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Downhill In National Parks

nrthrnben's picture

By nrthrnben - Posted on 05 June 2012

Kinglake DH Track News
Published Date Written by Nick Bowman
Kinglake DH Track Update

Parks Victoria has come to the party!

The Kinglake project is of national significance with the installation of competition level DH Track in Parks Vic tenure as well as the construction of an intermediate level DH and flow track. All with public shuttle access! This project naturally fosters long term community benefits related to recreation and tourism to help revitalise the area after the 2009 Fires.

IMBA Au was initially asked to provide some design input into the trail proposal that had been developed by the You Yangs MTB Club. Once the design spec was signed off, Parks Vic have asked us to inspect the trail during construction and upon completion in order to provide an independent view point of the final trail design and construction. It’s a new role for us but it has certainly helped to formalise the construction process from the perspective of Parks Vic. With the paper trail complete, construction has begun!

World Trail have won the contract to construct the competition DH which is now taking shape with Reece Atkinson on the digger, carving up some sweet dirt for some beautiful flowing turns at the top. Once the trail dips off the ridge it will get interesting and it will be great to see what the World Trail Crew have in store of that middle part of the trail. It’s rocky and rugged so it will make for some challenging features. Our next visit is at the end of April.

We are certainly looking forward to the intermediate (blue) track installation as well. From what we understand, the You Yangs MTB Club will be developing this trail themselves and having a second trail in the area will certainly help to define these tracks as a regular destination for Melbourne riders.

IMBA Au is proud to be working with Parks Vic and World Trail to deliver this very exciting project.

wal's picture

$200k+ for a 2 km sustainable dh trail to replace an existing trail.
Next to a shuttle rd.

200 meter drop over 2km double black.

Good stuff.

Lenny_GTA's picture

They are coming in NSW. While it is taking a long time, we have a corridor in Glenock approved (more like a short gentle slope though compared to the vid). Our biggest issue is time and the sheer volume of trail projects to get through that it feels like stuff is being held up. The priority list starts with fixing and making sustainable what we have before starting new projects, which is leading to a massive delay.

One thing I noticed though is that the trail is mostly located within a powerline easement. This is exactly what we have been asked to do. Makes sense, the land is already degraded meaning any trail impacts a negligible.

Shuttleable trail though, could only dream of that. Not sure how you guys in the Sydney basin are placed, but I can't even think of somewhere up here where we could achieve that. Either the hills aren't big enough or there is no road, so push runs would have to suffice. Thats why all the major DH trails up here are west of the lake on State Forest land.

Matt P's picture

.....but hardly DH.

Most of it could be done on a BMX!

Lenny_GTA's picture

That al depends on who you ask. After we built the Awaba Monkey trail (and the Amazon trail before it), there were and still are elements who criticise the trails for being too hard or too rough.

Irrespective of how the trail is built not everyone will be happy with it.

That trail to me looks like they have tried to replicate some of the ski resort trails in North America. Not a bad idea if you ask me and watching a video doesn't indicate how hard the trail is to ride at speed. It may look smooth but that doesn't mean its not difficult when you are pining it.

I would be stoked to have a trail like that locally.

BM Epic's picture

Agree fully with sammydog, video makes it look easy, does not indicate speed or steepness, it looks like lots of fun, like all trails, depending on your lines to how much fun it is!

nrthrnben's picture

This one shows the terrain better. True some sections look a little smooth but remember its a fresh track, so it will get rougher over time, if you keep your eyes peeled it has some really good A lines that would open up if your pinning it, also rough rock gardens and off camber sections in the second half.

Looks like you can really open up at 1:50-2:10

Some sections seem too wide, however they will close in once vegetation regrows closer into the rider

There is a generous amount of senders and berms, very fun track and most importantly looks to be the right combination for National Parks

Simon's picture

Noticed a lot more in the second vid.

nrthrnben's picture

Have highlighted the parts that have National significance.

In June 2012, a new downhill mountain bike trail opened at Bowden Spur in Kinglake National Park. This trail is the first of three that will eventually be built on the Spur. The 2km long trail is designed to delight and challenge experienced downhill mountain bike riders.

The trail, named Shepherds, is a diverse technical downhill trail to test the abilities of experienced riders. It has a number of dirt jumps, rock gardens, bomb holes, flowing earth berms and contains large sections of off-camber riding. The total drop along the length of the trail is 233 metres.

The trail is recommended for experts only as it runs over very challenging terrain and includes frequent obstacles. It has the extremely difficult rating of Double Black Diamond.

The Bowden Spur Mountain Bike Area is located on Bowden Spur Road, approximately 200m from the intersection of the Kinglake-Whittlesea Road in Kinglake Central.

nrthrnben's picture

Well done to National Parks, Riders and World Trail for coming together to take make these trails official and sustainable, and encouraging people young and old to stay active, visit and enjoy our National Parks

Hop fiend's picture

this is Victoria not NSW!

nrthrnben's picture

Is there any particular reason you posted that, as the thread is littered with Parks Victoria?, infact the latest post was actually titled "National Parks Victoria New Downhill Vid"

It was posted in this forum to show riders in NSW what is happening around OZ in other National Parks, and to give advocates case studies when they are dealing with NSW National Parks in order to help attain sustainable official trails.

Hop fiend's picture

could never see the funding raped NSW National Parks getting to this level of advancement with trails in this state-just did not want to get anyones hopes up.

nrthrnben's picture

I can see where you are coming from, however honestly, negativity does not really help hey, there is more than 1 way to get funding and definitely more than 1 way to get a trail built and current budget restriction situations may very well change, who knows what tomorrow brings.

National Parks Nationwide are trying to increase visitation and thus money across the board (via visitation). They are realizing that a great number of people want to access parks by more efficient means of transportation in a sustainable way. In most cases this is with higher levels of fun and enjoyment than just walking and in this case in Victoria they have succeeded by implementing a Sustainable gravity trail or downhill trail into a National Park, this can be used as a case study by advocates and our friends working in National Parks NSW.

MELONHEAD's picture

I agree with Matt P. If that is a double black diamond DH run then I am in line to be the next World Cup DH champion. It looks like an awesome All Mountain flow down trail that could be ridden by anyone on any bike. All of the jumps are rollable, and all of the tricky sections can be ridden around. I think National Parks are overstating the difficulty of the trail, and this will scare off people who could and should experience a nice flow down trail in a beautiful part of the world. I suppose it all comes down to public liability in the end.....they have to protect themselves. Looks like a great trail, but not a double black.

nrthrnben's picture

IMBA - Australia
2012 Trail Difficulty Rating System

Single black diamond would be more suitable, however i havent ridden it and maybe at full speed it is more difficult in real life than the few vids that exist show.

However i dont think its fair to say it could be ridden by anyone on any bike and have fun, when you look at the whole track top to bottom, its has big constant big jumps that if you case would send you off your bike, off camber and rock garden sections a downhill bike is the only beast that can handle everything on the trail with ease and fast.

This track will be raced in December for the 3rd round of the Victorian Downhill Series (VDHS). really shows large sections of off camber and tech rock gardens

Will be interesting to see some race footage of people making all the gaps and hitting the off camber fast!

Lenny_GTA's picture

The thing with trail ratings though is they relate to other trails within that trail system. So compared to everything else it may well be technical. Even across ski resorts there is a massive variation between what is a black or a double black from one resort to another. Its a guide for people at the particular area.

What I like about the DH in that venue is how well they have made use of things like the power easement. That is the key there and if we can find areas like that in NSW I think that is where we will really get the first DH trail allowed in NP's. In Glenrock we have in principle agreement on a few easements, but the length is more an issue there for DH stuff.

So the key now is to find some suitable easements in NP's that we can make use of and advocate for DH in those areas. Start there, demonstrate it works and see where it goes. The first trails may have to be a little more tame than whats in other areas, but that will change with time as well.

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