Scene set for explosive racing in revamped 9-Hour G-Bomb
MORE than 250 mountain-bike riders will explode onto the Bom Bom State Forest on Saturday for the first G-Bomb 9Hr MTB event.
Race commissar Mark White said the Grafton Cycle Club had launched a bold experiment this year to change the event to a single nine-hour race.
"In the past we've had a six-hour and a 12-hour race to cater for different levels of riders, but this was getting away from the purpose of the race to encourage participation, so we've switched to the single nine-hour event," he said.
"A lot of the riders in the six hour race would finish, get their time and head home rather than take advantage of all the entertainment at the track," he said.
"It might cut our numbers a bit but we're still going to have between 200 and 250 riders."
White said he had entries from more than 150 riders including many from south-east Queensland.
"We've also got some entries from a couple of riders from Armidale who will keep the riders here honest," he said.
"There's still a couple of days of registration to go and traditionally we get a real last-minute rush," he said.
Despite the influx of top riders from outside the Valley, White said there were local cyclists who fancy their chances.
"Local riders like Jye Reardon and Paul O'Connor and one other, who have entered in the three-rider teams category will be a good show," White said.
"Jye won his grade in the Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic earlier this year."
White will also be taking a keen interest in a group of young local riders coming up from under-15s to race in the under-17s for the first time.
"Henry White, Bridie White, Joel Ford and Oliver Ramos have won their section at the G-Bomb for the past two years," White, who is the father of two of the team, said.
He said the quartet was in cracking form at a Grafton Cycle Club enduro event last weekend.
"Henry won the under-15s, Bridie the under-15 girls, Oliver was fourth in the under-17s and Joel was fifth in the under-17s," he said.
White was also expecting a big race in the 40 and Over category from race director Ken Shepherd.
"Shep's been putting plenty of training in for this race," he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if he had a big result."
White said the G-Bomb contestants could race individually or in teams in a variety of categories.
These started at under-17s through to under-19s, under-30, 30 to 40 and over-40 in mens and womens.
He said there were also teams categories for two, three and four-rider teams in men's, womens and mixed classes.
"There's lots of different ways for riders of all ages and abilities to get involved," he said. Organisers have also put on a day and night full of entertainment for the riders.
"We'll have a band playing on the back of a truck from 7pm, an hour before the race finishes," White said.
"There's going to be food and a coffee van out there all day."
He said there will be a children's race for under-15s earlier in the day before the G-Bomb's mass start at 11am.