Mountain bikers off the chain

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Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service’s Barry Walton organised that Walcha Teams Challenge which included a number of different races featuring a 120km Extreme Challenge and he hopes to finalise a new Super Series for the keen riders in the next few weeks.

“I plan to start it next year,”  Walton said.

“It will just take a bit of planning and a bit of time to sit down and nut it all out. It will all be based on a points system.”

The Super Series would include the annual Top Of The Range Guyra Mountain Bike Ride, The Copeton Six Hour at Inverell, an Armidale race and the annual Walcha Mountain Bike Teams Challenge.

“The Top Of The Range is raced at the end of March, early April,” Walton said.

“The Copeton Six Hour will have its third running this January and I’m still waiting to talk to the New England Mountain Bikers about the possibility of them running a race as well. The Super Series would be based on attendance at all the races and getting points from those events multiplying through.”

This year’s Walcha Mountain Bike was a major success.

“We had 216 riders all up, that’s fantastic,” he said of the sixth annual edition.

“Considering the Port Macquarie Iron Man and the Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic were on the same weekend too.

“We had something like 82 Tamworthians at that Port iron man .”

Tamworth’s Steve Livingstone competed in the recent Walcha Teams Challenge with his two mates, Peter Rohr and Bruce McLean. Their Calala Mongrels team finished out of the placings in the 70km event but that was mainly due to snapping two chains.

“I had two chains break on me,”  Livingstone said.

“We would have done a lot better if we hadn’t but then we were lucky to finish at all.

“That was my third (Walcha Teams Challenge), Bruce’s first and maybe Peter’s third or fourth. It was an enjoyable ride.”

Livingstone has become something of a regular on the annual week-long charity rides for the chopper and completed this year’s Wee Waa/Narrabri to Tamworth charity ride.

He also rides with a group of mountain bikers that meet and finish at the Calala Inn every Sunday morning.

It was called the Calala Mongrels but political correctness and an endeavour to attract families led to a name change for the Calala Mountain Bike group.

“We meet most Sunday mornings,” Livingstone said.

“Anyone is welcome to come and join us.”

He is also enthusiastic about riding in the Super Series next year.

“Sounds great to me,” he said.

“A Super Series, I’ll be in that.”

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