The name Iron Tor has an epic ring to it and the first strikes of pedal on rock this weekend will herald a new chapter for mountain biking in the north-west of Tasmania.
- The new stage of the Dial Range mountain bike trail will open on Saturday
- Iron Tor is a 15km loop with challenging descents, built by the Cradle Coast Mountain Bike Club
- The club says the trails were built on a fraction of the budget of other parks in the state, and more Government support was needed to complete the project
The trail is a 15-kilometre loop extending from Mount Montgomery around the summit of Mount Dial and forms the second major stage of the Dial Range mountain bike track.
The first stage, the Montgomery Loop, opened early last year and catered to beginner riders.
The highlight of the Iron Tor is its challenging 7km descent along a mountain ridgeline that is dotted with rock features and stunning lookout points.
The Cradle Coast Mountain Bike Club is using the trail’s opening on Saturday to thank a host of volunteers who have helped create the high-quality trail network
Trail designer and builder Marcelo Cardona said the first two stages of the Dial Range track were built on a fraction of the budget used to put Tasmania’s Derby on the world mountain-biking map.
He said he would like to see more State Government investment for the next stage of the Dial Range development, which he believed had already proven its worth by bringing thousands of visitors to the area annually.
“It’s close to the ferry, close to Wild Mersey [Mountain Bike Trails].
“My prediction is that once the borders open again, it’s going to go to 25,000 to 30 or 40,000 [annual users].
“This has been in the making for 7 or 8 years and the end goal for the club has always been to connect from the bike park in the north to 20km of existing trail in the south.”
State Government support needed
The club has also worked closely with Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service in determining the best routes and practices for creating the trails.
The mayor of the Central Coast Council, Jan Bonde, said she was very conscious of the economic benefits stemming from the growth in mountain biking in the region.
“It’s a State Government road up there but we need to be speaking with them because it is busy and getting busier.
“It’s a narrow road and the [Mount Montgomery] carpark gets very full.
“It would be nice to extend that out and make sure more people, including walkers, can use that as an access point to the Dial [Range].”
Mr Cardona said that the crucial third stage for the club was building another 6km of trail, which was dependent funds, that would connect Mount Dial to the Mount Gnomon carpark to open up the trails to the south.
“So, if the club managed to get some Government support, we could get to that stage,” he said.
“Then you have people potentially riding multiple days, even staying nights along the way.
“You know Derby was $10-million Government investment and it’s just fantastic. Brilliant.