Rain cuts mountain biking challege short

2011-04-18 00:00

HEAVY rain at the weekend turned the staged behind the Cascades Shopping Centre into a “mudfest”, which resulted in yesterday’s racing event being cut short.

Overall 70 international athletes, including the top six male and top five female bikers in the world, participated in the mountain biking events over the weekend. Most of them are here for the Mountain Bike World Cup to be held at the weekend. The competition serves as a Olympic qualifier.

Race director Max Cluer said Saturday’s cross-country race went well. But the 38 mm of rain on the course on Saturday, as well as more rainfall yesterday, made the down hill mountain biking races treacherous.

Cluer said the incline along which the racers descended drops 489 metres over four kilometres.

And since the medical team could not get to the dirt course, the race was shortened.

“Usually the race begins at the top of Voigts Farm. But we ended up beginning at the top of Rutt Hill at the top of the N3, which shortened the race from four kilometres to about two kilometres,” Cluer told The Witness.

While this worked for the first round of qualifications, another bout of heavy rain resulted in the uplift vehicles — responsible for moving both bikes and riders to the start line — slipping and sliding, making it difficult to get to the top.

“Unfortunately the adverse conditions and unseasonal rain made it a mudfest out there. It became unsafe.

“We are lucky in that we had a good medical team and strong marshalling team. But the medical team in conjunction with the chief race judge decided to call the race off.”

Of the 124 participants who competed on the Down Hill race yesterday, 94 qualified for the final round.

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