Tight racing as Enduro shows off regrowth

Good height: Adam Bramwell gets plenty of air off one of the berms during the King Nelba 75km ride. Picture: Jacob McMaster.
Good height: Adam Bramwell gets plenty of air off one of the berms during the King Nelba 75km ride. Picture: Jacob McMaster.

Just months after the devastating Tathra bushfires, the Tathra Beach and Bike Enduro was an overwhelming success. 

More than 200 riders contest the Mitas 50km distance on Sunday morning and a further 60 entries in the 75km King Nelba circuit meant riders collectively covered about 15,000km on Sunday alone. 

“It was two days of sunshine and two-wheeled enthusiasm, could we have asked for more?” club officials posted on social media. 

Officials were stunned by the entries, that featured around 400 riders.

It’s a slight drop on previous events, but officials said it was a fantastic result given the hardship Tathra had faced with the tracks also suffering during the fires. 

About 60 riders braved a chilly four-degree start of the King Nelba 75km event on Sunday morning, but were greeted by a sea of green emerging from the ashes as new growth sprouts. 

Officials said the racing was spirited with a theme of “perennials vs the aspirants” emerging throughout Sunday in the feature distance rides. 

In the longest edition of the Enduro, it was former Olympian Andy Blair leading the charge, while Cristy Henderson headed up the ladies. 

Blair wrapped up the ride in three hours and 46 minutes, a full 10 minutes clear of his nearest rival, while Henderson finished the course in four hours and 11 minutes, crossing the finish line at the Tathra Beach Country Club around 1pm. 

Tathra MTB Club officials said the Mitas 50km distance was tightly contested with a youtfhul pack of front-runners chasing each other down. 

World Junior Championship aspirants Corey Smith and Zoe Cuthbert took the headline honours, edging out veterans Ben Henderson and Eliza Smyth. 

A single minute separated Smith and Henderson, with the race winner finishing in two hours and 18 minutes. 

Meanwhile, Cuthbert finished the distance in two hours and 41 minutes, almost three minutes clear of Smyth for the line honours. 

Officials warned that with much clearer sight-lines because of the fire, riders needed to focus on the trail so they wouldn’t be distracted and hit nearby trees. 

Organisers said they had also thrown in a few minor course alterations because “We like to keep it fresh for you,” they said during the ride briefings. 

In the shorter “Furious 25” distance, organisers said it was a case of "blink and you’ll miss them” with Ryan Smith and Danielle Pollock heading up the fields with some blinding race times. 

Both completed the ride in just over one hour with another sold pack of contenders hot on their heels. 

Officials thanked everyone who took part, but also praised the “hundreds of volunteers” who came together to both clean up the trails in time and coordinate the rides.