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Things looking up for downhill in Coffs

The iconic pallet drop

The iconic pallet drop (Image credit: RedAss State Series)

The largest downhill mountain bike event on record will be held in Coffs Harbour this weekend as an expected 300 riders head into the region to compete in the fourth and final round of the RedAss State Series.

Despite the access road suffering some major damage in the 2009 April floods the track itself remained relatively unscathed. Work has been ongoing with State Forest and a keen group of enthusiasts and this event will be the first major event held back at the Mt Coramba Road venue.

According to local race director, Garth Roberts, better known as 'Dozer', the track has been built to fit in with the lay of the land.

"It's pretty much been hand built in a natural shape using the shape of the land," he said.

This is a major task with at least 2.2 km of track with a vertical drop of 300 metres from start to finish. The majority of the course is single track and to add a little more excitement and challenge there are jumps of up to 8 metres long, drop offs and beams. The iconic pallet drop is included, the fast fire road is opened up and the stump jump are some of the treats in store for riders.

Dozer said that while the track is challenging to race at top speed it also caters for new riders.

"The trail care crew work closely with State Forest to have sustainable trails that are fun for all users," he explained.

Over 50 Queensland riders who struggle with track access in their home state have been enticed to this venue including the likes of former world junior champion, Tracey Hannah.

The event has now developed into a State of Origin challenge between New South Wales and Queensland.

Local riders are expected perform well as their local track knowledge should give them an advantage. One such rider is Sam Collins from north of Coffs Harbour.

The elite rider has been heavily involved in the track build and is hoping it will give him a few seconds advantage on race day.

Collins spent some time in Canada racing mountain bikes and building trails.

Another elite rider David Gibbs has only recently returned to racing but is hoping for some form on Sunday.

Younger riders such as James Price will race in Under 17 and Jake Bromley in the Under 15 category are expected to perform well against out of town riders.

Practice gets underway on Saturday and the racing begins at 11.30 am on Sunday. Follow the CHMTB signs off the Bruxner Highway.

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