The 25th Edition of the Crocodile Trophy mountain bike stage race took place from 12-19 October 2019 in Tropical North Queensland. The eight-day event started in Cairns and finished on Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas. The South African racer Alan Gordon claimed the overall victory of the Anniversary Edition with a winning time of 29h15:11,1. Michael Gordon from Gladstone in Queensland finished as fastest Australian competitor and in second position outright in 29h28:28,0 (+00:13:16). The Spaniard Brandan Marquez Fernandez was third overall (29h28:54,4 / +00:13:43) and with four stage wins this year Bart Classens from the Netherlands is in fourth. Stijn Van Boxstael placed in fifth outright. Bram Saeys from Belgium claims the outright Amateur race victory this year. Angelika Tazreiter (AUT) is the winning female competitor, completing the 700km stage plan in 11th outright after 34h02:44,8 of racing.
The 25th Crocodile Trophy started on Saturday 12 October 2019 in Cairns and almost 150 racers and crew from all over the World and Australia have been on the tour together – the peloton alone represented 20 different nationalities. Brendon Skerke , as of today 8-time Crocodile Trophy finisher, designed this year´s course and said that he had wanted this year’s 700km and 13,000vm stage plan to reflect his passion for this race and his enthusiasm to showcase the incredibly versatile terrains and scenery his home in Tropical North Queensland has to offer.
With a daily average of 88km, this year’s longest stage was 125 km long and the shortest stage was the final day’s 34 km time trial into Port Douglas. On day one they climbed up to the Atherton Tablelands and for the first time the event will stopped at Ringer’s Rest Function Venue and Wondecla for two nights each. With the Australian Michael England in the overall leader’s jersey, stage two offered a circuit marathon in the beautiful Danbulla Forest National Park with its World Heritage listed rainforest on the Atherton Tablelands.
The third stage of the Crocodile Trophy 25-year Anniversary edition featured the Herberton Range National Park and its popular Atherton MTB Park. With a strong race and a successful attack in the Herberton Range National Park the experienced mountain bike stage racer Alan Gordon from South Africa who says that long climbs suited him, took over the overall race lead with a gap of 1:56min to the Australian Michael England in Wondecla on day three.
The race then moved to the Mareeba region with two nights at Skybury Tropical Plantation before finishing at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, a memorable experience for racers and crew. Day four brought the Queen Stage of this year’s race. With hot conditions during this year’s event this day was expected to be particularly challenging and the race organisers added two more feed zones to help the competitors deal with the weather and also offered some of the riders to complete a shorter course of about 56km. The full course added up to over 3,200 vertical meters of climbing on the Atherton Tablelands and had a classic marathon distance of almost 100km. Dominating the pace of the peloton, Alan Gordon won the Queen Stage and increased his overall lead to the Australian Michael England to 5:55min at the half-way mark of the event. With a respectable race time of 7h06:51,8 the former Austrian National Marathon Champion Angelika Tazreiter moved up into 11th outright position that day.
With the fifth stage the Crocodile Trophy headed west into some quite dry Outback landscapes and arrived at Skybury Tropical Plantation and the 125km/1200vm circuit marathon of day six with start and finish at Skybury continued the dry outback theme travelling along some long dry dirt roads and through cattle stations. With Alan Gordon and Michael England in a solid race for the overall title, the battle for stage wins was on every day among the rest of the front group. Racers spoke of an intense, competitive yet amicable racing atmosphere in the lead group.
The second-last day took the race further North-East on a stage that for the first time has less than 1,000vm of climbing to arrive at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, one of the major tourist attractions in the region – on the coast right in the middle between Cairns and Port Douglas. After spending the night at Hartley’s with the crocs and many other native Australian animals, the grand finale was the mass arrival of the peloton on Four Mile Beach on Saturday 19 October – all 2019 Crocodile Trophy finishers crossed the Anniversary Finish Line together in Port Douglas.
The overall winner Alan Gordon said that he had been impressed with the high-intensity of racing and that he would be back for more, “I am very happy and it was a really nice race. We didn’t know what to expect, in the beginning, but I am so happy we did it. Next year we’ll be back to do it again, hopefully!”
The Australian Michael England admitted that he was surprised by his result, “I came here to finish the Croc Trophy, I’ve been racing for a long time now and to have the Croc Trophy is one of my last big events that I wanted to go well at. Mate, it’s been amazing! The support from everyone, even from my own competitors out there, the staff, all the Australians, all the Europeans, you feel part of the family as a finisher of this Croc Trophy. Regardless of my goals, I’ve achieved it, I finished it. The 25th Anniversary of the Croc Trophy! I’m so happy!”
The winning female of the event was Angelika Tazreiter from Austria. The multiple National Marathon Champion earned herself the respect of her fellow riders at the front end, who agreed that she had shown incredible mental strength throughout the event. She herself said that she had immensely enjoyed the adventure, “The panoramic views after this eighth stage are really incredible. I must admit I really enjoyed the peace and quiet this morning in my tent and when it was still calm in the camp, I rode out to the ocean and watched the sunrise. I so enjoyed that. Now, after the stage, when you know, it’s all done, it is just unbelievable. Everyone is in a good mood and I think we’ll have a big party this evening, I reckon.”
Race founder Gerhard Schönbacher said that he was impressed with the performance of all Crocodile Trophy finishers and proud of the achievements of his crew throughout the past two weeks. He said that he rode sections of each stage each day himself and that for the first time in 25 years he himself felt the true spirit of his event, “With the crew we assembled this year, finally after 25 years I could experience this event like every racer should – not just as an organiser in a four wheel drive car. I truly enjoy riding my bike here every day, not because I want to go fast but because on your bike out here you get such an incredibly intense sense of your surrounds, you cannot compare this feeling to anything… and you can´t even explain it.” Proud to be among the events supported by the Queensland Government, he added that the local community had played a big role in the event’s delivery and the support by the local MTB Clubs and businesses made a real difference to the organisation of this international event.
The Crocodile Trophy will kick off the next chapter of it´s history when it returns to Tropical North Queensland from 17-24 October 2020.
Results | Category Winners
- 2019 Champion & Elite Men’s Category Winner: Alan Gordon (SAF)
- 2019 Female Elite Winner: Angelika Tazreiter (AUT)
- 2019 Amateur Champion: Bram Saeys (BEL)
- 2019 Female Amateur Winner: Monika Bayer (AUT)
Top category results:
- Alan Gordon (SAF) | Insect Science Pro | 29:15:11,1
- Michael England (Gladstone, QLD, AUS) | Multitrade Building Hire | 29:28:28,0 +00:13:16
- Brandan Marquez Fernandez (ESP) | Tres Lunas Valdeorras | 29:28:54,4 +00:13:43
- Bart Classens (NED) | ThijsHendriks.nl – Bikesight | 29:29:13,6 +00:14:02
- Stijn Van Boxstael (BEL) | Individueel | 30:19:00,9 +01:03:49
- Angelika Tazreiter (Lower Austria, AUT) | KTM MTB Factory Team | 34:02:44,8 +04:47:33
Amateur Men 2 (30+ years):
- Bram Saeys (BEL) | Trust mtb team vzw | 30:44:36,0 +01:29:24
- Nathan Sandford (Cairns, AUS) | 33:22:57,7 +04:07:46
- Sean Hall (Mount Larcom, QLD, AUS) | 34:57:39,4 +05:42:28
- Vince Marcel (Mareeba, QLD, AUS) | 35:46:40,1 +06:31:29
- Maarten Gofflo (BEL) | Tandjen By MF | 37:23:11,0 +08:07:59
Amateur Men 3 (40+ years):
- Martin Wisata (Ried im Innkreis AUT, Central Coast NSW, AUS) | Il Pastaio Rocky Trail Racing | 36:06:25,3 +06:51:14
- Daniel Beresford (Wagga Wagga, NSW, AUS) | Blackchrome Racing | 37:37:59,3 +08:22:48
- Peter Reis (Piding, Bavaria, GER) | Radsport Zellner | 37:39:42,2 +08:24:31
- Markus Beck (Bad Reichenhall, Bayern, GER) | Bike Friends Salzburg-ASKÖ | 38:34:07,9 +09:18:56
- Jakob Steen-Petersen (DEN) | Holte MTB Klub | 39:21:42,1 +10:06:31
Amateur Men 4 (50+ years):
- Hans Planckaert (BEL) | Rotwild-Agu Racing Team | 34:09:35,0 +04:54:23
- Graeme Young (Wellington, NZL) | 35:04:19,2 +05:49:08
- René Vallée (FRA) | LA FORESTIERE | 36:56:05,7 +07:40:54
- Olaf Trenner (SUI) | Trenner der Renner | 38:23:32,6 +09:08:21
- Adolfo Buratovich (ARG) | Gili Bike | 41:23:26,3 +12:08:15
Amateur Men 5 (60+ years):
- Mark Knowles (Atherton, QLD, AUS) | 39:17:50,0 +10:02:38
- Christoph Diener (SUI) | ULLMANN YETI | 39:35:59,0 +10:20:47
- Andrew Radcliffe (Central Coast, NSW, AUS) | Il Pastaio Rocky Trail Racing | 42:05:36,8 +12:50:25
- Monika Bayer (Feuersbrunn, Lower Austria, AUT / Bondi NSW) | 57:30:02,8 +28:14:51
Adventure Teams Overall (combined racing times):
- UFO – CA Master2 (ESP): Pedro Vernis de Prats & Alex Vernis de Prats | 70h13:47,80
- Astute Financial Racing Team – CA Master1 (Cairns, QLD, AUS): Brendon Skerke & Bart Duraj | 71h24:44,10 +01:21:16
- BVC cycling team – CA Master1 (BEL): Raf De Cock & Bert Apers | 77h23:46,80 +07:25:22
Photos final stage: Regina Stanger
Images may be used free of charge in print and online for coverage in relation to this media release and the Crocodile Trophy event with photo credits. Click images to download high-res file.
Highlight Gallery 2019:
- LIVE Results via this link
- FULL Rider List
- Daily race reports on our blog
By Faber Film