Stunning Course WOWS Great Otway Gravel Grind Competitors

Press Release / 21.02.2021
97km Great Otway Gravel Grind Elite Riders
97km Great Otway Gravel Grind Elite Riders / © Rapid Ascent

600 gravel grinders were wowed by the stunning courses that makes up Great Otway Gravel Grind 97km and 49km events on Sunday 21 February.

The 5th edition of the event saw riders follow a magical line along the smooth rolling dirt roads that permeate the Otway Ranges surrounding Forrest; with many struck by the sweeping views over the Great Ocean Road region.

Perfect race conditions set the scene for many excited riders pumped to be able to compete after COVID-19 hindered countless events over the past 12 months.

In the 97km Big Ring men’s field, word from the course saw Tasman Nankervis, Sam Fox and young-gun Fergus Browning take the stacked field by surprise to try to gain as much time as possible (uphill!) before the first time-out zone at the 33km point. From there, it was always going to be hard to top Nankervis, executing his race tactics with precision.

“We were all tied together for the beginning, then I slipped away on the rolling climbs – grovelling and digging deep to get to that first time-out zone!” said Nankervis.

The remainder of the race saw the men’s field, most who competed in the 100km Otway Odyssey yesterday, continue to re-group at each time-out zone, before a final mass sprint to the finish line in Forrest.

Official results take into account these ‘luxury’ time-out zones which saw Nankervis holding on for the win in an overall time of 2:56:07, ahead of Fox (2:59:12) and Browning (2:59:47).

King of the Otways went Sam Fox who had finished second in yesterday’s Otway Odyssey 100km mountain bike race also.

“It’s so great out on course, riding together and regrouping; and yeh it was Tas who set the pace up the second climb to edge away,” said Fox.

In the absence of Peta Mullens to defend her Queen of the Otways crown, it was Neve Bradbury taking placing first overall in the 97km Big Ring Gravel Grind.

“It’s such a beautiful course; I love that you can stop, wait for mates, have a chat… it’s very social and I love that – despite the last climb being a killer,” said Bradbury.

Bradbury finished the race in a time of 3:21:44, with Courtney Sherwell placing second in 3:27:20.

The day also saw some quality riding in the 49km Small Ring Gravel Grind with Nash Snooks outsprinting Camden Mclean in 1:47:48. For the women, it was Caitlin Wade in an impressive 1:56:41.

“I love being out there – really nice riding and a great vibe amongst the riders,” said Wade.

As often mentioned by the riders, a unique and popular feature of the Great Otway Gravel Grind are these ‘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.

For more information head to www.TheGOGG.com.au

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