Australasia’s best dirt bike racers to take on overseas stars in grueling, four-day battle near Mackay
Stage set for 33rd annual A4DE
Queensland’s first Australian 4-Day Enduro (A4DE) in sixteen years kicks off on Thursday at Koumala (near Mackay).
The 180 competitors and hundreds of support crew and fans have descended on the region and are ready for what is set to be a fantastic Yamaha Yamalube Cycra GYTR A4DE.
Riders will start with four special tests, two enduro test pre-rides and 145 kilometers of trail for tomorrow’s Day 1. The schedule for days two through three will be very similar, with a final motocross event on Sunday at the Gum Valley Motocross Track (Turnor’s Paddock Road, racing from 9am, tickets at the gate).
The event incorporates five special tests in total (the Yamaha Cross Test, KTM Enduro Test, Husqvarna ET, Cycra CT and Pirelli CT), mostly based around the Gum Valley facility.
Many of the top riders said today that the special tests looked “unreal”.
“The tests are fast, which is good – we usually have really tight tests here in Australia,” Chris Hollis, of the Ballard’s Yamaha Team, said.
“There’s a lot of speed involved, and they’re really safe in around the cane fields. Really good soil.”
Reigning Championship E2 Class and Outright winner, Toby Price, has had a little less time to pre-walk the special tests than other riders who didn’t compete in the Hattah Desert Race.
Price, from Singleton (NSW) only arrived to Koumala Monday afternoon after taking a convincing win of the event on Sunday.
“It’s been a pretty hectic weekend… but, coming off a win at Hattah, I’m feeling pretty good for the four-day and looking forward to it,” Price said.
“[The schedule’s been] pretty crazy. We drove all the way back from Mildura [Sunday night].
“Got into Sydney about two thirty [Monday morning], got the bikes out and quickly gave them a wash, packed our gear bags and cleaned everything up, then flew up that morning.
“I think I only had about three hour’s sleep from the race, just couldn’t sleep in the car, in the Hiace – my knees were on the dashboard… but it’s all good.”
Price said his game plan for defending his title was to: “stay near the front of the field for the first three days…”
“Then leave it all for that fourth day,” he said. “So if I can stay within a few seconds or maybe just pull a bit of a lead… just have to stay on two wheels and stay fit and healthy and it will be all good.”
Organisers, the Gum Valley Motorcycle Club, have put a tremendous amount of work into making this event a reality for the Mackay Region.
The Club’s John Hand said while the change in date (event was postponed from April due to flooding) had created more work, they were confident the race would be as good, if not better for riders, spectators and sponsors.
“The special tests have come up unreal, and having them all in the same area will make it really great for spectators and easy for the support crew to access,” Hand said.
“This race offers locals the rare chance to see the absolute best riders in Australia in action, so don’t miss the chance.
“The Park Ferme, or staging area for the race, is located at Koumala, which is about 50km’s from Mackay.
In the 2011 A4DE, riders of all skill levels – from Clubman to Pro – from every Australian state (including Tasmania) and New Zealand will be vying for class and Outright honours.
There is also a state-versus-state element to the event, with the top riders from each state competing on Junior and Senior Trophy Teams.
Battle for the class and Outright crown will be as heated as ever, with last year’s victor, Motorex KTM’s Toby Price (from Singleton, NSW) set to go head-to-head with current Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship point’s leader, Chris Hollis (Ballard’s Yamaha, from Port Macquarie, NSW).
Queensland will also have some big talent on its side, with multi-Australian Off-Road Champion, AJ Roberts (from Bribie Island) and four-time Australian Enduro Champion ‘King’ Kirk Hutton (Yamaha), from Pine Rivers Shire (Brisbane).
The A4DE is a true test of man (and woman) and machine: competitors will spend about 25 hours on their bikes and cover around 800km’s.
An impressive 10 women riders have entered to compete. Yamaha racer, Jessica Gardiner, will be defending her title, after winning her first ever A4DE in Portland (NSW) last year.
The event is ran in time rally format, with entrants completing three days of trail and special test phases and a short trail section and final motocross on day four.
The 2011 Yamaha Yamalube Cycra GYTR A4DE will be held at Mackay (QLD) from July 7th to 10th (www.a4de.com)
Classes of competition include: Enduro 1 (100cc-150cc two stroke and 150cc to 250cc four strokes), Enduro 2 (175cc to 250cc two stroke and 275cc to 450cc four stroke), Enduro 3 (290cc to 500cc two stroke and 475cc to 650cc four stroke), Veteran All Powers – Rider must have turned 35 years before 1/1/11, Masters All Powers – Rider must have turned 45 years before 1/1/11, and Women All Powers.