Forrest biking festival coming

Competitors in the Forrest Six-Hour mountain bike marathon set off. The Otways hamlet is set to host an annual mountain biking festival.

FORREST will become the latest Colac district town to host an annual festival.

But unlike Birregurra’s weekend festival and Apollo Bay’s music celebration, the inaugural Forrest Festival is based around what the hamlet has become famous for: mountain bike riding.

The brainchild of district rider Norm Douglas, the race will take place on November 26 in place of an annual Jeep 24-hour race which promoters opted to shift this year.

But Douglas said the Forrest Festival would be unique in that it centred on the town’s centre.

“Not having the Jeep 24 is going to leave a big hole in our calendar so I thought there was a good opportunity for this event to slot in,” Douglas said.

“Most of the events held in Forrest aren’t actually held in town, they’re at the football oval or elsewhere but we wanted to encourage people to stay in town for longer,” he said.

The festival will host vendors and other entertainment, with Douglas hoping to acquire the services of musical acts throughout the day and attract up to 700 revellers and competitors.

As for the competitive side, the event is split into four sections including uphills and downhills on the Saturday and the major cross-country event on the Sunday.

A separate Twilight Eliminator will also take place on the Saturday evening.

“That will probably be the highlight, it’s basically a mini race – they’ve become quite popular in Europe,” Douglas said.

“There’ll be heats less than two minutes with four riders, with a knock-out type format,” he said.

The event has already attracted Port Macquarie’s world solo 24-hour champion Jason English.

Douglas said he hoped the separate stage format would allow more time for riders to enjoy the festival atmosphere.

“In other events you can have 1500 competitors spread out over finishing times in excess of 10 hours – people can have finished and left before others have even finished,” he said.

“In our event people will be milling about at all times.”

Interested people can visit www.forrestfestival.com.au/dev/ for more information.

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