LAUNCESTON mountain bike couple Ben Mather and Rowena Fry claimed the inaugural men's and women's individual titles after taking out the Cataract Gorge Challenge multi-sport event at the iconic Launceston location yesterday.
Mather and Fry plus the winning Next Level Kayaking and Avanti Plus team took home the Bob McMahon Memorial trophies for their efforts.
About 120 athletes completed the challenge, which included an eight-kilometre kayak leg on the South and North Esk rivers, a 30 kilometre road cycle from the First Basin to Longford and return, and an 8km trail run from the Basin to Duck Reach and return.
Competitors then tackled a 14km mountain bike course on new tracks at the Trevallyn Reserve and a scaled ropes course that included a low-level crossing over the rapids, a high-flying zip-line reaching speeds of 50km/h and a scale of Kings Bridge.
``We were happy with the numbers of competitors who turned out because it is a new event and unique format and there might have been some uncertainty because of that with people not sure how many events they could choose,'' co-founder Cade Smith said.
``The winners were decided on cumulative time basis for each event in the individual and teams' event.
``The top five finishers in the kayak leg in the morning battled it out later in the day in a kayak dash for cash on a triangular course on the First Basin.
``They were joined by Michael Klim who may have preferred to swim rather than kayak but he did an amazing job and was a wonderful guy to have involved as an ambassador for our inaugural event.''
Smith said spectators enjoyed the racing as well as the relaxed atmosphere of the beautiful gorge surrounds lazing in bean bags or on picnic blankets and partaking of fine food and wine options on offer and appreciating to the musical entertainment provided.
Event organisers promised that the successful multi-sport challenge, which is ideal for elite talent and novice excitement seekers, would definitely be back next year.