The second round of the 2021 Shimano Queensland Enduro Series by EMS Australia headed to Kooralbyn Mountain Bike Park on the weekend and there was no shortage of action on track. Cooler sunny conditions meant some epic weather for riding and a showing of over 200 riders meant that there was no shortages of tires pinning it between the tape….
By Mike Branch
Photography by Eduardo Knoch
Kooralbyn is situated about an hour and a half from Brisbane to the South West and is home to a growing network of trails known for their dust filled corners, flat out pedal sections and Balga plants lining the trails. It was the ideal location for the second round of the Shimano Queensland Enduro Series and provided a good mix of trails to cater for the strengths of all riders.
With a total of approximately 220 riders heading out to Kooralbyn for the race weekend, it was a packed event village and plenty of campers took the chance for a weekend away with the bikes. With weather that topped out at 23 degrees and a sky full of sun for the whole weekend, it was the perfect recipe for the second round of the Shimano Queensland Enduro Series.
Stages For The Day
The stages for the weekend were a little different from those traditionally used in any enduro race previously held at Kooralbyn, track changes and re-routing of sections meant there were plenty of lung busting stages to keep the legs pounding. A total of five stages were set for the race and a 30-40 minute climb to the top of stage one to start the day meant all riders were pushed to warm up and get ready for the most technical trail of the day.
The Queen’s stage was the Black Snake DH Trail which had recently been reworked in places and used for the SEQDH round. A total of 5-6 minutes for most riders, the more technical rocky, loose and fast upper section tested the skill of the riders, whilst a more physical lower section favored the fitter riders.
The rest of the stages included ‘Nemesis’ into ‘Attack Rooster’, ‘No Name’ into ‘Lower DH’, ‘Copperhead’ and ‘Ironman’ into ‘OK Corral’. A total of approximately 20km in length and 700m of elevation meant the course was a demanding one and a good lead up the the bigger days in the rounds ahead. There was no shortage of dust, loose corners, flat out pedal sections and sweaty climbs to keep the riders focused.
Unfortunately there were some timing issues that effected less than 10% of the riders but meant that some average times had to be utilized and disrupting one of the stages for a short period. A crash on DH trail also led to some delays due to an injured rider and the race time frame was adjusted accordingly. Despite these issues, it was a good day on the bike for all.
The Elite Men’s category saw the young gun Ryan Gilchrist take the top step over Ben Forbes and Ryan Leutton; the Elite Women’s category was won by Laura Craft over Catherine O’Neill and Jessica Hoskin. Adam Aitken took the win in Expert Men, Ellen Ward won the Expert Women’s category, Pete Smith won the Veteran Men, Fiona Langfeldt won Veteran Women and Andrew Janke and Michelle Gane took out the Masters category wins.
The E-bikers were out in force for this round of the series and a few timing issues led to some confusion over the final places, but in the end Damo Liddy took the top step over Luke radley and Jesse Chirizzi. The emerging category looks to be slowly growing and with the increasing popularity of the lithium-fueled bikes, it looks like it’s here to stay.
A total of 103 junior riders donned a jersey and strapped on a race plate for the weekend, aged 21 and under, another awesome junior turnout making up nearly half the field. The U21 Men’s race was won by Will Hynes over Caleb Mallyon and Sam Butler with a time that would have seen him take 5th place in elite; Maizy Evans won the U21 Women’s category. Isaiah Kelso took the top step in the U17 Men, Sacha Mills won the U17 Women, Oliver Colthup took first place in U15 Men and Oceana Christoforidis took the win in U15 Women.
The youngest category for the day saw Liam Montgomery and Madeleine Stevens take the wins in the under 13 category, an awesome effort from the youngest pinners of the day. Another great showing of junior riders, with plenty of riders pushing their limits, having a great time and progressing their riding between the tape.
Round 2 of the Shimano Queensland Enduro Series again had an excellent turnout and it was great to see a large contingent of riders make their way out to Kooralbyn to battle it out between the tape. The next round of the series heads North to Rockhampton in June for the only round outside of South East Queensland, providing a great excuse for a road trip.
Every race is another chance to progress and push the limits, Kooralbyn was no different for many riders. We look forward to seeing you at the next race of the series and until then, keep your brakes wide open….