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​Champagne Cycling At the Great Otway Gravel Grind

Press Release / Photo : Rapid Ascent / 25.02.2019

Riding at the Great Otway Gravel Grind

The 3rd edition of the Great Otway Gravel Grind took 300 bike riders on a shimmering journey through the Otway Ranges to the coast and back today. Conducted over smooth rolling dirt roads, the event included  a Big Ring 97km course, and a Small Ring 49km course both starting and finishing in Forrest.

Bendigo rider Tasman Nankervis and Kiwi Samara Sheppard took the honours in the 3rd edition of the Great Otway Gravel Grind—known colloquially as “the GOGG. “It was champagne cycling out there” said Nankervis. “There were a lot of little attacks at the start then before the 87km feed zone but I think I attacked at the 80km mark.  I just did one big attack and drilled it to the feed zone.”

“I had to try and just hold the guys in the last 10km. The quality of the field is the best I’ve seen and makes it well worthwhile racing each year. It’s a proper marathon course and I just love the way there’s a mix of everything,” said Nankervis when asked what keeps him coming back for Odyssey weekend.

Over 250 riders participated in the GOGG events. Riders were led along a scenic and at times challenging pedal on unsealed roads. The course is nestled in the Otway Ranges.

Baking heat mid-morning made for a hard and fast track and some lightning pace setters in all categories. It was tight racing in the men’s field with a lead pack of three entering and exiting each time-out zone together and crossing the finish line only two seconds apart.

The 97km Big Ring took riders from Forrest to the Kennett River and along the Great Ocean Road to Wye River. Riders then headed back over the Range and into Forrest for a flying finish. A unique feature of the GOGG is the ‘time-out’ sections on course. Riders can stop for a coffee or wait for their friends without impacting their race time—in the style of true gravel grinding.

Both Tasman and Samara placed second in yesterday’s 100km Odyssey marathon mountain bike event. Nankervis was good enough to claim the King of the Otways crown for the best aggregate time over two days of racing. Samara Sheppard prized the Queen of the Odysssey title with her second day effort.

“It was a really awesome day out there today. I enjoyed the gravel roads and the rolling hills were really fun. And being out on the Great Ocean Road was just beautiful. I’ve never done that before being from New Zealand. We actually stopped in a café along the road and had a coffee that stoked me up then carried me on home to the finish.”

“It’s such a cool day and we’ve had a really good time in Forrest so I’d definitely like to come back,” said Sheppard post-race.

For more info head to


Great Otway Gravel Grind 97km

Top 3 Male

  1. Tasman Nankervis             3:05:09
  2. Michael Harris                    3:05:50
  3. Paul Redenbach                 3:06:17

Top 3 Female

  1. Samara Sheppard                              3:18:56
  2. Holly Harris                         3:25:51
  3. Renata Bucher                    3:38:36

Great Otway Gravel Grind 49km

Top 3 Male

  1. Chris Hellman                     1:46:03
  2. Xavier Hart                          1:46:03
  3. Mitchell Snowball              1:46:04

Top 3 Female

  1. Kate Smyth                         2:28:21
  2. Julie Shaw                           2:31:21
  3. Deb Lindstrom                    2:33:22

King of the Otways

Tasman Nankervis

Queen of the Otways

Samara Sheppard


Full results are available HERE.

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More About Otway Odyssey presented by Focus

An Odyssey in the Forrest this Weekend

An Odyssey in the Forrest this Weekend
Rapid Ascent is excited to present the 13th edition of the Otway Odyssey and Great Otway Gravel Grind this weekend. Presented by FOCUS, the Read More

Otway Odyssey presented by Focus

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