The first ever South Australian Gravity Enduro took place on 14 April at the new Craigburn Farm trails in Sturt Gorge recreation Park, and was a massive success.
The development of Gravity Enduro in SA came about after a group of riders, lead by Daniel Morgan and Kyle Stevens, got together to try to bring the new concept to SA. After a few discussions and meetings, the Adelaide Mountain Bike Club agreed to support this new group by allowing them to set up and run the races under their banner, which streamlined much organisation, and the committee could instead focus on the job of just running a great event.
As a first venue for this type of competition the trails of Craigburn Farm made perfect sense, as the trails are popular with riders and offer a good selection of mild to hard downhill trails, with plenty of jumps and obstacles to challenge the faster riders, but newer or less confident riders could still race the slower lines and experience the new style of racing, so it suited all levels.
There was a huge amount of interest in the run up to the event, with all 110 spots selling out a good week before the event- 150 or more spots could have been sold, which is pretty big for Adelaide. For a first event this was a huge surprise for the organisers!
The race used all of the original Craigburn Fram trail network, with the first stage kicking off from the main trailhead, and heading down the undulating terrain of Sidewinder right. This turned out to be one of the most critical stages, with a 45 second climb (for the fast ones) in the middle of the stage taking it’s toll on the less fit, or those who chose a less than suitable bike. Stage 1 then finished with a second descent down the more xc-styled Little River trail.
A short breather and a relaxed climb then brought riders to probably the most popular stage of the route, Craigberms- this is a favourite with riders, with a few table tops, a loads of jumps and berms, and a few other obstacles thrown in the mix. Times were much closer on this leg, although the final flat finish did catch a few out.
After another gentle climb past the Craigburn lake, the third stage was probably the most technical, down ‘Sticks and Stones’. This is a totally different trail, with a number of tricky rock gardens in the upper section, some of which require a good bit of pedalling and line choice to get through cleanly, and with the occasional uphill pinch. This was another stage which split the fields more, proving you needed to be a good all-rounder to really nail the event.
Riders then had a chance for a quick break as they passed through the event village, before heading on down to “cowbones’ for stage 4, and then a short wait until the final stage, ‘Sidewinder left’ opened up- it had been the first climb of the day, so it was pretty cool to then reverse this trail and race it!
In the elite men, Mitcham Cycles’ Nathan Moris proved his multiple Strava KOM’s weren’t just a fluke, narrowly beating Andrew Clarke by 6 seconds to win in a total of 13 minutes straight. In the Women LivGiant rider Jaclyn Schapel beat Torq rider Sarah Holmes’ hardtail by 19 seconds to finish in 14:40- an overall position of 22nd.
So, now attention moves to Eagle MTB park, which will host round 2 on June 2nd, which promises more technical and raw riding. Entries are already open and going fast, so get in early to avoid missing your spot. For more info go to http://gravityendurosa.com.au
1st: Nathan Morris – 13:00
2nd: Andrew Clarke – 13:06
3rd: Samuel Hardie – FSR Industries – 13:28
1st: Jaclyn Schapel – LivGiant Aus, 4Shaw agencies, Adidas eyewear – 14:40
2nd: Sarah Holmes – Torq Nutrition – 14:59
3rd: Anna Puckridge – 15:30
1st: Brad Parr -14:07
2nd: Kain Gardner – 14:13
3rd: Adam Wood – 14:18
1st: Darius Kubilius – 14:56
2nd: Reece Taylor – 15:05
3rd: Jeff Hughes – 15:20
1st: Nicole Chaffey – Upfront Bikes – 18:10
2nd: Sue Ann Woodwise – 18:49
3rd: Melanie Malig – 20:40
1st: Curtis Dowdell – 13:23
2nd: Michael Denton – 14:58
3rd: Cody Barker – 15:09
1st: Jasper Dowdell – 15:11
2nd: Ruben Spranz – B.-d Farm Paris Creek -15:29
3rd: Griff Knight – 29:09