2022 Australian Fat Bike National Championships – Race Report by Simon Rimmer

Fat Bikes might have been crafted for the snowfields of the northern hemisphere, but they’re as equally at home on loose trails, muddy tracks and sandy beaches……….and that’s where they’ve captured the attention of Aussie riders because we’ve got plenty of incredible beaches surrounding our Great Southern Land.

Arguable one of our best beaches is Cable Beach, in the far north Kimberley town of Broome, Western Australia. Boasting impossibly white sands, azure waters, a warm tropical climate and stunning Indian Ocean sunsets, it spellbinds visitors from across Australia and around the world.

While the iconic sunset camel trains usually dominate holiday selfies and tourist postcards, in May this year there was an entirely different form of transport capturing the attention of beach goers with the 4th edition of AusCycling Fat Bike National Championships.

Presented as a special prologue stage to The Gibb Challenge, the AusCycling Fat Bike National Championships was a challenging 22 kilometre course incorporating hard-packed tidal beach sands, the Minyirr Buru Conservation Park trails, sand dunes and the ancient Lurujarri song-lines of the Yawuru people.

Racers were set off in three waves with the Elite Men & Women sent away first, the Masters Men & Women second and finally the Junior Boys & Girls.

Picking their race lines through the pindan sandstone formed 135 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period that now form ‘The Rocks’, competitors entered the Minyirr Park trail network, through the tightly contested single track to share a unique race experience into the living cultural landscape of the Yawuru people.

Like many Indigenous peoples across the globe, Yawuru have a deep understanding of the flora, fauna, landscape features, seasons and cycles that make up their country, and changes that have occurred over time.

Developed over millennia, this knowledge is deeply embedded within Yawuru culture and is often expressed through the stories and law that govern the relationships between people and country. Having used this knowledge to not only live off the land, but to sustain this lifestyle for thousands of years, there is much for modern conservation science to gain from traditional ecological knowledge.

Competitors dropped down the red pindan cliffs of Gantheaume Point onto the hard packed tidal sands and headed north, back towards Cable Beach. The gentle south westerly made the return trip a (sea) breeze with most competitors getting into the ‘big dog’ chain ring and generating some impressive speeds.    

Senior competitors were sent back into the Yawuru Minyirr Buru Conservation Park for another lung busting lap, junior competitors made straight for the finish line and championship honours.

The AusCycling Fat Bike National Championships are sanctioned by AusCycling, our sport’s peak governing body. National Championship medals and the coveted green, white and gold jerseys were awarded to;

ELITE MEN

  1. MARK SMITH
  2. CHAICE KELLY-WILSON
  3. DAVID HONEYSETT

ELITE WOMEN

  1. MIKALYA SMITH
  2. MAURA GEOGHAGAN
  3. CAYLAH BATT

MASTERS MEN 1/2

  1. JAMES ANDERSON

MENS MASTERS 3/4

  1. RICHARD HARRAWAY

MENS MASTERS 5/6

  1. IAN COOKSEY
  2. GREG ROBINSON
  3. MIKE HANLEY

WOMENS MASTERS 5/6 

  1. ELISE HANLEY
  2. YINDI NEWMAN

MENS MASTERS 7/8

  1. JAMES TAYLOR

UNDER 15 MENS

  1. KAI YOUNG
  2. STIRLING SMITH
  3. FRANK GRAFFEN

UNDER 15 WOMENS

  1. SCARLETT GRIFFEN

UNDER 19 MENS

  1. LACHLAN FORSTER

Competitors and spectators were then treated to the Cable Beach Sundowner; a relaxed afternoon and evening of live music, local food and drink vendors, event merchandise, and a licensed area.

Next year’s AusCycling Fat Bike National Championship will be held on Friday the 12th of May 2023.  

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Just an old cat that rides bikes, herds pixels, ropes gnomes and sometimes writes stories. I love a good story.