Race Report | Fox Rollercoaster Enduro – Hot racing, resort-style
The second round of the Fox Rollercoaster #Enduro Series took the Rocky Trail racers to the picturesque Del Rio Resort, deep in the Hawkesbury Valley near Sydney in Australia. Almost 150 racers defied the heat and competed on three different trails, each with its own very specific challenges and unique features.
Michael Vanos clocked in the overall fastest combined time in 8:26 min and took out the Elite Men’s category, which catapulted him into the series lead ahead of Jon Odams and Dave Bowden, his ex aequo podium getters from Round 1 in February. In the women’s division, Joanne Fox and Vanessa Thompson flipped their result from the first round and are now on equal points ahead of the next round at Thredbo in April.
The trails had been groomed by the Western Sydney MTB Club ahead of the event and together with the Rocky Trail crew they had put up three very different tracks, which show-cased the best trails that the Australian gravity enduro racing scene has to offer. The longest was a set of tight switch-backs with sandy corners and rocky descents as well as a striking rock-roller, which was followed by a demanding short pinch climb towards the finish. Next was a steep trail with big rock features. Completing the trifecta was a pretty valley trail with a challenging rock garden through a dark gully.
With the Fox Rollercoaster, Rocky Trail Entertainment are running one of the longest-standing gravity enduro series in Australia. Established in 2012 the races attract a wide variety of riders, says Event Director Juliane Wisata. “The skill set and sheer determination of our riders is what inspires me every time”, she said. The skills of women were impressive, Wisata added. With Joanne Fox and Vanessa Thompson a National and State Series racer are leading the series in the elite women’s, Christine Gomes and Maree Pollard lead the growing Expert and Veterans (30+) women’s divisions.
With Riley and Cooper Lowe two riders stood out on the weekend at Del Rio in the junior categories, continued Wisata. The two brothers are from Engadine and Riley had been racing with Rocky Trail since 2013 and last year 11-year old Cooper joined in. “These are certainly two boys that I’ll be watching in the years to come”, Juliane said of the U17 and U15 series leaders after round two. “They seem to be riding with ease and for the fun of it, yet they are so determined – for these young riders to complete all three trails with the likes of Jon Odams or Joanne Fox was impressive.”
The biggest categories were the Veterans age group of 30+ racers as well as the Expert/B-Grade men’s category – Shane Gillett from Lake Haven leads the series with two wins in the latter. A very strong Master field sees many former downhillers and cross-country racers return to the start lines. “This style of racing just emulates perfectly what mountain bikers like to ride – hang out with riding mates and pedal around, find a cool trail and chase each other, finding awesome lines and berms and roll-overs along the way”, explains Wisata and adds that the Australian elite is growing strongly as well. With Michael Vanos a traditional cross-country racer leads the series ahead of Jon Odams and Dave Bowden.
Coming up: Rocky Trail Gravity Racing Weekend inThredbo!
The Rocky Trail crew will host a downhill and gravity enduro racing weekend on 11+12 April in Thredbo Alpine Resort next. The action-packed events include a Fox Rollercoaster Enduro State Round, powered by BH Bikes on Saturday and a RedAss NSW/ACT Downhill State Round on Sunday. “Thredbo is the ideal playground for all mountain bike racers”, said Race Director, Martin Wisata. With discounted lift tickets for the Friday and arranged hotel deals in the resort, accompanying families will be looked after as well. The downhillers practice all Saturday and racing on Sunday will be on the challenging and steep Thredbo downhill track.
For the Fox Rollercoaster Enduro racers it’s all about exploring the popular Flow Trail at Thredbo – it’s riding with your mates and adding a bit of competition. The race track will require some fitness and technical bike skills for flowy descents and awesome berms and will give you a real sense of adventure – equally exciting for all types of mountain bikers including cross country riders, weekend trail riders, and downhillers alike.
Results and further information can be found at www.rockytrailentertainment.com
Words: Rocky Trail Entertainment Photos: OuterImage.com.au