The new Australian Gravity Enduro Series founded by Alpine Gravity and Rocky Trail Entertainment saw its second round get a bit “Euro”, with Alpine Gravity taking the Italian Super Enduro format for shorter multi-stage racing each morning of the two day event, and then change to the North American-style Gravity Enduro longer stage format for each afternoon. Dan MacMunn from Bendigo takes over the series lead, winning Round 2 in the Elite Men’s ahead of Canberra’s Ben Cory and Victorian Chris Panozzo. Vanessa Thompson from Yanderra (NSW) is the new Elite Women’s series leader after a victory in Bright ahead of Alyssa Lyons (VIC) and Rosemary Barnes (ACT).

The amazing trails of Bright situated amongst the huge mountains in Victoria’s High Country provided riders with many challenges, for what turned out to be a battle of man versus mother nature in a never before seen twenty stage gravity based event right here in Australia.


Multi-stage event format attracts high-profile racers

Nine competitive racing stages and eleven neutral stages between them was the format for this event, with the truly European style of riding to the top of the mountain each morning for the start of racing and a smaller climb after lunch each day for the longer individual afternoon stages. All up 32 kilometres of riding, seventeen different trails linked together by ten kilometres of bunting and the most varied terrain of any mountain bike race held in the region, setting the tone for a truly unique event.


Ben Watkins from Alpine Gravity had set out the two days of riding with as a very adventurous event, saying, “It takes place in three different valleys across the whole mountain, and as much varied terrain as possible.” This included the lush pine forest Bright is known for, but also rocky sections, black loamy dirt, fast flowy bright green sycamore forest, super steep technical trails, mine diggings, tree roots, natural Aussie bush, and loose shale sections. Oh, and after the rain, mud. LOTS OF MUD.

The start list was filled with many big names including ex-World Cup champion Ben Cory, European Trans Savoie 4th placed rider Dan MacMunn, ex-World Cup dominator Michael Ronning, Victorian series podium pounder Ben Randall, Chris Panozzo, Kaine Cannan, Jon Odams, Ryan Connell, Vanessa Thompson, Alyssa Lyons, and the who’s who of Australian gravity enduro racing.


Rough weather conditions challenge riders in Bright.

The Saturday started with rider briefing outlining the long battle that lay ahead in riding to the very top of Mystic Mountain, and then working your way down the mountain over the course of the multi stage event. After four short race stages riders were back in the pits at lunch time to re fuel, fix bikes, and then off again pedalling to face the longer stage five in the afternoon. After five very different stages including steep, narrow and technical terrain, mixed with high speed flowing trails and wide open forest, the day gave riders a dose of everything. Looking at the results it was interesting to see who was riding reserved but smooth, and who was laying it all on the line to sample the local Bright soil.Saturday night brought with it heavy rain, which continued right through until early Sunday morning.


Motivation came pretty quickly once riders had climbed to the peak and saw what was in store for stage 6, the first race stage on Sundaymorning. Using sections of both World Cup Downhill and Elevation trails, Ben from Alpine Gravity had created the steepest and most technical stage of the whole weekend. Throw into the mix a ton of rain and it was foot out flat out for most riders. Being a multi stage event, riding at 95% was the smarter choice for most, while many riders struggled with the wet conditions on such a steep start to the day. Some managed to stay upright in the slippery conditions to gain good time on their competitors, others laughed and slid their way down entertaining all the spectators lining the course. After a few shorter stages, the final stage 9 featured natural Aussie bush with rocky sections, mine shafts and diggings, and then crossing the fire break straight back into the pine forest and some more deep mud towards a well earned finish line.


Dan MacMunn increases Elite Men’s series lead

Plenty of stories and adventures we’re exchanged at the finish line and riders re-lived their race runs, crashes and triumphs, while others shed kilo’s of mud from their bikes before heading back to the pits. Winner of Elite Men round 1 Dan MacMunn went into round 2 Sunday with a healthy lead and managed to hold on to take the win from pinner Ben Cory in second, Chris Panozzo in third, Jon Odams in fourth and Ben Randal in fifth.  Elite Woman was taken out by Vanessa Thompson, followed in second by Alyssa Lyons, Rosemary Barnes in third,  and Katherin O’Shea in fourth. 

In the overall Australian Gravity Enduro Series standings and endorsed by Mountain Biking Australia (MTBA), Dan MacMunn (VIC) leads ahead of Ryan De La Rue (VIC) and Simon Buzacott (SA) in the Elite Men’s. Vanessa Thompson is the new series leader in the Elite Women ahead of Rosemary Barnes (ACT) and Katherine O’Shea (VIC).

Round 3 of the series will see riders head over to South Australia with Inside Line Mountain Bike Club holding the event at Fox Creek on24th and 25th  of May. Event information can be found at


Top VIC Round Results 29-30 March 2014:

Words & Pictures: PR Alpinegravity

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