Bike Buller MTB Festival Wrap Up

Words by Rapid Ascent | Images by Rapid Ascent

The 2015 Bike Buller MTB Festival, presented by Orbea, has wrapped up for another year. If you don’t know this event and what it’s all about, let us explain. Bike Buller, as it’s known, is an event for real all-round mountain bikers. Over three days it crams in a huge amount of action, across so many different disciplines of mountain biking it’ll leave you dizzy trying to decide how to set up your bike!

There’s everything from brake burners races, to cross country missions, ridiculously fast top-to-bottom enduro descents, right through to pump track racing. It’s a real test of overall mountain biking skill and fitness, all held in the stunning surrounds of Mt Buller. If you haven’t been to Buller, check out our video below, and lock yourself in for Bike Buller next year as it’s the best way to see all the trails.

Read on below for the official wrap up this year’s racing, with the most amazing spread of events yet.


It was a huge weekend of mountain biking action at the Bike Buller MTB Festival presented by Orbea, over the weekend, 7-9 March.

The three-day event consisted of seven serious mountain bike races, two spectacle events (the dual slalom and pump track), a trail running race, three kids’ events and a whole bunch of added social activities.

The crowd was diverse with events to cater for riders of all styles. There were plenty of cross country riders but just as many downhill and gravity riders. There were groups of mates from faraway places such as Bathurst NSW, Queensland and even Singapore; local riders enjoying the increased level of competition; and plenty of families making the most of the Victorian long weekend.

MTB DH-4

Alice Hamilton, the overall female winner of Race 11, summed up the weekend nicely.

“We’ve had the best weekend. There’s definitely the festival vibe here with so many events and the pump track and Picnic in the Park. We’ve loved it,” she said.

Alex Swann proved too good in the downhill, taking out three race wins for the weekend, but there was no shortage of competition. Several other riders left the mountain with race titles and prizes; and everyone else left with a huge sense of satisfaction, having enjoyed the magnificent Mt Buller trails and festival atmosphere.

This is how all the action unfolded.

SATURDAY 7TH MARCH:

Race 1 – Schwalbe Stirling Circuit 50km
This was a spectacular – and by all accounts extremely challenging – XC circuit over Mt Stirling and back again including Stonefly, the Corn Hill trails and a chairlift up Mt Buller at the end.

Brad Clarke from Berwick Victoria was the clear winner, finishing nearly 12 minutes ahead of the next rider.

“It was good fun; I really enjoyed it. I went out really hard from the start and managed to take an early lead. The best part of the course was definitely the descent on the Stonefly Trail,” said Clarke.

Overall winning male: Brad Clarke
Overall winning female: Melissa Anset
Race 2 – Fox Stonefly Circuit 35km
This rewarding XC race took riders also took riders to Mt Stirling and back on the phenomenal Stonefly trail with chairlift at the end.

“It’s my first time riding at Mt Buller. The downhill section after the 50km and 35km split was just fantastic, so flowy and so much fun. I’m not used to the altitude but I loved the trails,” said Rebecca Payne from Sydney.

Overall winning male: Brad Tregoweth
Overall winning female: Rebecca Payne
Race 3 – Fox Outlaw All Mountain Trophy
In this mind-blowing all-mountain race on two of Mt Buller’s DH tracks – Outlaw Express and Yellow Post – riders completed 5 timed descents with an untimed chairlift back to the top. The fastest 3 descents made up their overall race time.

There were plenty of smiling faces and great tales told at the end of the descent as riders caught their breath as they jumped on the chairlift with their bikes.

At the end of the day, it was Alex Swann who posted the fastest men’s times and highly accomplished mountain biker Clare Kovarik who won the women’s event.

“I didn’t ride particularly well but my favourite bit was the one long straight section where you could go pretty fast so it was good fun,” said Vaughan Blom from Aspendale.

Overall winning male: Alex Swann
Overall winning female: Clare Kovarik
Race 4 –Fox Kids Village Ride
Kids had a ball with this super-fun 5km cross country ride on the friendly trails around the Mt Buller Village. There were no winners as such but ever participant walked away with prizes and high grins on their faces.
Race 5 – Fox 16” Dual Slalom
There was plenty of noise from the crowd, encouraged along by the Red Bull Energy DJ, as two riders went head to head down a grass dual slalom track on Bourke Street, on 16” kids bikes! There were loads of stacks and jeering from the spectators as 32 riders took on the challenge. In the winner-takes-all elimination format Connor Feardon won the final round in a hot contest against Tim Eaton.

Overall winner: Connor Feardon
Race 6 – LEZYNE Kids Pump Track
This was a great opportunity for the kids to have a go on the rolling Pump Track, proudly strutting their stuff to their supportive parents and onlookers.
Race 7 – Flow Pump Track Pursuit
The trackside bar and BBQ and Red Bull Energy DJ kept the crowd pumping and after some thrilling head to head racing on the pump track in a do-or-die elimination format, young rider Jackson Frew managed to take the crown.

Overall winner: Jackson Frew

SUNDAY 8TH MARCH:

9.5km Trail Run
A spectacular and challenging trail running race took runners along the scenic alpine walking and riding trails and up to the Mt Buller Summit, with a beautiful 3.5km descent back to the Village Square.

“It was a beautiful run. I was waiting for someone to pass me on the way down so I just wanted to hold on and get to that finish. My husband raced in the 50km mountain biking yesterday so it was my turn to have some fun today,” said Caitlin Wade from Sydney.

Overall winning male: Ross Hopkins
Overall winning female: Caitlin Wade
Race 8 – SRAM Guide Brake Burner Enduro
The most popular race for the weekend was the multi-lap enduro down a 7km XC/DH course to the base of the chairlift and back up again until the final 12km Super-D (Race 9) to the Picnic in the Park festival at the base of the mountain.

“I managed to get 6 laps in before hitting the Super D. I had a nice clean run down the trails and a really nice stranger stopped to help me on the trail when I had I had a flat. It’s been a great day,” said Helen Yates from Melbourne.

Overall winning male: Jason Archer
Overall winning female: Leah Childs

 

Race 9 – Fox Mt Buller Super D

This exhilarating 12km Super-D race took riders from the top of Mt Buller all the way to the bottom – descending over 1100m in a single run. Riders flew down the Delatite River Trail to finish in the Picnic in the Park festival at the base of the mountain.

There were a few thrills and spills on course as competitors lapped up the downhill sections, and a fierce battle between Alex Swann and Tim Eaton to capture the win.

“That was awesome. We were both flying down. It was a great trail and we haven’t done the event before. It was great fun,” said Joel and Aidan Geysen from Melbourne.

Overall winning male: Alex Swann
Overall winning female: Daniela Ruoss

MTB DH-8
Race 10 – Fox Kids Picnic Ride
It was a diverse field of kids that put their hands up for the Picnic Ride in the Picnic in the Park festival in Mirimbah, with children as young as 3 years on balance bikes through to 13 years on some serious looking machines. They started off with a skills course, progressed to five-laps of challenging off-course circuit and finished brilliantly with a fun “bike limbo”. Cheered on my eager parents in was a great event to encourage young riders.

 

MONDAY 9TH MARCH:

Race 11 – Adidas Eyewear Corn Hill Crankfest XC 22km
It was a tight race on the challenging XC 22km Crankfest on the flowing single track around the Mt Buller Village and neighbouring Cornhill trails. There was a strong lead pack of five riders setting the pace until race favourite Joey Esterhuysen managed to break away on one of the downhill sections.

“It was an interesting race; the guys were pretty strong at the start but I managed to get away from them so I just went for it. It’s been a really good weekend with the mix of events, the trails are awesome and the volunteer course marshalls have been great,” said Joey Esterhuysen.

Overall winning male: Joey Esterhuysen
Overall winning female: Alice Hamilton
Race 12 – Bell Super 2R Gravity Enduro 20km
A gravity enduro around the most popular Mt Buller and Cornhill trails with 5 timed descents interspersed with untimed climbs and transit stages.

“That was the best race of the weekend for me. It’s been a sic weekend, just loved it,” Scott Larritt from Melbourne.

“Yeah, I’ve been having a bit of a go this weekend. I had a really good race yesterday against Tim Eaton so I was definitely feeling it today. The gravity enduro today was really good; good format and a really nice way to finish off the weekend,” said Alex Swann.

Overall winning male: Alex Swann
Overall winning female: Jacinta Nelsson

 

For full results on the 2015 Bike Buller MTB Festival presented by Orbea visit www.BIKEBULLER.com

 

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