Thirteen Mansfield Steiner students headed to Falls Creek on Friday 28 March to compete at the 2020 Victorian XC Mountain Bike Interschools and came home very proud of their efforts.

In an improved format for 2020, that saw boys and girls racing together over the same distance on a challenging but enjoyable course, with Mansfield riders dominating. The weather was cool but sunny when 127 riders took to the course for practice on the shore of the Rocky Valley storage dam. The course included large sections of ascent on open gravelled fire trail and flowing technical descents on single track.

The students from Mansfield Steiner led the charge for Mansfield with their team of 13 joined by six riders from other Mansfield schools. This year’s event saw the addition of students from Class 3/4, allowing more junior riders to compete for the first time.

On a 1.08km course the students rode three laps. Avah Van der Heyden finished 1st place in the Grade 3/4 girls and Ben Ross 2nd in the Grade 3/4 Boys ahead of Rueben Bateup in 5th, Finnigan Stokes in 6th and Archie Hall in 8th. A special mention must be made to Rueben who stopped to help Finnigan after he fell riding in a particularly difficult section of downhill trail.

The Grade 5/6 riders tackled three laps of a longer 1.75km course. In the Grade 5/6 Girls Mika Smith finished 2nd and Cate Simms in 4th. Tom Williams finished in 4th, closely followed by Finnegan Baker in 5th, Ethan Nealon in 10th and Will Wettenhall in 18th position.

The Year 7/8 riders stepped up with four laps of the 1.75 km course and saw another first place for Mansfield Steiner with Maddison Smith leading from beginning to end of the girls’ race, while Ned Hall rode consistently to place 4th in the 7/8 boys.

Our students did a great job encouraging the other Mansfield riders from MSC, MPS and St Marys who also enjoyed great success, with several students making it to the podium.

In the school’s overall trophy Mansfield Steiner was thrilled to again finish 3rd behind the much larger school of Cathedral College and the hometown favourites Mt Beauty. Fingers crossed to for some averaging next year to determine the overall trophy with points currently awarded for every rider but no average applied overall.

It was an outstanding effort by all riders and a huge thank you to all parents for making the drive to Falls Creek, Mansfield Mt Buller Cycling Club – Dirt Crits and to coach Damian Grundy for his work developing our juniors on Sundays. Thankyou also to Myrtleford Ski Club for accommodating our school team at a fantastic rate. Anyone looking at visiting Falls Creek in the summer or winter should certainly inquire about staying at the lodge.

Best of luck to all riders heading to Thredbo for the Australian Mountain Biking Interschools on March 19-22. Any students interested in joining the team to ride in any of the winter MTB State Series events can contact Ariel Stava – Mansfield Steiner School Mountain Bike Coordinator 0400649994.