As the sun rose over the horizon and the clear blue skies of Toowoomba open up, many a budding mountain bike racer open their eyes. The crisp winter morning temperatures did not stop the crowds from gathering from all around the nation for round one of the MTBA national series in sunny Queensland….
Located approximately 2 hours drive from Brisbane and seated atop the main range, Toowoomba is an epic mountain biking venue that provides rocky, dry, loose and technical terrain that will keep even the most seasoned gravity specialist on their toes and digging into their bag of tricks.
A total of six stages were selected carefully to provide a tantalizing mix of technical, loose and entertaining riding. The longest of which being a mix of ‘Mackenzie Frenzy’ and ‘Canyonero’, leading to a challenging stage with plenty of airtime, drops, fast loose corners and a rock garden to take out your dérailleur, or in one rider’s case the upper jockey wheel!
There was carnage aplenty as the top riders in the country jockeyed for position in the opening round of the National Gravity Enduro Series. Unfortunately for many riders the race ended early due to mechanical issues or injury, with one section of Stage 3 proving to be a particularly challenging place for some riders. As the terrain took its toll on the riders and their bikes, the leaders began emerging from beneath the dust cloud.
The elite men’s race podium was decide by a total of 20 seconds between first and third, with Andrew Cavaye edging out Ryan Leutton by 6 seconds and Stuart Cali was hot on their tails. The elite women saw Jessica Hoskin take the win, Max Banks-Watson took out Masters 1/2, Steven Butler took out the hotly contested Masters 3/4 and the junior men’s category was taken out by Roly Kyme.
As the day came to an end and the last riders handed in their timing chips, the atmosphere grew with chatter of the challenging day that had passed. Some rider’s left with broken frames, some with broken bones, but none with a broken spirit. It was impossible to see a rider without a smile at the end of the day and a cracking start to the national season had been unleashed……