[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.
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.
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.
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.
Report: Phil Wlison