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Nite Rider Dusk Till Dawn - NE

Kooralbyn, Queensland, Australia, January 23, 2006


Big night out at Nite Rider Dusk Till Dawn

By John Flynn in Kooralbyn

David Wood
Photo ©: John Flynn
(Click for larger image)

Nestled in the Border Ranges of South-East Queensland, Australia, the Kooralbyn Valley has developed a reputation as a must-ride destination for the sport of endurance cross-country mountain biking. Home to the Merida 24 Hour, Queensland's only one-day endurance mountain bike event and one of three major 24 hour races on the Australian calendar, Kooralbyn hosted its inaugural Nite Rider Dusk to Dawn 12 Hour at the weekend.

As all nighters go it was one to remember!

When dawn broke over the picturesque Kooralbyn Valley with two hours remaining in the Nite Rider Dusk Till Dawn 12 Hour, a light fog drifted across the mountain tops.

It was hard to believe only 12 hours earlier, I was at the Kenrick Tucker Velodrome in Rockhampton 1000 kilometres away in the tropics, covering the prestigious Cup on Wheels. And tired though I was, after a day and night on-the-run, scenes like this are worth the sleep deprivation.

In the distance, beyond the sweet single trails of Kooralbyn, Queensland's magnificent border ranges and the iconic Mount Barney disappeared behind a stream of cloud and filtered early morning light.

For the benefit of U.S. readers of Cyclingnews, the backdrop is not unlike The Cascades of Washington State during the summer. Spectacular country, of steep mountains and flowing streams and of course, sweet singles. The beauty of cross-country mountain biking is that it never ceases to take you to magic destinations and the hilltops around Kooralbyn are right up there!

About the race

Photo ©: John Flynn
(Click for larger image)

OK, enough of the scene setting. After two days of solid rainfall in South-East Queensland, the weather god finally decided to co-operate and the single trails of Kooralbyn dried out just enough to make the racing enjoyable for the field of 150 competitors.

Built by local race promoter Bill Van Haren, the race venue is surrounded by a network of more than 20 kilometres of single trail, which snakes its way around the Kooralbyn Valley resort in a system of climbs and descents and easily rideable switchbacks.

The task for riders in the Nite Rider Dusk Till Dawn was a simple one. Kicking off at 7pm on Saturday night, teams of one, two, three, four or six, riders would hit the trails of Kooralbyn, and whoever completed the most laps within the space of 12 hours was the winner.

On the track there were plenty of familiar faces, many of whom I had stunned during the night with a sudden flash burst in the middle of the forest, just enough to blind them with a drop off up ahead!

Funny things happen during the early hours of the morning in a mountain bike enduro and those who have been there will understand. Forget the usual problems associated with endurance mountain biking, like fatigue or hunger flatting, 'sleep deprivation' has its own set of symptoms and a lot can be revealed by how riders cope with a camera flash when their brain is telling them they should be at home in bed!

Kim Kelleher
Photo ©: John Flynn
(Click for larger image)

Come dawn, it's a different set of circumstances, morale rises rapidly, proportionate with the drop in lap times and the smell of burgers on the barbeque is like a light on the dock.

With the arrival of daylight I was able to make out many of the faces who'd hurled (mostly light hearted) abuse at my camera antics during the night and it was no surprise to find some familiar names among them.

Blitzing the race in the solo men's field, Crocodile Trophy protagonist David Wood had established a two lap gap on his nearest rivals Andrew Fellows and Ross Uhlmann.

Racing alone, the mainstay of the Trophy's Felt-Shimano Dream Team had earlier taken out the opening hot-lap of the event and with the ever present smile and laid back attitude, 'The Woods' appeared to be cruising. "The trails were sweet," Wood later told Cyclingnews. "Good race, fun race."

Wood wasn't the only rider to make a successful journey south from the mountain bike Mecca of Cairns.

Racing for the first time in the colours of the Flight Centre Scott team, fellow Crocodile Trophy battler Struan Lamont teamed up with his real-life partner Kim Kelleher, one of the top women on the Australian endurance mountain bike scene. The trip to Kooralbyn turned out to be worth the effort for the pair, with the Flight Centre Scott team winning the mixed teams event. "I'm glad it's over but the course was great, not too muddy," Lamont said at race end. "I was in trouble running out of lights, then I borrowed a set of Nite Rider Lights from the Nite Rider bloke, reckon I was lapping three minutes faster."

Who's thinking
Photo ©: John Flynn
(Click for larger image)

Overall victory on the day went to the Gold Coast based 'Last Minute Team' which completed twenty three laps of the Kooralbyn single track in the allotted 12 hours.

But the Gold Coasters were upstaged in the 'best team name' stakes by the second place getters in their category, the rather uniquely named 'MTB Dirt Diggler CROCS', who enjoyed a 'Boogie Night', so to speak, at the inaugural Nite Rider Dusk Till Dawn.

Merida 24 Hour scheduled for April at Kooralbyn

The 12 hour event provided an ideal test run for competitors wishing to raise the stakes at the upcoming Merida 24 hour, which will be staged at Kooralbyn in April. The event is expected to attract a field of close to five hundred riders and they can expect more of the same single track action.

"I think if anything the rain helped to bed in and compact the single track," Course Designer and Event Promoter Bill Van Haren told Cyclingnews. "The feedback from the riders was very positive and you can be sure the track will be even better for the Merida 24 hour in April."

Entries for the event are available at www.twowheelpromotions.com.au


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by John Flynn/Cyclingnews.com


Solo Men
1 David Wood                        21 laps
2 Andrew Fellows                    19
3 Ross Uhlmann                      18
4 Hamish Gray                       17
5 Hayden Lester                     16
6 Richard Lucas                     15
7 Bob Crawford                      13
8 John McBrearty                    10
9 Luke Goodfellow                    9
10 Dean Belinger                     7
11 Shannon Duggan                    7
12 Michael Walsh                     6
13 Rod Field                         6
14 Robert Hockings                   6
15 Dan Lewis                         6
16 Ian Harwood                       6
17 Paul Wesener                      4
18 Hunter Bernie                     4
19 Bruce McJannett                   4
20 Brendan Walker                    4
21 Morgan Piley                      3
22 John Creed                        3
23 Dillon Price                      3
2 Person Men 
1 Ashgrove Cycles Avengers          23 laps
 Andrew Mallet                        
 Jeremy Davis                         
2 MTB Dirt Cheap                    22
 Steve Gibbs                          
 Shaun O'Brien                        
3 Night Nuts                        18
 Ben Torens                           
 Paul Cordina                         
4 RAD Multisports Club              17
 Mark Meyers                          
 Paul Phillip                         
5 2 ALS                             16
 Alan Cambridge                       
 Alan Ferris                          
6 Lights Out                        13
 Patrick Crosby                       
 Damon Venter                         
7 Insanity Squared                  12
 Allan Uhlmann                        
 Craig Flintoff                       
2 Person Mixed
1 Flight Centre Scott               20 laps
 Kim Kelleher                         
 Struan Lamont                        
2 MTB Dirt Sleeping Upright         16 
 Leanne Ardern                        
 Steve Ardern                         
3 MTB Dirt Witch Pig                13 
 Paul Kelly                           
 Wendy Jones                          
4 MTB Dirt Night Watch               8 
 Emma Woodhall                        
 James Spargo                         
3 Person Men 
1 Anaconda                          21 laps
2 Cycle City Slickers               20 
 Kendrick Benson                      
 Henry Englebrecht                    
 Lee Stariha                          
3 Cyclescene                        15 
 Tim Binns                            
 Alan Jamieson                        
 Tyrone Gilbert                       
4 MTB Dirt-E Old Men                14 
 Nick Tate                            
 Daniel Kermode                       
 David Munson                         
5 Nite Rider                         2 
 Dallas Locke                         
 Trent Fitzghibbins                   
 Craig Eather                         
4 Person Men 
1 Team Last Minute                  23 laps
 Todd Webster                         
 Karl Butler                          
 Matthew Faehrmann                    
 Mark Sanzaro                         
2 MTB Dirt Diggler CROC's           21 
 Aaron Blackwell                      
 Sean Harrison                        
 Matthew Cherviakov                   
 James Clark                          
3 Karana Giants                     20 
 Jake Whitehead                       
 Rick Whitehead                       
 Adam Smith                           
 Stuart Drake                         
4 Mtb Dirt Team Ozzuma              20 
 Talon Bishop                         
 Shaun Fry                            
 Sean Dench                           
 Mick Patman                          
5 MTB Dirty Rotten Scoundrels       20 
 Adam Lynch                           
 Adrain Bartlett                      
 Hank Wheeler                         
 Tony Brodie                          
6 Little Red Engine                 19 
 Travis Hall                          
 Brett Ryan                           
 Scott Woodward                       
 Peter Flanders                       
7 MTB Dirt De Castella's            19 
 Stephen Bryant                       
 Nick Westwood                        
 Stephen Mitchell                     
 Derek Hallam                         
8 Rusty Hubs                        18 
 Stephen Cody                         
 Keiran S                             
 Francois Siebrits                    
 Matthew Moore                        
9 MTB Dirt Jillys Cafe Bootcamp     18 
 Jarrod Sanders                       
 Pierre Lee                           
 Paul Pyyvaara                        
 Aaron Haycock                        
10 Daggs Inc.                       17 
 Gus MacAnally                        
 Roy Whitney                          
 Sinclair Currie                      
 Boyd Backhouse                       
11 At Least We Are Here             15 
 Justin Dowey                         
 Ken Mullaly                          
 Toby Sorensen                        
 Tim Mullaly                          
12 Mayhem                           14 
 Ron Rogers                           
 Drew Edbrooke                        
 Ben Rogers                           
 Reg Byrne                            
13 Fresh Sports                     11 
 Shane De Vries                       
 Andrew Pridannikoff                  
 Ryan Campbell                        
14 Rawhides                         11 
 Darren Reichel                       
 David Loveridge                      
 Darrell Fogg                         
4 Person Mixed
1 Nerang Mountain Bike Centre       22 laps
 Darrell Edwick                       
 Steve Linnell                        
 Kylie Van Haren                      
 Mark Skroblin                        
2 Team Terror-Firma                 22 
 Rowan Sedgman                        
 Dave Gilbert                         
 Melinda Symon                        
 Jeff Brookes                         
3 Wilson's Five                     21 
 Dean Dyer                            
 Keith Bremner                        
 Kerry Whitney                        
 Paul Hill                            
4 3 Men And A Ho                    21 
 Nicci Ainsley                        
 Mark Prickett                        
 Bevan Hall                           
 Tristan Ansley                       
5 Cyco-Paths                        15 
 Scott May                            
 Ben Hard                             
 Debbie Hard                          
 Ben Lojkin                           
6 Person 
1 Team "B" (B Is For Beer)          20 laps
 Richard Burrell                      
 Jim Robinson                         
 Tracey Boadle                        
 Peter Freeman                        
 Waco Hamlin                          
2 Mountain Roosters                 20 
 Grattan Chambers                     
 Rob Lowe                             
 Tony Hebrard                         
 Gavin Irving                         
 Tim Marsh                            
 Carl Rayner                          
3 Super Cycles Massif               20 
 Jesse Sutton                         
 Adam Forbes                          
 Ian Forbes                           
 Jeremy Worrington                    
 Matthew Mickenbecker                 
 Aden Walker