The Crocodile Trophy traditionally takes place every year in Cairns, Queensland. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event wasn’t held in 2020 and 2021. While the 2019 edition marked the 25th anniversary of this iconic mountain bike stage race, it was not to be the last. From the 4th to the 12th of November 2022, riders came back for this nine-day event that would take them from Cairns to Port Douglas.
The Crocodile Trophy event has a prologue and eight stages, during which riders compete in several categories. Both men and women take part in this tournament and get to see some interesting sights while battling it out for the trophy. As the challenge takes riders through bushland, lush rainforests, the Outback, over rivers, and to the gorgeous Four Mile Beach, there is a lot to take in as well.
The tournament has an experienced crew of mechanics, doctors, physiotherapists, chefs, photographers, and other local experts that are always available to more than 100 participants that join the race every year.
The Rocky Trail Racing Team was represented by two riders this year: Martin Wisata and Andrew Radcliffe.
Born and raised in Austria, Martin Wisata has loved bikes from a very young age. He used to ride a bike to school every day and finds freedom while cycling. In 2003, him and his wife Juliane moved to Australia where they quickly found the passion for mountain biking. Naturally Martin caught the racing bug exploring the great outdoors of Down Under, taking up competing in mountain biking events. Together with his now also business partner Juliane he is the co-founder of Rocky Trail Entertainment, one of Australia’s major private mountain bike event organisers. Founded in 2008, the business organises competitive races with over 40 annual gravity enduro Superflow®, cross-country and Rocky Trail Acadmey schools events along the East Coast of Australia. Juliane and Martin’s passion for trail-based activities and supporting the growth of regional tourism in Australia for over a decade with their events has led to the foundation of sister company Rocky Trail Destination Pty Ltd. The shared vision with the consulting business is to enable and initiate the creation of sustainable whole-of-community benefits and growth through nature-based tourism.
The 2022 Crocodile Trophy is his 11th completed race and Martin says that racing in the rugged, hot and humid Outback country in Tropical North Queensland never ceases to fascinate him. As a matter of fact, in 2019, he set the record in this tournament for most races completed in a row, 10 at the time.
While his final result might not have been as strong as in 2019 when he won his age group, he’s still happy with the outcome. This time around he managed to finish the prologue and all eight stages of the race, with a total race time of 36:39:25. In the Men Masters 40 category, he ranked 12th, 06:49:23 behind the winner Werner van der Merwe.
He says that the key to a good race is feeling good on the bike and comfortable in the racing garments. If the gear is uncomfortable, days 6, 7, and 8 can be very difficult. In addition to his trusty Pivot bike with Shimano and Fox components, it is also very important for him to have his competition Owayo racing outfit and gear set and ready throughout the tournament. The garments he chooses have been withstanding the harsh racing conditions exceptionally well. Martin is among the adventurous camping competitors, so it is important that the garments can be cleaned fast and that the outfit dries well. In Martin’s experience the quality of the fabric is very important, because it ensures that the garments keep performing at race pace, colours don’t fade and keep looking good. This allows him representing his sponsors well, keeps him visible during all stages of the tournament – and standing out in the photos and race videos
Also taking part in the tournament was Andrew Radcliffe. He competed in the Men Grand Masters 60 category and finished 5th, with a total time of 47:26:51. He trailed the winner Michael Wilson by 10:48:33 but can be very proud of his accomplishment in the group for men over 60.
This was the seventh Crocodile Trophy event for the Australian that took up mountain biking almost 15 years ago.
If all goes according to plan, the 27th edition of the tournament is scheduled to take place from the 5th to the 11th of November 2023.
Photos courtesy of Sportograf and Regina Stanger