Falls Creek Alpine Resort hosted the first round of the Victorian Gravity Enduro Series and the first EWS Qualifier of 2021 last weekend. With a sold out field of 250 riders competing across six stages it was sure to be a great way to reintroduce racing back into the Aussie Calendar. Situated on the Bogong High Plains at over 1500m, the weather looked pretty grim before the event with a huge storm cycle rolling through the peaks the day before practice.
The urban stage saw riders hurtle through some unique challenges in the heart of the village. Pic: Matt Rousu Photography
Despite receiving over 80mm of rain the trails held up remarkably well with all racers getting out on track to practice a rapidly changing course by Saturday morning. They also got to session a new stage on Saturday evening. New for 2021 was the introduction of the village urban stage with racers heading from the summit of the resort to the heart of the village via stairs, sends and a pretty gnarly looking chute. At the close of Saturday the Elite field saw Connor Fearon (Kona Factory Racing) establish his dominance over local rider Ben Mcilroy in the men’s competition with Rachel Hore also putting a solid lead into local Georgina von Marburg.
The racers were lucky to have dodged the tail end of a storm but were then presented with some rapidly changing stage conditions. Pic: Matt Rousu Photography
Sunday saw the resort wake to sunnier skies and rapidly drying trails. With the tracks being in completely different shape to practice with new lines and rocks appearing throughout the day. This rewarded the most experienced bike handlers who could keep it steady and react to the changeable conditions.
Ben Mcilroy’s opening salvo took two seconds out of Connor’s lead on Fall’s most hectic trail, Big Fella. However, Connor continued to extend his advantage throughout the day showing his physical strength on some of the more demanding stages. In the women’s race Rachel Hore’s lead was unassailable and she took a win on every stage except one. The battle between second and third heated up though with Georgina von Marburg and Lia Ladbrok changing places throughout the day. Eventually Georgina’s experience won through and Lia had to settle for the third step on the podium.
Falls Creek yet again hosted some superb stages strewn with natural tech. Pic: Matt Rousu Photography
Enjoying seeing racing back underway again in the new year? Don’t forget that you can keep up to date with all the action from the stages and in the pits on The Enduro World Series Podcast.
Full race results from Falls Creek are available here.