Western Australia’s Cape to Cape MTB stage race is one of the country’s premiere mountain bike events, and its standout stage has always been a singletrack fiesta in the Margaret River Pines. Unfortunately, as is often the case with trails in pines forests, the area is due for logging soon and this inevitably will have an impact on the trails and Cape to Cape too.
Read on for a chat with Jason Dover, race director of Cape to Cape MTB, to learn more about what the likely impacts will be and how he’s planning on ensuring riders don’t go hungry for great trails this year.
Q: We keep hearing that The Pines are due to be logged in Margaret River. What is the latest there?
A: The logging of The Pines is imminent. Our expectation is that The Pines will be logged some time before the 2015 Cape to Cape starts so we are making plans with that in mind. Whilst we are really attached to The Pines as they were born out of our event there is more to Margaret River than The Pines and the loggining of this area will see the redevelopment of a heap of new and old trails in the region.
Q: So does that meant all of the trails in The Pines will be gone if logging goes ahead?
A: No way. About half the trails from The Pines will be gone but the section of trails through an area called Compartment 10 will not be logged. This area includes a mix of the natural forest and includes trails such as Big Pine, Rock and Root, Hoodies and Managers. We even think Long Macchiato may be left as well. A trails development plan is being worked on by a group down there headed up by David Willcox. This includes the full redevelopment of the Compartment 10 area along with Wharncliffe Mill, the River Trails, South Carters and also the trails east of the highway out to Ten Mile Brook Dam.
Q: Can you fill us in on what is being planned for Cape to Cape MTB 2015 and the Margaret River Special Stage?
A: It is the “special stage” so we are going all out to make sure this stage is really special. Over the years of building the Cape to Cape we have found and used just about every bit of trail around Margaret River. So the design of a new course which does not feature all the trails in The Pines but still maximises the riding experience, gets the distance we need for the overall stage and still has that “special” feeling to the other stages is our challenge. I am really excited about our draft course at this stage. It uses a heap of the old trails that have been featured in past Cape to Cape Margaret River stages but a lot of people new to the area may never have ridden. Our Event Manager Rex Dubois reviewed it the other day and said, “Wow. This is like a Cape to Cape Greatest Hits album!” So don’t fear there is still going to be a heap of sweet single track and we are also going back to some of the most picturesque trails in the whole region.
Q: So how much can you reveal of the new alignment for Stage 3 this year?
A: We are still in the planning and approvals stage so we cant reveal the exact details. The draft course has been done up at our end and will be presented to all of the authorities and stakeholders in the coming month. We hope that everything gets the green light but we know from past experiences this is unlikely. But I can give an overview of what we are asking for.
The plan is to still have the same start roll out through Margaret River to Carters Road. And the finish out to Colonial Brewery would also remain the same. In between we have put together an alignment that includes some of the best trails around Margaret River like Wharncliffe Mill, Riverglen Loop, the River Run and the trails out of town to Ten Mile Brook Dam including a cool river crossing. We think it will be a really cool showcase of some of the best trails we have used in past Cape to Cape events and also a stepping stone toward the future trail development that is planned for the area. If all goes to plan the development of trails around all of these areas for the event and the future will be very exciting.
That is really the best thing about the alignment we are proposing. Not only is it a conduit course for the Cape to Cape this year but it is also a link between the overall planning for the area to transition from the old Pines trails into a new era of trails in Margaret River. The areas of Compartment 10, Wharncliffe Mill, the River Trails and Ten Mile Brook Dam are all part of the first stages of this master plan for the area. If we get the ok to add a little bit of South Carters in as well it would be the cream on the cake and more than make up for the logging of The Pines and make the stage truly special.
Q: Finally, how will the logging effect the Sundown Shootout? The past few years the Shootout has used The End and Woop Woop right?
A: This will perhaps see the greatest impact as both The End and Woop Woop are definitely going once the logging happens as they both sit outside of Compartment 10. As with the overall event planning we have looked at alternatives for the Sundown Shootout. One involves Big Pine from top to bottom but we feel this perhaps lack the finish line atmosphere we had with Woop Woop. The other alternative involves a combination of Rock and Root and possibly Managers which would be a really cool test for the elite riders as these are two of the most technical trails in The Pines / Compartment 10 area. For us it is a great chance to change it up so we will go and ride both alignments and work out what will be best but you really cant go wrong with either option.