Round 2 of the Enduro and Downhill Races were run and won on the weekend 6th-7th May.
Enduro saw a challenging course to push rider outside their comfort zone.
Stage 1 began with riders pushing up to the very top of the world-cup downhill track to ride a trail outside of the Smithfield mtb park. This trail was used in the MTBA Australian Enduro Championships race a few years back as the final stage.
Stage 2 tipped the riders against the ever challenging section of the park; “Vines”. This trail would showcase the riders with downhill skills as there is not much pedalling needed down the rough, narrow rainforest descent until the blast out to the finish line.
Stage 3 was a familiar run with riders making their way up to “Happys”, a regular stage in the series. With 40 riders and the shorter winter days taking over – the light was running out and with rain looming the unthinkable happened mid way through as the heavens opened and the rain started. This made conditions tricky not only with the worsening trail conditions, but with the fast fading light under the thick rainforest canopy.
The rain came down overnight with Sunday’s Downhill welcoming riders to a wet and muddy venue in the morning.
Practice got under way on time with riders getting used to the slippery conditions with the course holding up to the recent deluge better than expected. Conditions improved during practice with the rain holding off and the track beginning to dry out. Riders were confident of getting some fast race runs in to compete against previous best times.
Alas, this is Tropical North Queensland, and the heavens once again opened and rain belted down during the final practice runs. With track conditions deteriorating rapidly, and the shuttle road becoming dangerously wet, the decision was made to cut practice and jump straight into racing before it was too late.
All riders managed to get 2 race runs in with the weather clearing somewhat, although the rain had taken it’s toll on the course by now. Riders came through 1 by 1 with little incident through the finish line, covered head to toe in bright red mud – like only the Smithfield Mountain Bike Park can churn up.
In the end, it was a fair race with not one rider experiencing an advantage over another as the course became a slippery, muddy toboggan ride down the hill. Regardless, spirits were high and by all accounts – the day was a success with the added challenge of the weather leaving smiles on the faces of everyone. Who doesn’t love mud runs!?