Andrew Thompson came up with the idea for the Rocky Mountain Bike Clubs Gravel Rush.
Andrew Thompson came up with the idea for the Rocky Mountain Bike Clubs Gravel Rush.

‘Super-fun, super-fast race’ on First Turkey trails

MOUNTAIN BIKING: A race with a difference will be held on the First Turkey trails today.

The 2019 Gravel Rush Pursuit is being billed as a “super-fun, super-fast bike race with a difference”.

Rockhampton Mountain Bike Club president Dan Witten said the handicap event would pit mountain bikers against road or gravel bike riders interested in giving cross country a go.

It was the brainchild of club member Andrew Thompson, a keen mountain biker who also rides gravel and road bikes.

“The event will be run on a handicap system,” Witten said.

“People on fully rigid bikes, or gravel bikes, will head off first.

“Those people riding hard tails (mountain bikes that have front suspension but no rear suspension) will take off next.

“People on full suspension mountain bikes will be the third wave away.

“Different parts of the trails will suit the different bikes and whoever makes the most of the runs that best suit their bike and gets across the line first is the winner.”

Witten said the Gravel Rush Pursuit was a new addition to the club’s race calendar.

“We didn’t have it planned but when the idea came up we could all see a lot of benefit in it.

“I don’t know what to expect in terms of numbers; we might get 10 riders, we might get 50 riders.

“It’s an afternoon race and a lot of riders like that time.

“It’s a real unknown but it’s something that should be a lot of fun.”

Witten said riders would do two laps of a 5-6km course, and there would be open men, open women and junior categories.

Thompson, who will compete on a gravel bike today, believes the event has the potential to grow to a point where it is attracting up to 100 riders.

“There’s a lot of people who do ride road bikes who have thought about getting into mountain biking but it might seem a bit daunting,” he said.

“There’s also some people with mountain bikes who are a bit scared about their first race so we thought we’d come up with something a bit more low key that is on flatter trails that aren’t too technical.”

Thompson (pictured) joined the mountain bike club four years ago. He hits the trails two or three times a week and rides road as well so he’s “pretty much cycling every day of the week”.

He also runs the Tuesday night social rides, which are steadily growing in popularity.

Thompson loves the “freedom” of mountain biking.

“I like the idea of getting somewhere under your own speed and being out in nature,” he said.

“No matter how bad a day you’ve had at work once you hit the trails you can forget it all.

“I aim to do four or five races a year, both here and in Gladstone.

“My biggest personal success was completing the Mackay Mountain Marathon a few years ago.”

The race starts at 4pm.