Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Australia: Top Riders Return

COOLING DOWN: Joe McMahon rides through Long Creek behind Windeyer Hotel on a previous Windeyer endurance ride.
By DON MAHONEY
Friday, 29 September 2006

Two of Australia's best endurance riders will be in action when the NSW State Championships return to the popular Windeyer course this weekend.

This year's event is being hosted by the Windeyer Progress Association Endurance Ride Committee.

Committee Secretary/Treasurer Mick O'Hare said yesterday that two riders who have just returned from representating Australia at the World Titles at Arken in Germany were among the 70 nominations for the ride.

"They are Brad Semple, who is one of 10 riders who are coming from Queensland and Jennifer Gilbertson from Wiseman's Ferry who is no stranger to the Windeyer course," O'Hare said.

"Another interesting rider is a former winner of the State title when the ride was held at Windeyer Stuart Hitchcock from East Kurrajong.

"Three local riders have also nominated for this 160 kilometre event.

"Gloria Mills, who warmed up for this event with a win at the inaugural Quirindi ride, along with Kate Pilley and Bernice King will carry local hopes in this major event.

"We are delighted to have such a strong entry for the ride as we were only expecting 50 when we first took on this year's event."

New rules to meet OH & S requirements mean there has to be some changes to the course but O'Hare said these changes will make the event a little easier to organise and should be easier on competitors.

The Windeyer recreation ground will, as usual with Windeyer rides, once again be the base for the ride with riders returning to base after each leg of the cloverleaf course.

"The Windeyer recreation ground is a great spot for spectators to come and keep an eye on preceedings," O'Hare said.

"There are also good vantage points on the public roads along the course but spectators who want to watch from these places are asked not to hamper riders or traffic in these areas.

"Catering for competitors and their support crew and spectators will be available at the base.'

O'Hare said that while the creeks and water holes may have dried up, organisers have arranged for plenty of water for competitors and their steeds to be available throughout the course.

Head vet this year is Kyn Hagan from Kempsey, who will be assisted by Ray Gooley of Mudgee, who has become a legend in this role among the endurance community.

The ride commences at 2am on Sunday morning and riders have 24 hours to complete the course.

The fittest horse test will take place at 8am on Monday morning and presentations to the winners and buckles to those who complete the course will be presented at 10am on Monday.

Sponsors of this year's event are RD Hooper Engineering, Landmark Mudgee, Kelletts Stockfeeds, Price Farm Machinery, Woolprep, Windeyer Hotel, Pat Pilley Earthmoving, McCarroll Motors, Greg's Tyres & Mechanical, Mudgee Rural Supplies and Ian Colley Earthmoving.
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