20140609 Tathra MTB Enduro goes distance

77cd11dc4a_bMORE than 450 riders hit the Tathra tracks over the weekend for the fourth annual Tathra MTB Enduro.

Organisers were happy to report there were no major incidents or injuries during the two-day event.

“We were extremely fortunate,” event organiser Stacey George said.

“People had offs on their bike, but there was no ambulances, no anything.

“Just a couple of grazes and a bit of skin off noses,” she said.

The entries mark a large increase on the previous year, with the majority adding to the endurance events.

“They were an increase in the competitive side of it.

“It would be nice to say the numbers are up because word is getting out about the quality of our trails.

“We had a number of late registrations and a lot of them were from Canberra.

“To decide to come from Canberra at the last minute is a bit of a tick for us as organisers.”

The overall winner of the King Nelba 100km event was Andrew Blair.

193906fb18_bBlair, who finished the course in four hours and 29 minutes, is waiting to hear on his selection for Australia’s Commonwealth Games team.

Meanwhile, just seven minutes behind, and claiming first in the 35-49 years men?s bracket was James Downing.

George said the pair were locked in a head-to-head tussle for the overall win, but Downing had a flat with just 15km left to race.

Meanwhile the 50km had a near-photo-finish.

“The 50km finish with Ben Henderson and Shaun Lewis, it was a real sprint.

“That was a pretty spectacular finish.”

The two men completed the 50km course in two hours, 22 minutes, with the first woman, Brooke Rowlands, coming in just 14 minutes behind them.

“Those guys race on the national series, and to be only that far behind is exceptional,? George said.

George and the other event organisers were delighted the weather was clear on Sunday as a deluge fell on the Valley Monday.

“I looked out the window to the pouring rain and went “thank god our event was yesterday [Sunday]”.”

The outcome has been positive all around, with riders enjoying the track conditions and volunteers rewarded with kind words for their hard work.

“We had great feedback: you asked people when they left and everyone said the tracks were amazing, they were fun, fast and flowing,” George said.

“For the track builders to have people say that is a reward.

“We had some really nice comments on our Facebook page … it is people leaving Tathra with a great impression of the place, and people.”

Running a series of major events across the long weekend was a strong boost for the Bega Valley George said.

“[There was] the Surf Classic, the races, the Enduro and further up the coast, the rally in the Bay.

“You don’t need sunshine and the beach to get people in – and active – to the area.”

Organisers are now discussing the options for next year’s event and will survey entrants.

The decision will be made whether to run the event again on the June long weekend or earlier like previously.

George said the June long weekend provided a good boost for Tathra accommodation in a more typically ‘quiet’ time.

Meanwhile, the next thing on the calendar for Tathra riders will be the Winter Warmer series with events in July, August and September.