Project Gonzo Moves Into Construction

posted 6 Feb 2021, 12:00 by Peter and Barbs

Last Thursday it was pretty exciting to have all the planning, study work, development applications etc completed with Armidale Regional Council issuing the purchase order to the professional trail builders Dirt Art to construct over 5km of additional trail north of the existing SportUNE Mountain Bike Trails.

Photo: The Hon, Adam Marshall formally turns the first sod at the start of the construction

phase with UNE crew and some of the NEMTB crew. Photo credit Simon Scott.

The new trails will follow along Dumaresq Creek with three stacked loops. The first loop will start from the Kermit loop (Moguls section) at the north of the pine forest section and climb 50 vertical metres before descending back to re-join the Kermit loop. A further two stacked loops will increase in technical nature as they move further north.

Dirt Art were the same company that built the Kermit Project trails with the construction of Revelation, Lone Pine, Hamburger Hill and Ducats Way, while also completing some realignment of some of the existing trails such as the Cognition descent.

It is expected that the trail construction will commence in March and be completed in June with first tracks expected to be ready to ride in July!!!

Project Gonzo will allow people to ride 13km in a single continuous loop compared to the current 8km loop. Not only will this trail be a great everyday ride but it also produces a fantastic loop for the WEMBO World Championships to be held on 6 & 7 Nov (subject to international borders opening!) and our very popular UNE 12 Hours In The Piney.

A massive thanks needs to go to the following: David Schmude at UNELife, who initially invited NEMTB to SportUNE over 10 years ago and continues to be a heavy supporter of MTB in the region. The Hon. Adam Marshall has also been a long-term key supporter of NEMTB and regional MTB by coming to our aid on numerous occasions to ensure that projects and events are held in Armidale. Armidale Regional Council have also been on board since the first National Rounds were held at the Kookaburra Crest 4X course back in 2004. Since then we have enjoyed hosting the UNE 12 Hours In The Piney for 10 years, held a NSW State Championship, a couple of National Series Rounds, National Championships and Asia-Pacific Championships at the amazing SportUNE trails and facilities! We would like to thank another key person who normally shies away from the limelight but is so instrumental to sport development and promotion in Armidale - Steve McMillian. His passion for sport driven through the Armidale Regional Sports Council and 2AD/FM101.3 is remarkable.

Bring on July!

Figure: Project Gonzo trail plan