sections, various vegetation types, flat to fast to twist and turn, this trail had everything! The average time of 00:07:01 saw Jordan PROCHYRA clock the fastest time of 00:05:09, clear of anyone by 4 seconds.
Stage 5 – Boxers Blast. Perhaps one of the most exhilarating stages, the final finished right in front of race village and was certainly one for the photographers. Again, spoiled with multiple double jumps up top, riders could chose to link together by jumping, rolling or pumping rolling doubles which made for some great fun for the riders before exiting the trees into the open field and having a ‘blast’ on some 50m long berms that left riders wanting more! An average stage length of 00:04:10 saw Sam RUBERY take the stage win at 00:03:18 and was the clear of anyone close by a massive 7 seconds.
The overall average time was 00:21:09 and Deon BAKER posted the quickest overall time of the day with 00:16:07.
Without our sponsors and supporters, this event could not have happened, so huge thanks to:
Chain Reaction Cycles, High 5 Sports Nutrition, Hybrid Linings (Quality Internal / External Ceilings and Walls), Common Ground Trail Planning Design Construction, Rock n Roll Mountain Biking, Foothills Cycles, EMR Suspension Specialist, Prodigy Painting, Three Chillies Trail Design and Construction, IGA Beeliar, Lions Club, New Town Toyota and Kalamunda Toyota and Bootleg Brewery.
And a special huge thanks to the individuals that helped bring this event together:
The Eaton Family and the Stafford Family including Devin, Kevin, Bevan, Mark, Brydon, Boxer, Jess, Jo, Amy, Russ, Paulette, Joclyn, Steve, Andy, Trent, Terry, Peter, Johnno, Brian, Carolyn, Matt, Neilson and Joel, and to everyone who just chipping in any little way…it is very humbling to have so many people simply wanting to help any way they can.
Finally, thanks once again to our major sponsor Chain Reaction Cycles for their support throughout 2015, and we look forward to a big 2016!
Till then, enjoy the Christmas break and I hope santa fills your sacks with CRC enduro goodies!
An incredible turnout for a massive weekend of mountain biking! With perfect cool racing conditions, The Pines in Margaret River hosted the State XC Championships on Saturday and WA Gravity Enduro Round 5 on Sunday. A great turnout on both days, with WAGE hosting 200 competitors and over 100 spectators on Sunday in a 5 Stage Gravity Enduro race format.
With access limitations caused by recent logging, we were privileged to be able to race in The Pines thanks to Forrest Products Commission (FPC) and the Department of Parks and Wildlife, who were amazing in working with us to allow the event to proceed….they even called us Saturday morning to let us know The Pines were officially re-open!
The Pines are renowned for short but intense descents and this was played upon in the stage setup. Due to the course shortness, we introduced a slightly revised format, where stages could be completed multiple times in any order where a competitors fastest stage time was used in a 2.5hr overall time limit. This was very well received and made for some interesting and exciting racing.
However, Margaret River isn’t just about mountain bike racing – with excellent accommodation and local tourist attractions, it makes a great excuse to get away for the weekend with family and friends and experience the amazing countryside in the south west and enjoy all the top quality food and wine in the area.
A crankin” race village at Wharncliffe Mill before the race
Stage 1 was a great warm up for competitors. Dropping into the trail from Wharncliffe Mill, competitors pedalled hard through the top flow section before some tight bends and rocky sections in the mid-section followed quickly by getting back on the gas, tucking in and pedalling hard to the tight-right at the finish to ensure competitors didn’t end up in a loungeroom at the Riverglen Chalets. The average time for this stage was 00:01:53 with Dave Nairn and Sam Rubery equalling the quickest time of 00:01:32.
Sam Rubery taking the win in Male U19, and the fastest for the day!
Stage 2 is a new trail and was a lot of fun. Tight off camber switchbacks with some challenging log-overs meant this stage which averaged 00:03:43 which saw competitors pull up hard under brakes to tag-off without having a chance to test the strength of the park bench alongside some sketchy pea-gravel! Sam Rubery posted the fastest time for this stage with a blistering 00:02:29 – clear by 7seconds!
Stage 3 could have been considered the highlight stage of the day, and is of-course known as Big Pine. A flat section at the start saw competitors pump some jumps, before dropping into Big Pine. Take the log-ride or take it wide…a close choice and hot-topic of what really was the faster line? 00:03:31 was the average time for Stage 3 and again, Sam Rubery showing us all how its done by 5 seconds with a time of 00:02:52.
Stage 4 saw the introduction of ‘Hoodies’ into this years race. Flatter up the top before again dropping into a short and sweet descent before tagging off. 00:01:56 was the average time for this stage, with Sam Rubery posting the fastest time of 00:01:33 – clear by 3 seconds.
Jordan Prochyra #onthehunt to take the 1st Place for the Male Elite
And Stage 5, on average, the shortest stage but arguably the hardest for an enduro rider. A flat fire-road sprint saw some heckling from queuing competitors before dropping into Managers. Adam Fountain was the unlucky competitor whose middle finger decided it didn’t want to be straight anymore, but the St John Officers decided otherwise and a short trip to hospital saw Adam return to the village after the race enjoying a cold one! With an average time of 00:01:23, Male Elite winner Jordan Prochyra took the top spot for this stage with 00:01:07 by 2 seconds, with Sam hot on his pedals! The Wharncliffe Mill was the epicentre of the weekends racing, and Adrian and the team did an amazing job in keeping the area in pristine condition and allowed us to use all facilities in the area. When you are back in Margaret River, head to the Wharncliffe Mill and thank Adrian for his hospitality! With trails literally on your doorstep, its a great place to stay!
Male U15 competitor Cody Morgan visualising his Stage 5 run
Well done to all competitors and podium placers and a huge thanks to MRORCA for assisting with the day’s racing and providing volunteers to marshal. WA Gravity Enduro is proud to donate $400 to the Margaret River Off-Road Cycling Club (MRORCA). We look forward to another Dirty Weekend!
Jodie Berry representing MRORCA and the happy recipient of $400 for the club
WA Gravity Enduro loves to see more women in mountain biking, and we believe Margaret River was our biggest female contingent! Congratulations to all these competitors for coming out and having some fun!
With the Australian sun beaming down on 200 spectators and almost as many competitors, conditions could not have been better at the Goat Farm Mountain Bike Park in the ‘wilds’ of Western Australia. Living up to its reputation as a Mountain Biking destination, as WA Gravity Enduro hosted round 4 of the MTBA National Gravity Enduro Series.
The Goat Farm Mountain Bike Park, Western Australia is one of the closest mountain bike trail areas to the Perth International Airport, which made access quick and easy for the interstate riders taking part. Conditions could not have been better in the lead up to the weekend, being a sunny Autumn day with a top of 20°C for both Saturday’s afternoon practise session and racing on Sunday. 180 competitors and 200 spectators ensured they day was filled with exciting competition and a great cheer squad!
Kose Michielsen ensuring he remains in the upper echelon of Male Elite
Devin Stafford was the man of the hour, powering home to victory.
After months of planning, design, testing and building of the course, rock gardens were a prevalent feature, testing riders’ choice of A and B lines, plus a trucked-in slopestyle jump, raw off-camber turns, smooth and fast sections incorporating jumps and steep berms, plus a 4x track which spectators and riders lapped up sitting in the trackside licensed area. WA Gravity Enduro incorporated 5 stages into the National Gravity Enduro race, and each stage had a unique mix of the infamous ‘ball-bearing’ pea gravel, hard compacted soil, and huge granite boulders all taking place in a dedicated mountain bike area. WA suits the gravity enduro format extremely well, as the shorter elevation means multiple stages can come in close proximity to the race village which makes for exciting spectator opportunities and a lively atmosphere.
The local riders didn’t disappoint, with the likes of Jimmy Pritchard, Jordan Prochyra, Devin Stafford, Sam Rubery, Holly Baarspul, Claire Garcia-Webb and Penny Holmberg ensuring WA firmly applied a strong presence and tough competition in the 180 competitor field. After closing Stage 1 due to the extraction of an injured rider (who is now recovering well), time limited the racing to 4 stages. The fastest rider of the day was Christopher Panozzo from Victoria clocking in 9mins and 5 secs, closely followed by local under 19 champion Sam Rubery with 9min 14secs, with Jaclyn Shapel clocking up 11min 47s for the Elite Female with local speedster Penny Holmberg only 55 seconds behind.
Go big or go home. Australia is renowned for its huge features…
Jaclyn Shapel, the Female Elite winner for the day: “WAGE always put on a great event. Each stage had its own challenges and the techy new sections really kept it interesting and the brain pretty busy trying to remember everything with such tight practise times. Pleased to do well against some fast locals and so great to see some many people out racing and having a great day. As always the beer garden presentations are a massive highlight!“
“Big thanks to WAGE for putting on a fun event, the stages were great, you could really throw the bike around and push with plenty of fast turns and off camber, if only more races were like this!” Chris Panozzo said.
Female Elites, Jaclyn Shapel,Penny Holmberg and Holly Baarspul.
And from Male Masters winner Devin Stafford “The WAGE team just keep stepping it up a level each race in a and are really driving Enduro racing in WA. With the creative and varied trail design they showed there is plenty of fun and life in the Goat Farm. A sensational day all round with great trails, weather, people, organisation and some close racing.”
Results were held for both the WA Gravity Enduro Series and the MTBA National Gravity Enduro Series, which made for interesting comparisons between the local and interstate riders, and its safe to say that sandgropers can ride, and ride well!
Male Elite Chris Panozzo, Jordan Prochyra and Jimmy Pritchard
Male U19 Sam Rubery, Jarrod Murphy and Behailu Green
[cover picture – young lads taking a breather on the way up]
What an absolute ripper of a weekend! 9km’s of course bunting, 3 intense enduro stages, 180 competitors, a shed load of oranges, slope-style jumping, a magical Autumn’s day and fun, competitive mountain bike racing were the ingredients for a huge Round 3 of the CHAIN REACTION CYCLES WA Gravity Enduro Series 2015.
Jesse Morgan showing how to enduro with style
It took a scrum of volunteers to tackle the trails with work first beginning 4 days out from the race with the ‘godfather’ Paul Neve of Three Chillies Trail Design and Construction marking out the trails at Golden Grove Orchard in Chittering, about 1 hour out from Perth, Western Australia.
3 days out from the race, the trails were further dialled in and checked it adhered to the enduro format, ensuring 80% descent and 20% ascent/flat guidelineswere maintained.
Paul Neve adding some amazing features, crossing slopestyle with enduro
With 2 days to go, Stage 2 was the focus with the construction of a huge slope-style jump as a unique way to cross a fence boundary, which turned into a bit of a whip-fest on raceday. The rest of the day was filled with trail bunting which saw the team of Phil, Paul, Jimmy and Vlad work until sunset when the well-deserved lemonades were opened. With 1 day to go, all hands were on deck to bunt Stages 1 and 3, and a well-oiled team of Steve, Phil, Jimmy, Rich, Rikkie, Ryno, Ross and Paul finished off the 6km of course bunting. By 1pm, the course was open for inspection with strict rules on walking only and no course riding were in place. This allowed all riders to be on the same playing field come raceday, and this format was very well received. On Saturday afternoon, the race village was getting prepared for an early start on Sunday.
Rawness was a theme for the trails come raceday
Raceday. With riders very keen to get their tyres dirty and test out their lines, it left most riders about 3 hours to get a feel for the trails and memorise as many things as possible. Come 11am, the race briefing began at the village, and then the field was split into 3 groups, with each group heading to a different Stage. This is WA Gravity Enduro’s usual format as it helps riders get through the stages in a timely manner which allows us to present results quickly after the race once all riders are accounted for.
Course volunteer Rikkie Zoutenbier dialling in his race run
Stage 1 saw the Male Elite riders first as they pedalled through the trees at the top of the hill, and then broke out in the open field filled with rock drops and jumps, before they disappeared into an orange orchard maze. The orchard was great to watch, as riders had to keep their eyes up to see the course bunting, but at the same time, keep their heads down as they received orange braches to the face. A little of 3 minutes of intense racing for the Elite racers, Stage 1 finished in the orchard and riders then transitioned up the hill on the other side of the valley to tackle Stage 2.
Choose your own adventure
After a 30-40min climb for most, riders were understandably quite happy to have a rest and take in the rolling panoramic views from the top of the hill. Once riders tagged-on, a longer flat section at the top soon dropped away for riders to generate speed into the slope-style jump to clear a boundary fence which quickly flowed into some steeper switchback descending. As the riders exited the trees into another open field, the sheep in the paddock were very well behaved and kept clear of the course and didn’t eat any bunting, so big thanks to them. Riders then flew down another fast section, scrubbing a small mound in the terrain, blasting through a rocky section, and flying down a short fireroad buzzing orange trees, before a quick right to tag off in a little over 4 minutes for the elite riders.
Passing back through the race village on their way to Stage 3, riders replenished with some much needed HIGH5 SPORTS NUTRITION to give them the strength to push back up the same hill as Stage 1.
Tagging on at Stage 3, riders made short work dodging trees before heading back out into the open paddock where wide bunting allowed riders to choose their own adventure – either the quicker but more difficult A line or the slower but easier B line. These features were perfect for spectators to cheer on the competitors, which was heard all the way back down at the village! The riders had to negotiate some steep switchbacks, rock drops and pinch climbs before setting themselves up to drop into a mad 22% decline fireroad before flattening out over the 300m to really test the nerves and the brake fingers! A quick left to tag off at the race village saw riders exhausted but thrilled, before they headed over to their free lunch! Wooo!
Once all riders were accounted for, presentations shortly followed and with plenty of flat tyres, spills and new trails on offer, it saw an interesting change in the results.
In the Male Elite, we had a tie for third place and on a countback between Jimmy Pritchard and Carl Pickersgill, it saw Carl take the place.
OVERALL CAT POS
Male Masters (50+)
Male Masters (50+)
Male Masters (50+)
Male Masters (40-49)
Male Masters (40-49)
Male Masters (40-49)
Male (19-39) Sport
Male (19-39) Sport
Male (19-39) Sport
Male (19-39) Elite
Male (19-39) Elite
Male (19-39) Elite
Female Masters (40-49)
Female Masters (40-49)
Female Masters (40-49)
Female (19-39) Sport
Female (19-39) Elite
Female (19-39) Elite
Female (19-39) Elite
Nerys Eddy scaring off the Female U15
Deon Baker winning the Male Elite
Bill Carruthers for Male U19.
Luke Natoli winning the Male Sport and clear by 29 seconds
Devin Stafford controlling the Male 40-49 category by 27 seconds.
Penny Holmberg in a commanding 1st place for the Female Mssters 40-49 and clear of seconds place by 1min 47sec.
An ecstatic Paul Neve of 3 Chillies Trail Design and Construction taking out first place for Male Master 50+
Male U15 winner Riley Jenkinson lead the field by 50 seconds
Catherine Young representing the Female 19-39 Sport Category
Terrific friendly competition with Claire Garcia-Webb winning the Female Elite 19-39 Category by a comfortable 16 seconds.
Congratulations to all competitors that took part in the fun, and special thanks to Paul Neve of Three Chillies Trail Design and Construction, Rocco and the team at Golden Grove Orchard, and to all the Mum’s who let their husbands, son’s and daughters take part on Mother’s Day and to the Mum’s who thought the best way to celebrate the day is to come out and race!
Huge thanks once again to the volunteers as this race would not happen, would not be safe or well organised without them – Phil, Paul, Vlad, Jimmy, Rich, Ryno, Ross, Rikkie, Amy, Russ, Trent, Terry, Peter, Stephan, Chall, Riley and Rene.
1st time racer Orion Daley-Coers manualing through the rough after spending the Saturday bunting.
Some riders continued to inspect the off-camber trails during the race
Rob Waller, a WA Gravity Enduro regular, enjoying the trails
Steve Manook of Foothill Cycles in race-mode
Dan OKane coming in a very respectable 18th Place in the Male Sport category on his orange rocket
Huge thanks also to our sponsors and supporters: CHAIN REACTION CYCLES, HIGH5 Sports Nutrition, Hybrid Linings (Quality Internal / External Ceilings and Walls), Common Ground Trail Planning Design Construction, Rock n Roll Mountain Biking, Foothills Cycles / Jet Cycles Kelmscott, EMR Suspension Specialist, Prodigy Painting, Three Chillies Trail Design and Construction, IGA Beeliar and Petal Parcels for organising the beautiful flowers and keeping the riders out of trouble with some WA Gravity Enduro special Mother’s Day Gift Packs!
Morgan Francis of EMR Suspension almost riding side-saddle coming in 9th for Male Elite
[cover picture – Sam Rubery (Male U19 Winner) getting some last minute course tips from a Calamunda local. Photo: Travis Deane]
Round 2 of the CRC WA Gravity Enduro series saw the popular trails of Kalamunda testing skills and endurance in perfect riding conditions. With the race village situated at the Calamunda Camel Farm, the course was different to last year’s national round with no Mt Gunjin trails used, but plenty of old favourites thrown into the mix.
With the race being capped at 200 riders to ease waiting time, entries were sold out quickly showing the series is a hot ticket amongst riders.
Jimmy Pritchard leaning into a berm on Goldilocks, Jimmy is contesting rnd 1 of the EWS in Rotorua this weekend with a bunch of other lads reppin’ WA. Chur bro!!! _pic: Jodie Berry
Murray Dickson keeping it long’n’low over 3 Bears ._pic: Jodie Berry
Riders were once again split into two groups with ‘A’ group doing stages 4,5,1,2,3 and ‘B’ group doing 1,2,3,4,5. Stage 1 saw riders leave the race village and head to lower half Camikazi. Riders were met with pedally rocky sections and little kicker jumps most of the way down with a few tight sections and once at the bottom, riders had to make a tight left and fly down the fire road with a nice sweeping right hander with a choice of a loose inside line or outside rut where racers could rail like berm and carry speed to the tag off. Who touched their brakes?
Stage 2 was the short and sweet Lancaster, a fairly easy descent with jumps and ladder hucks, with some guys carrying their speed to the point where they would just gap the whole ladder! At the tag off some riders were surprised at how buggered they were from such a short but intense stage.
After crashing the day before and copping a bar end to the throat Ryan Litterick stormed to respectable 6th. _Pic: Mathew Farrel
Riders then had to ride up ‘Lube Me Up’ to stage 3 where they were met by Tyler Fletcher (a young champion who couldn’t race because of injury so he stepped up and marshalled…legend in our books!). Stage 3 was down Scorpion with its iconic rail sleeper berms all the way down to the road crossing into the Pines where riders hit warp speed and boosting the kicker, carrying speed into the blown out left corner before tagging off.
Bill Carruthers absolutely flying on stage 3. The jump is out of the frame, thats how far Bill launched. 2nd in U19s and with the next round at Golden Grove could he take the next step on the podium? _Pic: Mathew Farrel
After stage 3, riders were faced with the longest transition riding a combination of trails that made their way up to the top of Mt Gunjin. Once here riders took the chance to take breather and reset themselves for stage 4, which was part of last year’s national round with a slightly different start. The start was set on the side of Gunjin road so riders could pin it straight into the loose corner that leads into the old staircase trail, a few riders being caught out on the corner and not sure on what line to take on this short fast descent compared to some of the experienced riders who revelled in this oldschool section. From here riders had to make a sharp right into 3 Bears, carry speed across the powerlines and into the long pedally Mercury St.
After helping all Friday with the course set up Rikkie Zoutenbier had no issues with the staircase. _pic: Jodie Berry
Stage 5 started after another slog up to Mt Gunjin. Stage 5 started at the entry in to Goldilocks which is a fast descent with a heaps of berms – from here riders took the big left berm into Muffin Tops navigating through a few rocky sections into tight flat right hander. From here riders could open it up and pin it all the way down over tabletops and kickers to the tag off which was situated just before the trail started to meander up slightly.
Allan Crisp on his hand built Ti bike with his very own engineered Crisp Brakes. Crispy is a riding animal often keeping up with guys down dh trails on his own creations. _pic: Matthew Farrel
The race village beckoned for the racers, where they were treated to a free sausage sizzle, fruit platters and they rehydrate with some sports drink provided by one of our awesome sponsors High 5 Sports Nutrition. Once all the timing modules were back at the village, results were tallied and presentations were underway. Congratulations to all our competitors, including the following place-getters:
Finally, without our volunteers, this event could not be as big or successful as it was, so a huge thanks goes out to:
Phil, Claire, Terry, Trent, Sam, Rich, Rikkie, Tyler, Peter, Stephan, Cyril, Sabrina, Russell and Amy, and special thanks again to the Calamunda Camel Farm and the Kalamunda Mountain Bike Collective.
Lindsay Alsop of the Kalamunda Mountain Bike Collective accepting the cheque from WA Gravity Enduro for $900!
Once again, we are pleased to donate 10% of your rider entry back to the course, to assist with sustainable racing and trails!
The next round is on the 10th of May at Golden Grove in Chittering. Series sponsor Three Chillies is planning the course with input from volunteers with XC and DH backgrounds. This is a private course with some exciting descents, with plenty of new surprises thrown in for the regulars. Get excited ladies and gents as this round is going to go off like a firecracker on new years!!!
Report: Phil Wilson
Kalamunda Cycles owner and absolute legend Tim Bennet on the gas, finishing 3rd in elite. _pic: Matthew Farrell
The man behind round 6 and Kalamunda Cycles team rider Devin Stafford on his way to 1st in the Male Masters. _pic:Matthew Farrell
Sam Temple on his new black’n’pink 😉 Bronson. Cracking the top 10. Training for the Mega Avalanche is paying off. _pic: Matthew Farrell
Borrowed bike, no problems. Rich Blair on his was to a solid result. _pic: Matthew Farrell
The Swiss Miss Katja Alsop, always the smooth rider. _pic: Matthew Farrell
Just half of the bustling race village post race. Good times being had. _pic: Matthew Farrell
[cover picture – CRC team member Mike Jones taking the inside line on stage 6 on his way to 7th place. Photo: Matthew Farrell]
Pemberton MTB Park played host to round 1 of the 2015 Chain Reaction Cycles WA Gravity Enduro series. Master trail builder and legend Paul Neve came up with a course that challenged everyone from downhillers to cross county riders to the weekend warriors, putting everyone in the hurt locker on sections and challenging riders on descents.
With 170+ racers registered the field got split into two, with 1 group doing stages 1 to 6 and the other group starting on the Pump Hill trails riding the stages from 3,4,5,1,2,6.
Giant DH Aus rider Jordon Prochyra living up to his #EnduroLord title by blitzing the down sand smashing the ups. Photo: Mark Hudson
Stage 1 was down “Bloody Mary” a riders’ favourite and the one of the most challenging. With a lot of berms and jumps throughout. One of the best sections being after the fire road drop in, with Tom Anticich gapping into the third berm from the chute, unfortunately with it not paying off and him returning to stage 2 covered in dirt. After the bottom jump line riders had to carry their speed into a short speed into short pinch climb which linked into “Just Because” and then one more short pinch to the tag off.
Stage 2 ran down “Pirate Trail” a hand cut trail which showed wear and tear in parts from the national XC round from a few weeks ago. With a tight switchback pinch halfway down riders started to tire before descending into a series of rocks and logs and then onto a fast fire road section in to hip jump. Riders had to carry speed into a hard climb that had most riders cursing Nevesy’s track layout before the tag off. From here riders rode across the bridge and up the Rainbow trail to Pump Hill.
Stage 3 was a return of “Pump Hill Uphill” an up track in reverse, unlike last year the track was bedded in and running superfast.
Stage 4 was another new one this year “Longshanks” which is a favourite of Sam Hill, with loose leaf litter on track riders had hold their lines leading into corners that developed moto ruts as the wore one. This trail hard on the legs especially over the old rail sleepers section.
Sam Hill ready to start round 1 of the Chain Reaction Cycles WA Gravity Enduro
Midland Cycles mechanic Tom about to bin after taking a line that would make Nathan Rennie proud. Photo: Kathy Carruthers
The next trail was the brand spanking new “Dropbear” which only opened on the Friday before the race, not 100% complete Nevesy signed off on it and riders rode it all Saturday to bed it in. with ruts in majority of corners it became a favourite of the racers.
The final stage saw riders make it up to the main hill to ride down a combo of trails. Starting of down “Relentless Blue” with its famous timber berms and then linking across “Cool Runnings” with its flowy goodness once riders got in to rhythm and loving life as the end was near they were sent across the hill to “Black’n’Blue” with its torturous undulating trail, riders had to dig deep as the end was in sight all they had to was fit the handle bars through the walking bridge and then tagging off right by the pool. Riders were given fruit and sandwich donated by IGA.
After the race riders enjoyed a swim in the pool and some hydration whilst the final riders concluded proceedings. With everyone smiling about the race and chatting to mates and riders who haven’t raced in recent years.
Showing the consistancy and style that got him a top 20 at Mt Buller Jimmy Pritchard on his way to 5th just behind good mate Jordy. Photo: Mark Hudson
Its also great to see so many from the local bike industry racing with Wembley Cycles, Kalamunda Cycles, Speedlite Cycles well represented and of course Foothills Cycles who had few lads race as well as supplying a pit area and selling stock. It must also be said that there were riders from all over the state – Karratha up North to Albany in the South and a strong contingent throughout the south west.
The man behind the trails Paul Neve putting his locally built Decendance bike with Avalache suspension to the test down Bloody Mary’s chute. Photo: Mark Hudson
The biggest kid out there Pete Millard. Loving life. Photo: Mark Hudson
The Future. Sam Rubery rolling the dice and coming out on top. His decision to race his XC rocket paid off with getting the 2nd fastest overall time of the day just behind Sam Hill. Photo: Mark Hudson
First time racer Matt ‘Willo’ Wilson tasted plenty of Pemberton dirt and still finished with a ear to ear grin. Photo: Mark Hudson
Chris Kovarik showed the trail who is boss tearing apart most corners. 3rd place in elite on the day. Photo: Matthew Farrell
Tony ‘Sparky’ Davies with eyes of the tiger. Photo: Mark Hudson
Last Years Queen of Pemberton Claire Garcia Webb flying the Wembley Cycles flag on her way to 2nd in Elite Ladies. Photo: Mark Hudson
Taylor Young. Foot out flat out. Photo: Matthew Farrell
After running clinics for two days before race, Clare Buchar steaming in to take the win in women’s elite.
Local Pemberton legend Mark Hudson with the big cheque which was raised from the entry fees. Photo: Matthew Farrell
Elite Men 1st Sam Hill 2nd Deon Baker 3rd Chris Kovarik. Photo: Matthew Farrell
I was fortunate enough to head up to the Sram/Rockshox Enduro challenge at Mt Buller which also happened to be the 1st round of the National Enduro series over the weekend, and what a great race it was. The field was stacked with big names dropping all over the show. The tracks were spot on and the weather turned on too!
I flew into Melbourne a couple of days before racing and bunked with WA local legends Tim Bennet and James Kennedy. We spent a couple of days checking out the tracks and relaxing. There were 6 race stages and roughly 30km, 1400m of climbing and x2 chair lift assisted runs, it was a fair bit to take in and remember lines. While trying not to wreck our selves before race day on Sunday.
By the time Saturday rolled around we were feeling a little tired and decided make the most of the chair lift and save our legs for race day. The atmosphere in town had ramped right up with hundreds of people rolling into the village.
The Prologue kicked off at 3pm Saturday, a basic seeding run that decided where you start the following day. The track consisted of fire road, loamy grass and stairs to finish in the centre of the village. I left the gate about 545pm, I rode like a goose and came in at 33rd with the time not going towards our finish time it wasn’t a big deal. Tim finished 4th and JK 7th in vets and Mike 2nd and Sam 20th in elite.
After a good nights sleep, race day rolled around, feeling pretty nervous for my first race of the season I decided to go for a spin on a track nearby to loosen up, before I knew it I was called up and off down the first stage. It was pretty flat and pedaly, at 4minutes long it was going to burn the lungs. I rode pretty conservatively so I could punch the uphill before the last descent, that didn’t go to plan I was cooked by halfway. It was a delight to drop into the last 200m of downhill and give the lungs a rest. I was surprised and stoked to crack the top ten for the stage.
After coughing a bit of blood and a 15min climb it was onto stage 2 – Misty twist. A narrow track with plenty of switch back 180 degree turns that just seemed to go forever. It was a fairly uneventful run and the lungs and legs were starting to settle. Not feeling too shabby I saddled up and headed off on a 30-40 minute liaison stage to the top of Mt Stirling.
Then we headed into stage 3. Stonefly descent is about 8min of party time. It was fast and fun I loved every minute of it, I pushed pretty hard and had a few hairy moments as I only did one practice lap and I didn’t seem to recall much. I had a bit of fun and stayed upright.
After some food I decided to walk a firebreak to stage 4 – (Clancys Run) and give the legs a rest. After arriving at the top and only a few riders around I dived in while I was still warm. Knowing that I had 2 chair lift runs to go I was feeling good, I knew the stage well and had a good run with a couple of stalls on the tight corners but after a few cranks I was back up to speed.
Climbing off the chairlift we came to Stage 5. Outlaw/Yellow Post was one of the better stages, with plenty of rocks and loose dusty turns. I was like a kid in a candy store, it was good fun on the trail bike I could have happily done a few more laps, but I had to head up and finish the day on the prologue track.
After waiting 20min to get my start on stage 6 I was off trying to lay down some ponies with my chicken legs. Nek minit “ping” my chain snapped about 30metres in. Thankfully 80% of the track was downhill so I wasn’t completely out of luck after a few leg pushes across the flat sections. Bouncing down some stairs I was home with a 64th on the stage anda 16th overall, with a race time of 25:35 just outside my goal of top 15. Tim coming with a 7th, JK 13th in vets (JK walking over the line after destroying a rear wheel), Sam and Mike getting some pre-season training in and laying down a top 5 finish, Mike in at 14th.
It was a bloody good weekend had by all. I want to thank EMS Australia, The crew at Mt Buller and SRAM for putting on a great event. Also thanks the West Aus Lads for an awesome trip!
WA Gravity Enduro and Rock ‘n’ Roll Mountain Biking are teaming up for an epic weekend in Pemberton!
Don’t let an opportunity like this pass you by – get enduro race training by two of the best enduro riders IN THE WORLD with a 3 hours gravity riding clinic, and then put what you have learnt to the test with Round 1 of the 2015 Chain Reaction Cycles WA Gravity Enduro race in Pemberton on Sunday, 15th Feb.
Places are limited for the clinic and the WAGE race. You can sign up for it all through the WA Gravity Enduro registration process, or contact Rock ‘n’ Roll Mountain Biking directly to make a booking and ask any questions.
We are thrilled to announce that a Gravity Enduro National Series, backed by MTBA, will be heading to WA on June 15. We will be hosting the event at the Goat Farm, Greenmount. With the exploding growth of this racing discipline, we expect the participant numbers to increase, so when the time comes, get it quick as registrations will be capped. More details will follow soon!
We are continually developing and pushing gravity enduro mountain bike racing in Western Australia, and you are welcome to come along for the ride! We aim to bring you WAGE latest news, rider articles, information on other Gravity Enduro events happening in Australia and abroad, and of course, the latest races happening in Western Australia.
We have welcomed some new sponsors for 2015, with High5 Sports Nutrition, Common Ground Trails and Hybrid Linings, plus our dedicated sponsors – namely Chain Reaction Cycles [The Largest Online Bike Shop in the World], Prodigy Painting Three Chillies, Foothill Cycles [formerly Jet Cycles] and EMR Suspension Servicing and Apparel.
Rider will enjoy new trail locations in 2015, incorporating different challenges and experiences. We are always working hard behind the scenes to improve the sport and the racing discipline. You are welcome to join the Community, either as a rider, volunteer or simply coming along to spectate. Help us create a great mountain bike racing experience by coming along, having some fun and helping us donate funds back into the trails that we so enjoy!
Upon the unfortunate destruction of our timing system at the last round of 2014, after the heaviest rainfalls we have experienced while racing Gravity Enduro, the timing system is being revised and under development. We aim to start testing in the coming weeks, and you will receive some more information regarding this. Most importantly, the timing modules will be completely waterproof!
As a rider, the system will be unchanged, with the usual ‘tag on’ and ‘tag off’ using your RFID wristband at each stage, but they way the data is then processed and delivered is set to gain huge improvement. Testing will tell whether or not the last 4 months of work will pay off!