Riders keen to take on the Capes

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Ty Webb, Mark Leatherbarrow and Darren Eccelstone are ready and raring to get racing at this year’s Cape to Cape.
Camera IconTy Webb, Mark Leatherbarrow and Darren Eccelstone are ready and raring to get racing at this year’s Cape to Cape. Credit: Jon Gellweiler

The world’s second biggest mountain bike race kicks off in the South West today with a squadron of local riders representing the region hoping to crush their previous results.

Now in its 11th year, the Cape to Cape is second only to South Africa’s Cape Epic in scale and will this year cover 210km of the South West’s pristine countryside and include some of the country’s best mountain bike trails.

MaD Cycles co-owner Darren Eccelstone, along with shop riders Ty Webb and Mark Leatherbarrow are just three of the more than 1100 riders taking on the mammoth event.

“For us it’s mainly a challenge,” Mr Eccelstone said.

“The three of us competed last year and I think it’s just about trying to improve on last year’s performance.”

Like last year, the 2018 event has been designed in a lap-based fashion rather than the old point-to-point format to drastically improve logistics for competitors getting to and from the start and finish lines.

The MaD Cycle trio attempt to cram as much riding as possible into their working weeks and weekends, regularly riding late into the evening and venturing out on day trips to trail hubs like the Kalamunda trail network.

“In house I think there’s always a bit of rivalry, but it’s all just fun though,” Mr Leatherbarrow said. “We all meet up again for a beer after each day.”

Stage one will start and finish in the shadow of the iconic Cape Leeuwin lighthouse, a trip down memory lane for many riders having served as the starting point for the event many times in the past.

The infamous Heartbreak Hill will also make a nostalgic return, loathed among riders for its savage and unrelenting gradient.

With the even more infamous beach section omitted from this year’s event, riders will be treated to some old school event favourites on the remaining stages, including Boranup forest, the pines and middle earth trails.

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