The Graft-TON Grind is a new MTBA Tier 1 event coming to Northern NSW - so we wanted to find out more.
Grafton is one of Australi’s most historic cycling cities, with the road cycling club dating back to the the 1890’s. More recently, locals have swapped slicks for knobbies helped in part by a developing network of singletrack in BomBom State forest.
We caught up with Grant from the BomBom Racing MTB club to get the local beta on the Jacaranda City.
AMB: Why come to Grafton?
Grant: Grafton is pretty much half a day drive to either Sydney and Brisbane, so not a bad holiday or event destination to escape to from the city to a more laid-back rural setting. It’s the major centre of the Clarence valley which has so much to offer for lovers of the outdoors: There are secluded pristine beaches; white water paddling; National Park and State Forests recreation all around. The Clarence Valley Council is always supportive of sports tourism and has supported us for the Graft-TON Grind and many past GBomb endurance events.
Grafton is a town with a lot of history, especially in cycling, our club was established in the 1890s and in the road scene, the Grafton to Inverell Classic celebrates it 59th running in May this year. There is a bit of a push to re-engage the community with cycling and we like to think the MTB scene at Bom Bom contributes to this.
AMB: What can people expect from the trails? And the town?
Grant: Our Trails in Bom Bom State Forest were some of the first established on the north coast, from a time when most people were on 26er hardtails with narrow bars. The trails have that old school feel; the older tracks were all hand cut, twisty but fast with minimal berming and minimal technical features, other than the odd drop off, bridges and tight gaps between trees. We don’t have much elevation to play with, so there’s not much climbing, which means also not much downhill, a fast rider at Bom Bom is someone who can carry corner speed and keep the power on. Our club used to be full of single speeders, because the place is perfect for it!
For the Graft-TON Grind, we wanted to use the classic Marathon distance of 100k, in order to meet the Tech Regs we had to set a max of 3 laps, so a bunch of us have tried to come up with the perfect mix of mainly singletrack with a few bits of fire road thrown in to get to the magic number of a 33km lap. I think the course we have come up with ticks all those boxes, and we have the added bonus that to make the event more spectator friendly riders will come close to the event centre 3 times in a lap.
When we run our events we have the added bonus that the farmer next door usually allows us to use his paddock for camping. This offers our competitors the option of free accommodation, and the ability sit down and rehydrate with their favourite beverage and not worry about driving back to accommodation.