Us westerners have been teased by stories of Gravity Enduro events in the East for a while now, so finally on the 23rd of March it was time at last for our first Gravity Enduro event, run by Steve Jainec and Phil Wilson of WA Gravity Enduro. After a few years helping out as trail builders and committee members for the state body WAMBA, these guys decided to branch out and focus on the area they were most passionate about: gravity enduro. Held at the Goatfarm MTB Park, and consisted of four timed stages each with a very distinct character that took in the wide variety of trails at the Goatfarm. While the race was made possible by the support of CRC, it was good to see a number of local bike shops including Kalamunda Cycles, Wembley Cycles and Jet Cycles in attendance showcasing their wares and having a crack at racing.
Stage One got everyone into the swing of things, with a huck to flat straight off the start line (or huck to splat for a few unlucky punters), before a flowy berm section that gave way to a cruisy singletrack descent. This lulled everyone into a false sense of security as the bottom of the course spat riders at mach one speed into a rock littered fireroad. Rim’s sang under the pressure, it was an ideal way to finish off the first stage.
Ryan Litterick Luke Ball
A cruise/push back to the top of the hill saw everyone lined up to tackle the second stage. This was much shorter than the first, and really favoured the DH crowd. After a few high speed berms the track dropped quickly down the hill, through a few drifty turns in the grass then headed further down to the heckler lined ‘A-Klein‘ rock garden to the finish. Classic Goatfarm riding; fast, loose and rocky.
Stage Three. This was by far the longest stage, and reminded the unfit that gravity enduro includes climbs as well as descents! After meandering down a flow trail from the top of the hill, riders were faced with several brutal pinch climbs. This was definitely a stage that favoured those with strong legs!
I can only describe Stage 4 as straight up awesome! It featured a wide taped completely natural section up top, with massive holes and some loose off camber corners. This then gave way to a more traditional section of single track with a few tight corners and some flat pedaling, before the run finished by turning in to the ‘skills track’, a 4X styled track full of jumps and berms.
At the end of the day there were a few teething issues with the timing system, which meant no results for presentations. No one seemed to be too fussed with this though. I think at the end of the day everyone was pretty stoked on a good day out on the bike. When the results did come out it was Todd Masden who took the win, carrying over the form that saw him doing so well in the east (nationals) on the DH rig, ahead of Ryan Norton in 2nd and local legend Tim Bennett in 3rd.
It was fantastic to see a number of ladies giving it a crack on the hill, with Katja Aslop laying down the fastest time of the day. In the juniors Sam Rubery showed that he is not simply a super fast XC racer by smoking the field. His bike handling skills definitely came as a surprise to many DH racers in attendance, keep an eye out for Sam in the future, he shreds!
A big thumbs up goes to Phil, Steve and their volunteers for their efforts. After a few teething issues with timing and several people missing the bunting and getting lost they are working hard to make sure the upcoming Round 2 at Pemberton runs smoothly. Pemberton MTB Park features several super fast flowing descents with the most amazing hero dirt known to man, so make sure you plan a road trip down for Round 2!
Writer : Rex Dubois Photographs : Sean Lee