The future is bright for Australian mountain biking with a record field of riders lining up for the 20th annual Australian Interschools Mountain Bike Championships in Thredbo across the weekend.
With a mountain of excited school kids, five huge events and a big crowd of family and friends, the stage was set for an epic display of young gun racing.
The championships are open to school aged from around the country, it is all about participation and this year there was a record breaking 470 riders representing 74 schools across four age divisions riding in three point scoring competitions plus two fun exhibition events. Downhill, Cross-Country and Flow riding all accumulated points for their school and the fast and flowing Pump Track Challenge and a Sprint Relay drew good numbers and big crowds.
Thredbo turned on perfect autumn weather with early fog and a sprinkle of overnight rain settling the dust on the gravity trails.
The Flow Motion race saw around 350 riders and had a solid field in all divisions.
“The Flow Motion Race on Friday was new to the Interschools schedule, it gave competitors a chance to race a gravity trail without the technical features of a pure downhill track. It was unbelievable to see riders as young as eight giving the Flow race a go” said Danny Taliana – Thredbo MTB Operations Manager.
Downhill day saw the track a little tacky to start but quickly become loose and dusty. As this event encourages participation, riders had the choice to take on the more technical
Cannonball Downhill or a modified b-line option. Fastest on the day was Knox Grammar’s Chris Pulsar setting the course alight with a 5:00 run. Local Snowy Mountains Grammar School rider Mackenzie Diver set the quickest pace in the female division.
The Pump Track Challenge was a crowd pleaser, schools nominated three riders in each division for this exhibition event – one pedalling lap then it was all free-rolling. The big crowd certainly were behind Pump Trackers as they cheered them around the berms and over the rollers to the finish.
The cross country event wrapped up the weekend, with around 300 kids lapping the 2.5 kilometre Friday Flat loop. The course was 70/30 uphill to downhill and at altitude, it certainly tested the fitness of the XC competitors. It was a close tussle in the division 1 men’s with Cameron Butcher of Chevalier College narrowly edging out Jindabyne Central School’s Lachlan Harrigan.
The hotly contested overall champion school saw Heathcote High School take the shield for the tenth year in a row.
Consistency was key with the crowning of eight divisional kings and queens of the mountain for those who participated and placed well right across the weekend.
With big crowds of friends and family supporting riders and their schools, there was a great fun vibe across the weekend.
Over the 20 years, the event has launched the career of many Australian and world champions including Troy Brosnan, Tegan Molloy and Andrew and Thomas Crimmins. With participation on the increase and record numbers at Thredbo gravity events, we are sure to see Australian riders star on the world stage for years to come.
Next stop on the Thredbo MTB summer calendar is the Rocky Trail Downhill Enduro and SuperFlow Roller Coaster 1-2 April.