Now in its ninth year, the GT Bike Buller Festival includes mountain bike races across a range of disciplines including Gravity Enduro, Downhill, X-Country, All Mountain, Pump Track, Kids, and Dual Slalom on Mt Buller’s internationally-recognised trails.
Riding commenced on Saturday with a 40km cross-country race over nearby Mt Stirling and a 20km race on the local Mt Buller trails with both events taking riders through some incredible snow gum wilderness in these high alpine areas. While these lung-busting races were under way an ‘all-mountain’ race was held for more gravity orientated riders on the Outlaw downhill track where speed and air time was more the order of the day as they powered down this technical downhill run before enjoyed the comforts of the chairlift for a free ride back up.
The mixture of pedalling cross-country races and gravity hungry downhill races continued across Sunday with the Brakeburner and ABOM downhill races and on Monday with a 20km cross country race over Corn Hill and a huge gravity enduro race over the same popular trail network.
It wasn’t all hard pedalling and challenging descents though with a range of spectacle events also included for the fun and enjoyment of everyone. Saturday night saw a hilarious dual slalom on kids 16” bikes and pump track pursuit for BMX elites, as well as MTB movie nights, kids rides and the Picnic in the Park gourmet food, wine and music festival at the base of the mountain.
Overall weekend winners were presented to riders with the fastest cumulative times across the three gravity events – titled the ‘Gravity God’ category, and the three cross-country events – titled the ‘XC Whippet’ category. Competitors in these events had to balance speed with endurance and bounce back each day ready to put it all on the line once again.
After coming second last year by a margin of just one second, Shannon Hewetson claimed the Gravity God title with a cumulative time of 34.20 head of Kaine Cannan with 34.57 and Murray Stephens with 35.05. The leading Gravity Goddesses were Phillippa Norton with 39.27, Brody Chapman with 40.28 and the 2016 winner Sarah Booth in 3rd in a time of 41.18.
The XC-Whippets categories were just as competitive with Adrian Jackson claiming victory in 4hr31.29. Adrian had a tough time of it though and suffered 2 punctures on the 40km race which set him back by 5 mins so needed to race hard in following days to secure the win over Bret Murray in 4hr44.07 in 2nd and Brad Clarke in 4hr48.28. The overall females saw Melissa Ansett, the 2016 winner, regain her title in a time of 5hr27.15 ahead of Daniela Erni Ruoss in 5hr40.08 and Suer Thompson in 5hr55.57.
“We are absolutely thrilled with the 2017 GT Bike Buller Festival,” commented event manager Sam Maffett from Rapid Ascent, “to see so many riders across all popular MTB styles get together for a huge weekend of riding, fresh air and good times is always a thrill.”
“We had some of Australia’s best riders from a range of disciplines and they all loved the trails and event format. There is a real sense of camaraderie between them that makes it a joy to be part of. Combined all this with the superb trails at Mt Buller and good weather and it really has been a superb weekend.”
For more information head to www.gtbikebuller.com
Full results are available HERE