Chain Reaction Cycles WA Gravity Enduro
2017 – Round 1, Kalamunda
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!
1 DELLA VECCHIA Aaron
2 KYME Gus
3 MORGAN Cody
1 MORGAN Jesse
2 MCBROOM Tate
3 FRASER Jayden
1 KYME Roly
2 JENKINSON Riley
3 STANLEY Greg
1 ROUGHTON Jen
2 MUSTICA Kadia
1 FRENCH Sarah
2 YOUNG Cathy
3 BAZAN Magdalena
Female Masters 40 – 49
1 CONNOR Sandra
2 MUNRO Nicole
3 PACE Jody
1 CLARKE Mitchel
2 SCURLOCK Tristan
3 MAGGIORANI Nicco
1 LEECH Dave
2 ROGERS Wayne
3 VAN DEN DOOL Cameron
Female Super Masters 50+
1 FITZGERALD Vilma
2 RYAN Cas
Male Masters 40 – 49
1 CARNEY John
2 STEPHENS Dave
3 MCGRATH Ben
Male Super Masters 50+
1 RUBERY Mark
2 TWINE Rick
3 WALLER Robert
WAGE Wippets U13
1 ELLIOTT Bailey
2 REGAN Nicholas
3 IRVING Joel
1 ALSOP Katja
2 DUNNAGE Sarah
3 BARNES Meredith
1 MADSEN Todd
2 FRENDO Mark
3 RUBERY Sam
…and of course, Rob!
Special thanks to our sponsors
Thanks to Mundaring Weir Hotel, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Department of Water and the Shire of Kalamunda.
Report: Race Director, Steve Janiec. 3rd March 2017