Tip Riders – Meg Muller

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Local Mountain Bike Club ‘the Tip Riders’ will host this year’s Taree round of the ‘Taking on the Hog’ GNaTPACK Mountain Bike Series on Sunday 17 June. Chrissy Jones caught up with Publicity Officer Meg Muller to find out more … 

Firstly, what is GnaTPACK?

It’s a collaboration of Mountain Bike Clubs on the NSW Mid North Coast, who have formed a loose association to deliver the region-wide ‘GNaTPACK’ mountain bike series (an acronym from the town names, pronounced Natpack!)

Clubs from Grafton, Nambucca, Taree, Port Macquarie, Armidale, Coffs Harbour and Kempsey all host a round, with the club choosing the race format. You can do one race or the whole series – but once you start, you may find it hard to stop!

Building on previous years of the Mid North Coast Series, the GNaTPACK rounds have expanded from 5 to 7, now taking Nambucca and Taree into the fold.

Each participating club, Kempsey-Macleay Off-Road Cyclists, Coffs Harbour CC, New England Mountain Bike Riders, Hastings Valley Mountain Bike Riders, Taree Tip Riders, Nambucca Mountain Bikers and Grafton CC offers its own track for the series and is responsible for the organisation and running of its allocated round race. Each track on offer is different in layout, terrain and character from any other in the region, affording competing riders a fantastically varied riding experience as they travel from race to race.

Rider participation is around 100 per race, with riders competing in either open or age categories for women, men and juniors. It is especially gratifying to organisers to witness a particular increase in the number and competitiveness of junior and women riders. Participation has not been limited to members from the constituent clubs, and visitors from outside the region regularly compete.

When and where will the Taree leg of the series be staged? Tell us about the race and what riders can expect to be challenged with. 

The upcoming Kiwarrak (Taree) GNaTPACK series race is only weeks away, but we have plenty of reasons for you to get yourself to the race.

We’re announcing a major sponsorship for the race! It will now be known as the ‘Taking on the Hog’ GNaTPACK series race Taree, as Hog’s Breath Café has given us $400 in vouchers to be given away on the day. These can be used at any Hoggies restaurant, plus every entry gets a frequent diner card entitling them to 25% off their main meal each time they dine at Hog’s Breath.

On top of that, Mumford Disben is returning to the bush to entertain us, as they did last year! AND, on top of that, the gourmet BBQ is on again after the race, so you can have a feed after you’ve punished yourself and while you’re hanging around, for your chance to win one of those vouchers or other prizes on offer. Now, if that isn’t value for money and reason alone to get your entry in and come and race, I seriously don’t know what is.

Every competitor at the 2011 Kiwarrak GNaTPACK race said it was a fantastic day, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to experience what Taree has to offer.

There are small sections of the short loop, plus bits of the red loop in reverse but, after many, many requests, it will incorporate Moab! The purple loop is a good, technically based loop that will test skills as well as fitness. There are no big climbs, but there are a number of small pinches that will take it out of you.

The race loop is the purple loop just under     10 km. This has a bit of everything and will challenge your skills in fitness, as well as technical skills and is a fantastically rewarding track. It takes in some of our favourites, including Mayhem, Eureka, The Hut, The Widowmaker, Chads Root, Moab, High Noon and Divine.

It really is a track where you will be constantly thinking and working hard, but having a hoot too. It also incorporates the legendary Widow Maker, to keep you on your toes. The loop has been marked out for those who wish to get in and ride it before the race, or you can get to a Manning Great Lakes Tip Riders Club Race before the event for a good practice under race conditions.

Parking will be in the usual place on Lantana Crossing Rd, just past the tip entrance on the left hand side of the Buckets Way. The track distance is slightly shorter than last year (approx. 9 km), as the GPS wasn’t set correctly. But the track outline is correct.

If you live some distance away, then why not stay for the weekend and ride all the other single tracks we have available before and after the event! Look for places to stay at Old Bar, Harrington, Taree or Forster – there are plenty of nice places to stay, and why not bring the family with you?

We’ll have a few drinks and a BBQ afterwards, so bring a few dollars for a post-race get together and awards.

As always, thanks goes to Bourke’s Bicycles Taree, Barrier Signs, Hog’s Breath Café Forster, Manning Valley Free Range Eggs, Mackie Electrics, and Bruce Pain – RFS for their continued assistance in holding these races.

Who should riders look out for?

Just like in 2011, this year’s event will attract riders from Grafton in the north to Sydney and Canberra in the south. As always, the male riders are expected to grit their teeth and put on a show; however, female young talent Holly Harris from Armidale is a rider to look out for. Holly is currently the under 19s National MTB champion and often visits the area with her father Dave Harris, another keen MTB rider.

What’s the format for the race?

It is to be confirmed, depending on track conditions if it’s wet or dry. It will comprise Under 15s, 17s and women who will complete 2 laps; Open Women will complete 3 laps; Under 19, 19 to 29s; Veterans; Masters; and Super Masters will complete 3 laps; Open Men will complete 4 laps.

Where can readers go for more info?

It’s highly recommended you come and compete in the MGLTR Club Race the Sunday before the race and get yourself a good look at the track.

For more info, jump onto the MGLTR website:  www.mgltipriders.asn.au and go to the calendar, and you will find details on the race, including online entry details. Don’t miss out!

Thanks Meg.

This story was published in issue 64 of Manning-Great Lakes Focus

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