In 2018, the RATS will again be presenting the popular Bayview Blast. Hosted at Redland Bay, the Blast features race formats from kids’ events to corporate challenges, an all-comers 25 km lap, and a 100 km marathon that makes up part of the National Cross-Country Marathon (XCM) series. The Bayview Blast will be held on 9-10 June 2018, the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in NSW and Victoria. Hopefully many of our southern cousins will make the trek to see what we have to offer!
The weekend of May 27-28 2017 saw the fourth edition of the Bayview Blast, run by the Rats at Bayview Conservation Area. The race has developed significantly since its first edition in 2014. The debut race featured two, four or six laps of an old-school 13 km course and was run on a scorchingly hot November day. From 2015 on, the Blast benefited from support by Redland City Council with the development of a new race base on German Church Road. New entry and exit trails (Wolf Peach and Sorceress) were added and the course length was increased to 25 km, with race options of one, two or four laps. In 2016, the race moved to a winter date, and the Blast is now a firm part of the national XCM series.
The 2017 Bayview Blast involved racing across two days. Saturday racing included junior events with up to four laps of a 2.5 km course, team and corporate challenges and an all-comers fun lap. The 25 km Saturday race included a separate women’s start wave, with some thirty participants. Sunday racing involved taking on either two or a challenging four laps of the 25 kmcourse, with the full-length race attracting over 100 participants and the half-marathon distance a further 250 entries including teams. Sunday participants spanned an age range from juniors to over-60 racers. Elite participation was down on 2016 due to a date clash with the Newcastle Port to Port stage race, but Michael England added to his earlier successes to take the men’s crown in 4:50, while local Leela Hancox won the women’s race in 6:08.
The development of the Blast parallels other efforts by the Rats Cycling Club to foster women’s mountain biking in particular. The Chicks in the Sticks start wave in the Saturday race carries the same name as the women’s-only race run by the Rats at Karingal Scout Camp, a short distance from Bayview. Separate women’s racing is also available as part of the annual Summer Sprints series at Underwood Park. Council and community support are also contributing to the development of an expanded trail network that is ultimately expected to link Bayview with trails at Karingal, West Mount Cotton and Cornubia as well as key riding opportunities at Daisy Hill and Underwood. At Bayview itself, $1.3 million in improvements to the event staging area have just commenced, and are expected to support an even better race experience in 2018. The future for mountain biking in Brisbane is bright!