Safe, friendly, family riding fun. That was the aim for a revised 2020 Crows Nest Funduro and the Crows Nest State School P&C delivered! Teaming up once again with the Crows Nest Pony Club, the P&C were focused on improving on the 2019 Funduro and bringing in more riders. From a small attendance of 73 riders in 2019, the 2020 Funduro has more than doubled with 159 riders attending. The response from riders attending both years has been fantastic and next year should see the Funduro reach its capped rider numbers of 250.
For over 20 years the former Crows Nest Trail Ride was a favourite for riders on the Dalby Moto Ride Calendar. Every year for one weekend in November the small town of Crows Nest would be buzzing as riders from all over the state would arrive for some of the best trail loops around. The local school and community benefited greatly from the massive fundraising capabilities of such a popular event. At its peak over 1200 riders attended the Crows Nest Trail Ride but the strain on the land and volunteers was becoming evident. After some of the worst dry years on record and coupled with bio security and decreasing property sizes in the district, the need for a new approach to riding became apparent.
In 2019 a new ride format coupled with a new event name was proposed. From this proposal the Crows Nest Funduro was created. The goal for the Funduro was to keep Trail Riding alive in the Crows Nest district but in a more sustainable and manageable format. The P&C has current members who have been involved with the trail ride since its beginning back in the 90’s and were again involved in the first meetings with the Crows Nest Pony Club. Upon inspection of the Pony Club’s 80 acre facilities which feature a canteen, toilet/shower block, camp ground and acres of bushland, the Funduro had found a home.
For 2019 around 4km of single trail track was hand carved through the dense bush using every available area of the acreage. 3km of that track was dedicated to novice riders and the other 1km which included an Enduro X course (built by T&M) was to be used for senior riders. The senior riders also had an 80km scenic road loop for registered bikes and licensed riders. A Gymkhana paddock and Pee Wee paddock were set up and thanks to T&M Earthmoving a motocross track was also built.
The stage was set for a fantastic weekend of riding in 2019 but unfortunately the confusion surrounding the 80km road loop and the new Funduro name saw rider interest at an all-time low. Both the P&C and Pony Club struggled to cover costs in 2019 but the feedback from the small number of riders attending kept the committees keen to try again.
The most distinct feedback from 2019 was” it’s great for the kids”, and ” the kids have gained so much confidence “. With this in mind it was back to the drawing board…
For 2020 the decision was made to focus on a family-friendly Funduro. The road loop was to be dropped and more effort directed towards family off-road riding. Negotiations were made with neighbours Paul and Susan O’Brien, to use their land. This allowed for another 3km of single trail track to be hand carved through the bush allowing for a 7km trail loop which was to be used by all riders. The trail loop was widened and most logs removed to create a flowing novice-level trail which all riders could enjoy. T&M Earthmoving were once again onboard and with the help of new sponsors Rhino Machinery Hire the motocross track received a major upgrade. Ryan from Rhino Machinery Hire widened the track and shaped up berms and jumps to create a track to cater for all rider levels depending on the lines chosen. Once again the Gymkhana paddock was running and with the addition of a digital display and automated timing system for the barrels (courtesy of the Pony Club) , riders really got involved. It was fantastic to see big bikes and little bikes all waiting their turn together, a true family riding experience.
The Pee Wee track remained unchanged for 2020 but we did add some decorations, farm animals and even a scarecrow which were a hit amongst our smallest riders. Parents simply love the safety of the Pee Wee paddock and comment constantly on how safe the layout is. A new “Kids Mini Bush Track” was established next to the Pee Wee paddock for 2020 and was an absolute hit for intermediate riders. At around 650m in length the Mini Bush Track allowed young riders to get amongst some trees on single trail but still be supervised from the shade of a tree or tent. The Enduro X course for 2020 had double the obstacles thanks to T&M Earthmoving and provided optional challenges for even the most skilled riders. Local school teacher /entertainer and Funduro volunteer Dan Smith built and donated a ride-over see-saw for the Enduro X course. Saturday afternoon saw an Enduro X display put on for the crowd and finished off the day on a high.
Reflecting as trail boss on the 2020 Crows Nest Funduro I could not be prouder of the event. Thanks to the Pony Club, land holders, fantastic sponsors, volunteers and riders the sport of off-road riding once again has a future in our district. The new event layout is manageable for our committees whilst still bringing fundraising potential each year. Watching young riders attend their first riding event is always amazing and this year I again witnessed families with 3 generations riding together. We had riders travel long distances this year in pursuit of safe family riding fun and knowing that they left happy and ready to spread the word makes all the hard work worth it. The 2020 Funduro has been a great success and has now definitely secured us a place on the off-road riding calendar for the future. I look forward to working with the P&C, Pony Club, land holders and Motorcycling Queensland as we plan for 2021.