What started out as a small event aiming to bring a bunch of riders together and show them have a good time, is now becoming a highly regarded race for all levels of rider that’s further establishing Forrest as one of Australia’s top mountain bike destinations. Race organisers Norm and Jess Douglas are now in their third year of running the event that attracted over 350 riders last weekend.
The entire event – five races over two days – revolved around the township of Forrest, a truly unique experience within Australia. The town is located in the Otway Ranges only two hours drive from Melbourne and offers 16 marked trails suitable for riders of all abilities. Forrest has a population of under 200 but caters perfectly to the riders’ needs, most of them spending the time in between races at the Corner Store for some excellent coffee and treats or the Forrest Brewery Co for some locally brewed ales. For those that decided to stay overnight, there was plenty of space at the caravan park or the Forrest Guesthouse. For those who don’t mind a drive after the race, the Great Ocean Road and it’s beaches were only 45 minutes away.
The Festival is a two-day mountain bike stage race with stages that are achievable for your average rider but still challenging enough to keep the front-runners honest. Day one started with a 15km XC followed by three 5km timed stages – an uphill, a downhill and a flat stage raced against your nearest competitor in a fun pairs racing format. The stages were relatively short but testing and made for some exciting racing in all categories. The final stage on Sunday was a 50km marathon on some of the finest and fastest single track around Forrest.
The overall honours of the 2013 Forrest Festival went to Kyle Ward in Elite men and Renata Bucher from Switzerland in Elite Women. Kyle won the first three stages and World Eliminator Champion Paul Van der Ploeg took out stages four and five with stage five finishing in a close and exciting sprint finish after a 50 km marathon. A recent addition to the Subaru-MarathonMTB.com team, Sebastian Jayne has written up his race report on his blog .
Renata dominated the womens’ field closely followed by Jenni King who won the Super D stage on saturday afternoon. Both the male and female races saw the strongest field at Forrest ever with riders such as Anna Beck, Terri Rhodes and Naomi Williams rounding out the top five in Elite Female.
Full results are available here. Thanks to Norm and Jess Douglas and their crew for doing a great job in making this an amazing event for riders and fans! Great racing and good times at the Greatest Place on Earth to Ride Your Bike!