DESPITE a rush of late entries, organisers of this month’s Grafton to Inverell Cyclo Sportif will continue to take nominations today.
When entries officially closed on Sunday, more than 170 riders had nominated across the three events to be conducted on Saturday, February 23.
“110 riders have accepted the challenge of the 228 kilometres from Grafton to Inverell, just over 40 riders will line up at Mt. Mitchell for the 110km ride to Inverell and close to 20 will gather in Glen Innes for the 70km journey to Inverell,” publicity officer Greg Kachel said.
“Nominations have come from a number of Brisbane clubs, the Hunter Valley, Mid North Coast, Sydney and the New England.”
Organisers extended the closing time for entries until 5pm today and were hopeful of reaching the 200 mark, Kachel said.
“If there is enough interest, a bus will transport competitors from Inverell to Grafton on the Friday afternoon preceding the event,” he said.
Inverell Cycle’N’Tri Club president Andrew Blake was delighted with the late flurry after some worrying early days coupled with the closure of the Gwydir Highway “on the mountain” for a few weeks because of landslides.
Both problems have abated.
“We had a club meeting last night,” Blake said.
“At this stage we have 174 participants, 119 from Grafton, 40 from Mt Mitchell and the balance from Glen Innes.
“We’ve left the nominations open until Wednesday hoping to make the 200 mark. And we have had had a lot of enquiries.
“ The RTA has re-opened the highway, so the road is right although it is open just one way in about three locations on the mountain.
“It’s going to be a good ride though. We’ll start from Grafton at about 6.30am, a bit later than normal.”
He said riders would start at five- minute intervals in bunches of 20 or so.
The Cyclo Sportif isn’t a race but a community ride.
The real race is at the end of October when the annual Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic will be staged, a part of the National Road series.