Elite Sprint Cup Championships: Stromlo August 2017

Rocky Trail Entertainment will be launching a brand-new event in August. With the Elite Sprint Cup, the event’s promoter is adding another mission to their cross-country portfolio by offering a very specific sprint-race format to a very targeted group of mountain bikers: the Elites.

“We want to find the fastest female and the fastest male rider in a tough, rough and hard battle”, says Race Director Martin Wisata. He explains that the Elite Sprint Cup was created to build up a stage for Australian Elite racers to promote themselves and to give their sponsors exposure to an excited mountain biking audience – the Rocky Trail racers.

“The races will be staged on a weekend in combination with existing Rocky Trail events, which gives the elite level riders maximum exposure to a cycling-loving crowd the day before the big Cup-race”, explains Wisata, his vision of a weekend. “You’ll have one day where amateur and junior racers can rub shoulders at the start line and out on track with some of the best riders in the country and then on the next day see those riders from the top end of the field smash it out among each other in a short-course sprint race, which will be very spectator-friendly”, he adds.

Rocky Trail said that they would like this to become a highly-respected platform where the best riders in Australia – and potentially international guest racers – can measure themselves against each other and talk it up in the cycling industry. Everyone can enter the Elite Sprint Cup and there will be two categories – male and female – racing for a prize money pool with an extra bonus paid out to the fastest U23 male and female rider.

To start off, the inaugural Elite Sprint Cup Championships will be held at Stromlo Forest Park on 27 August 2017, which is on the Sunday after the SHIMANO Mountain Bike Grand Prix Finale. For 2018 the plan is to develop the concept into a series across NSW and the ACT.

For more information, visit www.rockytrailentertainment.com/events/RTEelitesprintcup.html – online registration for participants starts at the end of July.

First Ride: Pivot’s New Mach 5.5

It’s a beauty!

Holy red beast bike! What is that? 

The latest bike from Pivot is called the Mach 5.5 Carbon. A robust looking 140/160mm trail bike, that rolls all the Pivot traits and design features we like into grippy and lightweight all-rounder.

Cast an eye over that rear end – pretty solid looking, huh? The linkage and one-piece rear end are so stout – don’t expect any waggle in this puppy’s tail. That said, the claimed frame weights are from 2.35kg, which is bloody light for a 140mm bike.

160mm up front, 140mm out back, and the most aggressively elegant Pivot we’ve seen yet.

We have fond memories of the Pivot Mach 5.7, we still remember it as one of the best trail bikes we’ve  ridden, and it looks like the 5.5 Carbon builds on the legacy of the Mach 5.7 nicely, bringing that classic trail bike formula into a modern format.

Pivot’s long-standing use of the dw-link has lead to some exceptional suspension refinement.
The new FOX 36 and 2.6″ Maxxis Minion.

Big rubber! 27.5+?

The waters are getting muddier. When does a tyre move from being just a ‘big’ 27.5” tyre and become a 27.5+ sized tyre? Does it even really matter? We know for sure that there are more 27.5 x 2.6” tyres options coming soon, so get used to seeing bigger treads on trail bikes.

Either way, the end result is traction with a capital ACTION – the 2.6” tyres and excellent suspension make for much malarky but without the vagueness of a 2.8” or 3.0” tyre.


Looks similar to the Switchblade.

It sure does, albeit a little less swoopy in its lines. But where the Switchblade is built to run either 27.5+ or 29er wheels, the 5.5 is 27.5 only. Complete bikes are all specced with the big 2.6” Maxxis we’ve got here, and 35mm rims. You could run smaller, lighter tyres of course, though the bottom bracket height will drop. The 5.5 also uses standard 148×12 rear axle spacing, rather than the 157mm Superboost spacing used on the Switchblade.

We reviewed the Switchblade recently. It shares very similar DNA with the 5.5.

In other regards, the 5.5 with a 160mm fork shares almost identical geometry to the Switchblade with a 150mm fork in a 27.5+ format. The only differences of real note being the slightly increased travel,10mm more reach and a slightly lower stack height on 5.5. Both share a 66.5 degree head angle.


What’s the ride like? 

Well, we’ve had a grand total of maybe two hours riding this bike at Stromlo, but so far it re-confirms for us the levels of grip, efficiency and superb build quality we’ve come to expect from Pivots. The ride does, admittedly, feel a lot like a Switchblade in 27.5+ format, but there’s an extra degree of precision that we assume stems from the slightly smaller tyre size. Pivots have been getting longer in recent times, and there’s definitely more room up front to work with in this new bike than previous Pivots. Still, we’d be tempted to try upsizing and running a shorter stem if you’re an aggressive rider.

The suspension is magnificent. The stability and efficiency of the dw-link is tops, and the new air spring in the 2017 FOX 36 is a noticeable improvement too, more supple than ever before.

It’s going to tick a lot of boxes for the 27.5″ wheel fans, with the market expanding on 29ers, the 5.5 will have a place. On the trail the bike feels nimble, precise and confident, especially on jumps with tight landings and super-techy corners that would have a 29er struggling.

The 160mm travel fork is very tall when combined with the high stem mounted above a conical headset spacer, so when the climbs got steep the front wheel would lift and wander about. We’d love to experiment lowering the stem for a better climbing position, and given how confident we felt punching the descents we expect a lower bar height wouldn’t detract from the bike’s descending ability too much at all.

Note all the neat frame protection on the down tube and swingarm. It’s all soft durometer rubber too, so it dampens a lot of noise as well.

What about other details? And is that a front derailleur mount? 

Every one of the five frame sizes will fit a full-sized water bottle, even the XS. Like other recent Pivots, the bike gets neat cable ports and is fully ready for Di2 shifting with a battery port and wire guides.

Shimano Di2 battery port, but perhaps the space for a battery will serve for more than just Shimano?

There’s some neat attention to detail, especially in terms of frame protection, and also we notice a few entry and exit ports for more electronics, we can only speculate about why there is a place for something by the rear disc rotor and in front of the rear shock. Perhaps sensors, accelerometers, and suspension adjusters…?

And yes, Pivot are still wedded to front derailleurs. Ok, we get it, some people still want them, but surely it’s a small contingent asking for a front mech on a bike at this level?


Pricing? 

This is a top end piece of kit, so take a deep breath. A frameset will leave your wallet $4799 lighter, and complete builds start from $7599 for an XT build kit up to a whopping $14,999 for the team build kit with XTR Di2 2×11. The XT/XTR 1×11 build kit option we’ve ridden here is $8999.

What next? 

We had to leave this bike in Canberra for dealers to have a look at, but we’ll be reviewing it properly in the coming weeks. In the meantime, read our full review of the Pivot Switchblade here, and the Firebird here.

Bulk Air Time: Vapour Trail, Stromlo’s New Jump Track

We headed to Canberra to meet up with some of the country’s best riders – Thomas Crimmins, Timmy Eaton and Ryan Walsch – for a day of bulk air time.


Watch the full video of Canberra pinners Thomas Crimmins, Tim Eaton and Ryan Walsch ripping it up on Vapour Trail below.


Stromlo Vapour Trail-05048
Ryan ‘Raymond’ Walsch flows into the lower sections of Vapour Trail.

The inspiration for this beast stems directly from the international reputation of some of the best-known trails on the planet, trails like Whistler’s A-Line and Dirt Merchant.

Vapour Trail is a big jump ahead for Stromlo, quite literally, with some pretty serious air time on offer if you’re hitting the big lines. The inspiration for this beast stems directly from the international reputation of some of the best-known trails on the planet, trails like Whistler’s A-Line and Dirt Merchant. After all, why should the Canadians get all the fun?

Stromlo Vapour Trail-9828
Jump trains with mates. Nothing better.

It’s a bit of an all-you-can-eat banquet of jumps

Darren Stewart of Makin Trax (who carry out all the maintenance and construction at Stromlo) has been a long-time believer in the importance of a trail like this to ensure Stromlo stays ahead of the curve and helps progress mountain biking in Canberra. “I’ve been personally agitating for this trail for many years. We made a start on the Vapour trail a couple of years ago with the help of Jared Rando, and recently the ACT Government funded the development of the newest sections you see here.”

Stromlo Vapour Trail-9866
Crimmins over the shark fin.

“It’s a bit of an all-you-can-eat banquet of jumps, this one,” says Darren. There are around 40 jumps on the trail, and while it’s classified as a black diamond trail, all of the jumps can be rolled, and there are loads of options for A and B-Lines too. It all makes Vapour Trail pretty ideal as a training ground to progress your riding, letting you gradually build into the bigger jumps, rather than committing you to launching straight away.

Stromlo Vapour Trail-05059
The lower jumps get some good size to them if you’re hitting the big lips – Eaton casual as you like over an 8 metre gap.

Getting the timing and speed right on a trail like this is a real art form – you want it to naturally flow, so each jump builds into the next, without a need to pedal too hard or hit the anchors. The construction team, led by Mike Long, also included Ben Cory. Additional feedback from riders like Timmy Eaton, Thomas Crimmins and Damian Breach all added to the huge pool of experience required to nail this trail perfectly.

Stromlo Vapour Trail-9933
Thomas Crimmins lofts its into a perfectly built series of booters.

From our perspective, we find it incredibly exciting that government is getting behind trail project like this. It definitely represents a new era for the sport in Australia when the highest levels are recognising that full-blown jump trails like this (or notably too, the new Hero Trail in Bright) can become real drawcards to bring travelling mountain bikers into a region. According to Darren Stewart, more trail like this are in the wings: “plans are already in place for some blue level jump trails too, that will complement what we’ve now got with Vapour Trail.” Looks like we’ll be making many trips to Canberra in the coming years then!

Stromlo Vapour Trail-04853
Up with the sun for a pretty unique shuttle to the top of Stromlo.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-04860
The ultimate uplift? After all, it’s all about getting bulk air time, right?
Stromlo Vapour Trail-04885
Vapour Trail follows the first 100m or so of the downhill track, before peeling off to the right.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-04957
Unmistakably Canberra.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-04919
Hooking in on the upper turns.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-05009
Raymond rhythms through the step-on-step-off.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-05030
Getting this step-on-step-off right requires commitment, but the spacing is perfect if you’ve got the skills to carry good speed into this section.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-05095
Crimmins sends his Trance into orbit.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-05036
Incoming.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-05109
Big wheels, big jumps, big tweak.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-9813
Rallying into classic Canberra fast, dry turns.

Stromlo Vapour Trail-9878
Stromlo Vapour Trail-9944

Bulk Air Time: Vapour Trail, Stromlo's New Jump Track

Think you know what Stromlo Forest Park is all about? Think again. This legendary destination, best known for its magnificent cross country trails, just had a change of pace with the opening of the new Vapour Trail, an incredible two-kilometre long jump track built to celebrate the venue’s tenth anniversary.

We headed to Canberra to meet up with some of the country’s best riders – Thomas Crimmins, Timmy Eaton and Ryan Walsch – for a day of bulk air time.


Watch the full video of Canberra pinners Thomas Crimmins, Tim Eaton and Ryan Walsch ripping it up on Vapour Trail below.


Stromlo Vapour Trail-05048
Ryan ‘Raymond’ Walsch flows into the lower sections of Vapour Trail.

The inspiration for this beast stems directly from the international reputation of some of the best-known trails on the planet, trails like Whistler’s A-Line and Dirt Merchant.

Vapour Trail is a big jump ahead for Stromlo, quite literally, with some pretty serious air time on offer if you’re hitting the big lines. The inspiration for this beast stems directly from the international reputation of some of the best-known trails on the planet, trails like Whistler’s A-Line and Dirt Merchant. After all, why should the Canadians get all the fun?

Stromlo Vapour Trail-9828
Jump trains with mates. Nothing better.

It’s a bit of an all-you-can-eat banquet of jumps

Darren Stewart of Makin Trax (who carry out all the maintenance and construction at Stromlo) has been a long-time believer in the importance of a trail like this to ensure Stromlo stays ahead of the curve and helps progress mountain biking in Canberra. “I’ve been personally agitating for this trail for many years. We made a start on the Vapour trail a couple of years ago with the help of Jared Rando, and recently the ACT Government funded the development of the newest sections you see here.”

Stromlo Vapour Trail-9866
Crimmins over the shark fin.

“It’s a bit of an all-you-can-eat banquet of jumps, this one,” says Darren. There are around 40 jumps on the trail, and while it’s classified as a black diamond trail, all of the jumps can be rolled, and there are loads of options for A and B-Lines too. It all makes Vapour Trail pretty ideal as a training ground to progress your riding, letting you gradually build into the bigger jumps, rather than committing you to launching straight away.

Stromlo Vapour Trail-05059
The lower jumps get some good size to them if you’re hitting the big lips – Eaton casual as you like over an 8 metre gap.

Getting the timing and speed right on a trail like this is a real art form – you want it to naturally flow, so each jump builds into the next, without a need to pedal too hard or hit the anchors. The construction team, led by Mike Long, also included Ben Cory. Additional feedback from riders like Timmy Eaton, Thomas Crimmins and Damian Breach all added to the huge pool of experience required to nail this trail perfectly.

Stromlo Vapour Trail-9933
Thomas Crimmins lofts its into a perfectly built series of booters.

From our perspective, we find it incredibly exciting that government is getting behind trail project like this. It definitely represents a new era for the sport in Australia when the highest levels are recognising that full-blown jump trails like this (or notably too, the new Hero Trail in Bright) can become real drawcards to bring travelling mountain bikers into a region. According to Darren Stewart, more trail like this are in the wings: “plans are already in place for some blue level jump trails too, that will complement what we’ve now got with Vapour Trail.” Looks like we’ll be making many trips to Canberra in the coming years then!

Stromlo Vapour Trail-04853
Up with the sun for a pretty unique shuttle to the top of Stromlo.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-04860
The ultimate uplift? After all, it’s all about getting bulk air time, right?
Stromlo Vapour Trail-04885
Vapour Trail follows the first 100m or so of the downhill track, before peeling off to the right.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-04957
Unmistakably Canberra.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-04919
Hooking in on the upper turns.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-05009
Raymond rhythms through the step-on-step-off.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-05030
Getting this step-on-step-off right requires commitment, but the spacing is perfect if you’ve got the skills to carry good speed into this section.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-05095
Crimmins sends his Trance into orbit.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-05036
Incoming.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-05109
Big wheels, big jumps, big tweak.
Stromlo Vapour Trail-9813
Rallying into classic Canberra fast, dry turns.

Stromlo Vapour Trail-9878
Stromlo Vapour Trail-9944

Dan McConnell and Jenni King Take Out Stromlo National Series XCO

Dan McConnell had to push his bike over the line to win Round 2 of the 2015/16 National Mountain Bike Series after dropping his chain 400 metres out from the finish at Mt Stromlo, in the Elite Men’s XCO in Canberra Saturday.

It could’ve been a major upset for the defending series champion as second placed Kyle Ward tore home to be 14 seconds behind.

“That’s the closest that anyone’s been to me in last couple of years,” McConnell admitted.

On his home track and with an enviable record at the former world cup venue, the notoriously slow starter shot off the line and was never challenged over the 7 laps. It was nearly the perfect race plan, minus the mechanical issues with his chain.

“Dropped the first time with two to go and I didn’t sort of panic too much but when it came to the last time, it was mostly downhill so I had to just try and keep it low and speed up to the finish.”

In the Elite Women, even with Australia’s two top riders in the cross country field lining up, Jenni King would remain unbeaten with a dominant victory on Saturday.

Jenni King on the Stromlo Hammerhead.
Jenni King on the Stromlo Hammerhead.

After opening up her campaign with a flawless display in Mt Taylor a fortnight ago, King left the 2014 National Champion Peta Mullens and defending National Champ Bec Henderson in her wake – to finish the six lap event in 1hr 33minutes 32.66seconds, on what was a hot and dusty day of racing at the Canberra course.

“I always like coming back here because of the technical aspect and it’s a world cup course and I’m very pleased to have won,” King said.

Mullens along with Henderson were making their return to the Series in the UCI Category 1 race, after an extended layoff. Henderson took away some positives, as she continues to build up her race fitness. “Early in the race I didn’t feel too bad and normally when I want put a bit of pressure on the other girls and I wasn’t able to do that today,” Henderson said.

 

The series now heads to Pemberton, Western Australia for Round 3 and 4 on the 23-24th January 2016.

For all results head to: Online Results

Must-Ride: Stromlo’s Sweetest Six

There’s over 50km of trails for you to pick from; with a huge amount of quality singletrack on offer, it’s sometimes hard to decide which trails to hit up. So please, allow us to make some recommendations! Join us for a look at Stromlo’s Sweetest Six.


For location information, trail maps, events and more, take a look at the freshly re-vamped Stromlo Forest Park site. Click here.


1. Western Wedgetail into Skyline

Welcome to the peak of Stromlo! Now the question is, which trails do you take back down? For a lot of riders, there’s one standout route from the top of the mountain; Western Wedgetail into Skyline. These two trails are both rated as green descents, but they definitely aren’t dull! Linking these two trails together in one run is some of the fastest, flowiest riding you can do at Stromlo.

Stromlo's Sweetest Six 22
The iconic descent of Western Wedgetail has some of the best views of Canberra going.
Let 'er rip!
Let ‘er rip!

2. Luge

So you’ve just ridden Western Wedgetail and Skyline. What’s next? Luge! As the name implies, Luge is a snaking stack of perfect berms, with barely a moment in between them to compose yourself of wipe the grin off your face. This trail is often picked as a favourite and it’s easy to see why. If you love ripping round a berm, you’ll love Luge.

Stromlo's Sweetest Six 36
A stack of berms on Luge.
Stromlo's Sweetest Six 37
Did we mention the perfect, bermed corners?

3. Pork Barrel and Double Dissolution

The slightly more technical route down from the saddle below Western Wedgetail is the linkup of Pork Barrel and Double Dissolution. These two blue-rated trails have all kinds of features, especially Pork Barrel, which combines berms, rocky sections, drop-offs and a few sneaky gap lines. Double Dissolution is a little flatter, but fast as hell, with a load of fun tabletops and an easy climb back out if you’re keen to hit it again.

Stromlo's Sweetest Six 7
Choices, choices, choices!
Stromlo's Sweetest Six 1
The fast, playful Double Dissolution.

4. Blood Rock and Black Snake Gully.

The western slopes of Mt Stromlo don’t get as much attention as the eastern side, but if you take the trouble to explore you’ll find two of the most rewarding trails in the whole park. Blood Rock and Black Snake Gully are two super technical, challenging trails, which climb, traverse and descend across the rocky western side of the mountain. They’re both rated a black diamond trails, not because of any major risk or features, but simply because the tight, rocky and pinchy climbs require good technique and bit of grunt. These two aren’t for everyone, but they are supremely rewarding to get right, and the recent extension to Black Snake Gully is some of the best technical descending in park too.

Stromlo's Sweetest Six 41
The technical, rocky climbs of Blood Rock might take a couple of cracks to get right, but cleaning them feels awesome.

5. Vapour

Vapour is another trail that too many people overlook. Tucked sneakily in alongside the downhill race track, it’s a short, fun run, full of jumps with multiple lip options, big berms and step-downs. Plans are afoot to extend this trail all the way down the mountain too, and if that happens, it’ll be the real jewel of Stromlo. Watch this space!

Stromlo's Sweetest Six 15
Vapour has the biggest, best jumps on Stromlo aside from the downhill track.
Stromlo's Sweetest Six 11
Dropping into a sweet Vapour fadeaway.
Stromlo's Sweetest Six 14
A neat side option of Vapour is the G20 Drop, which shoots you straight over to the start of Luge too.

6. Trunk Trail

A truly enjoyable climb is a rarity, but the Trunk Trail at Stromlo is definitely one of these gems, whisking you to the top of the mountain and it’s many, many awesome descents. With a perfect gradient, swooping switchbacks, heaps of line/difficulty options and great views, we had to include this one in the Stromlo’s Sweetest Six.

Stromlo's Sweetest Six 44
Trunk Trail is the kind of climb every ride should start with. Mellow enough to have a chat, with enough technical challenge to keep your mind occupied too.
The climb is broken up with short descents and some great corners.
The climb is broken up with short descents and some great corners.

 

Henderson & McConnell Monopolise Mountain Bike Action on Stromlo Trails

Canberra mountain bike power-duo Rebecca Henderson (ACT) and Daniel McConnell (ACT) have monopolised the tough Stromlo course in Canberra at Cross Country Round 4 of the Subaru National Mountain Bike Series presented by Mountain Bike Australia. 

On Saturday, the Elite Women raced the Cross Country, with dual Olympian and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Henderson turning on the power from the very beginning.

Bec Henderson - Credit Jaime Black
Bec Henderson

After just one lap, Henderson had put a 32 second gap between herself and the rest of the field, which was led by Peta Mullens (VIC). This lead more than doubled to 1 minute 10 seconds after lap two, and by lap three, her lead had virtually guaranteed her the win, Henderson regaining the Series Leader jersey in the process. “I couldn’t have asked for a better result or a better ride for me,” Henderson said. “It’s a really challenging and technical course, which works in my favour and obviously I’ve got a bit of extra time to practice on it being a home course. “I’m really trying to peak for the Oceania Championships, that’s pretty important to me, and then the National Champs.”

Peta Mullens
Peta Mullens

Jenni King (VIC) rode consistently to maintain a third place position for the entirety of the race, while Jodie Willett (QLD) and Em Parkes (ACT) battled it out in the final few laps, with Willett finishing the victor in the battle for fourth.

In the U19’s, Sarah Tucknott (WA) secured victory in the heat ahead of Ebony Tanzen (VIC).

Once again, of notable mention is local 13 year-old rider Zoe Cuthbert (ACT), who rode to another Under 15 Women’s gold medal, finishing her second and final lap ranked 7th outright across all women’s fields.

The Elite Men did battle at midday, riding the same number of laps as the Elite Women due to the ever increasing heat, with McConnell gunning it from the start to complete the first lap in just 12 minutes 19 seconds. Riding in front of current Series Leader Scott Bowden (TAS), McConnell created a gap early that would never be breached, riding to yet another win as the other riders battled for their spot on the podium. “It was the first hot day we’ve had for a few weeks so it was a bit of a shock to the system,” said McConnell.   “I really wanted to set my own pace and go out really hard, then sort of hold onto it and then get into some good lap times in the back half of the race. “I had a fairly aggressive set up,” he added. “I was running the 36 tooth chain ring on the front, which is pretty hard on the climb so it was really important to me to dictate the pace and not be in a bunch, which is harder, but it all panned out really well.”

Scott Bowden
Scott Bowden
Cam Ivory
Cam Ivory

At the half-way mark, Bowden and Brendan Johnston (ACT) were neck and neck, and they would stay this close until the final corner of the race. A tough sprint that would last the length of the finish straight saw Johnston secure the silver in front of Bowden who retains the Subaru Series Leader jersey. Fourth place went to 2014 Subaru National Series winner Cameron Ivory (NSW) with perennially fast Andy Blair (ACT) recording fifth.

Series Leader Liam Jeffries (VIC) took out gold to record his third Subaru National Series round win a row in the Under 19s, followed by Luke Brame (NSW) and Alex Lack (TAS).

Short Course Cross Country – Friday 

Kicking off the weekend with Short Course Cross Country races on Friday night, McConnell was the hot favourite in the Elite Men’s competition and he did not disappoint the crowd. McConnell rode hard from the start, working with Brendan Johnston (ACT) and building a lead from the rest of the pack. This lead would see the two riding together for the thirty minutes of standard race time but on the final lap McConnell put the hammer down, riding away to a convincing win.

In an intense and exciting battle for third place, Tristan Ward (NSW) proved to be the best of the chasing group, sprinting for the bronze medal after a technicality meant that third place was awarded before the overall race had even been won.

In the Elite Women’s race, Naomi Williams (VIC) and Rebecca Locke (VIC) pushed hard through the heat for the duration of the race.

While Williams sat in the lead for each lap, Locke sprinted on the final Subaru arch corner to take the win in front of a cheering crowd.

The 2014/15 Subaru National Series comes to an end in three weeks, with the final round held in Toowoomba, QLD from 27 February – 1 March, in conjunction with the Oceania Championships, which will run 25 – 27 February 2015.

For all Series information, please visit:

For full race results, please visit:

MTBA Announces Inaugural Enduro National Series

Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) is thrilled to announce the inaugural Enduro National Series in 2015.

The Gravity Enduro discipline has seen significant growth in recent years, combining the thrills and excitement of downhill with the fitness elements of cross country racing. The series is comprised of a mix of landmark events in some of Australia’s best mountain bike destinations.

Beginning in early February, the first two rounds visit the hotly-contested RockShox Enduro Challenge events in Mt Buller and Toowoomba.

Round three sees riders head to South Australia, racing with the active Inside Line Mountain Bike Club.

In round four, the action will take place in the West Australian Gravity Enduro event on the challenging trails of the popular Goat Farm mountain bike park in Perth.

The series concludes in the ACT with Canberra Off-Road Cyclists Club at Stromlo Forest Park, the home of the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships. 

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“The Enduro format has really taken off in recent years and I am proud that MTBA is now able to present a truly national series of established events for all riders,” said MTBA President Russell Baker. “In addition to being a great fun part of mountain biking, having our own Australian series will provide more opportunities for our riders to experience this level of competition at home and lead to the development of more world-class Australians.”

Australia boasts the reigning Enduro World Champion and World Series Champion, Jared Graves of Toowoomba in Queensland.

Graves, known as the “swiss army knife of mountain biking” due to his cross-discipline success, rode a truly amazing season on the way to the title. Racing in the opening round, the RockShox Enduro Challenge on Jan 31-Feb 1, will see reigning Champion Jared Graves race 2013 Champion Jerome Clementz (FRA), with downhill legends Troy Brosnan (SA) and Sam Hill (WA) adding even more superstar power to an amazing weekend.

Riders competing in the series will race for over $9000 in prize money, as well as the coveted title of National Series Champion and the Green and Gold jersey.

“We’ve had significant demand for the creation of National level events in this domain, and I’m pleased that MTBA has been able to respond to this demand,” said MTBA CEO Shane Coppin. “The Series is comprised of some of the discipline’s most iconic destinations and events and riders and fans alike can look forward to fantastic Enduro action”.

The inaugural Enduro National Championships will be held in Cairns, QLD based out of iconic Palm Cove in October as a standalone event separate to the series.

More information about the Series will be be available on the Enduro Nation Series website to be launched in mid-January.

Round 1 : Rockshox Enduro Challenge – January 31 & February 1 – Mt Buller, VIC

Round 2 : Rockshox Enduro Challenge – March 7 & 8 – Toowoomba, QLD

Round 3 : SA Inside Line Enduro – May 23 & 24 – Fox Creek, SA  (online information coming soon)

Round 4 : WA Gravity Enduro – June 13 & 14 – Goat Farm MTB Park – Perth, WA (new website coming soon)

Round 5 : CORC Enduro – July 25 & 26 – Stromlo Forest Park (online information coming soon)

 

Video: The Cell Stromlo on home turf

We like Australian brands, especially when they’re proud of their heritage. Cell Bikes mightn’t be the first brand you think of when it comes to Australian mountain bikes, but they design and test all their bikes locally. Their new entry-level hardtail is named after a place that still rates as one of our favourite destinations; Stromlo.

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Cell’s new designer, Dave Musgrove, comes to the party with some serious riding and product development credentials and here he puts his latest creation to work on the singletrack of its namesake, shredding around Mt Stromlo on the $749 Stromlo 2.0.Stromlo_0226cropped_LR_RGB

We’re looking forward to seeing more from Cell, with Dave Musgrove at the wheel we know they’re serious about repositioning themselves with some real offerings for the mountain bike market. Keep an eye out for some high-end hardtails, and cross country and all-mountain duallies in early 2014. www.cellbikes.com.au/Bikes/Mountain-Bikes

Permanent Closure of Asbestos Contaminated Trail at Stromlo

Investigations and rehabilitation activities regarding the discovery of asbestos containing material (ACM) found on two sections of the main trunk mountain bike trail at Stromlo Forest Park are continuing.

Testing was conducted earlier this month and the results of these tests confirm the presence of bonded asbestos in the soil. All visual fragments have been removed by a licensed asbestos removalist.

The section of the trail where the asbestos was found is on land owned by the Australian National University (ANU), which is used by Stromlo Forest Park in accordance with a memorandum of understanding. Rehabilitation activities in this area will continue to be managed by ANU.

The first stage of this process is the permanent closure of the section of the trail between ‘Red Rock’ and ‘Tall Trees’. The area will be fenced off and revegetation activities will commence.

No hazardous material was found on the trail running from Tall Trees to the water tanks and this section of track will reopen immediately.

Work will also begin immediately to build a temporary trail running parallel to the Mt Stromlo road so riders can access the summit and Scope Cafe.

Mapping will be undertaken to permanently re-route the tracks around the affected area so that riders can enjoy full access to all of Stromlo Forest Park (over 60 kilometres of trails) in a safe environment.

Stromlo Forest Park management will consult with the Canberra Off-Road Cyclists (CORC) to ensure the new tracks meet the needs of the riders and are interesting and fun to use.

Once the new routes have been agreed upon, testing for ACM will be undertaken prior to construction to ensure the health and safety of all users. As the new sections of track are completed they will be opened to riders and it is anticipated that all the new tracks will be fully operational by mid to late July.

Signage warning trail users that the track is closed will remain in place until the new trails are completed. Members of the public are urged to respect the barricades and not attempt entry into the closed sections of the trail.

Stromlo Forest Park will continue to provide updates via its social media sites on twitter @stromloforest and on facebook www.facebook.com/stromloforestpark