Tamworth 'rookie' to team up with champs

RAY Griffin will be lining up in today’s novel Ay-Up Dusk Till Dawn mountain bike challenge alongside two Australian Over 40s World Championship riders.

It is his second mountain bike event, the oldest rider and team manager of Tamworth road cycling team, Baiocchi Griffin JT Fossey, swapping riding formats to partner up with Peter Selkrig and Phil Welch for the all-night event.

Newcastle’s Selkrig is the current world 24-hour silver medallist in the over 50s category, whilst Welch (from Sydney) is also a silver medallist in the same event but Over 50s category.

Griffin is a relative newcomer to mountain bike racing, having just one mountain bike race to his credit, the recent Keepit Real 50-kilometre event held at Lake Keepit. 

He placed sixth overall in that race and third in the over 40s division whilst Selkrig placed second overall and won the over 40s division.

“This race will be very different though,” Griffin said.

“It’s at night on an extremely technical course and it’s at a time when I should be in bed sound asleep.”

The  Dusk till Dawn race will be held at the Tamworth Bike Park and will involve riders doing 11km laps from 7pm until 7am the following day.

It is the first of its kind for Tamworth and for NSW, and the first in the country since an event in Queensland five years ago.

Organiser Daniel Raffaele welcomed Team Baiocchi Griffin JT Fossey’s participation in the first such race for Tamworth. 

“We’re thrilled to think that Ray has teamed up with some extremely talented riders like Peter Selkrig and Phil Welch,” Raffaele said 

“Those guys should have a great night of racing but they’ll have their work cut out for them against some of the other teams. 

“Tamworth’s dual world champion Sean Bekkers will be teaming up with Sydney’s Michael Crummy, and they’re probably the favourites for the teams category. 

“Another world champion, Jason English from Port Macquarie, is also racing and he’ll be gunning for the individual win.”

Griffin said that riding with the likes of Selkrig and Welch would be a fantastic opportunity to learn more about mountain bike riding from two world championship level athletes.

“I’ve had some pretty big cycling challenges in my life and this one is somewhere up there,” Griffin said. 

“I’m a tad concerned what it will be like riding a bike around the tight dusty circuit at 3am but I like a challenge and this is a big one.”

Whilst Griffin is swapping the road for the dirt in this event, he isn’t planning on making a habit out of it.

“No, that will never happen. I’ve been racing road bikes on and off since I was four so it’s almost part of my DNA.

“The mountain bikes are great fun and very challenging and I would recommend it to any cyclist but the call of the bitumen is very strong for me.”

More than 100 riders have signed up for the challenge. Anyone wishing to be involved should contact Raffaele (0429 663153).

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