Winners Rocky Trailblazer Awards 2023

Dear Rocky Trail Racers & Community,

Rocky Trailblazer Awards 2023

It’s time to roll out the orange carpet and celebrate our 2023 Rocky Trailblazer Award winners, this year starting with riders in our cross-country portfolio of events! These riders aren’t just fast, they’re the heart and soul of our mountain biking community.

These awards aren’t just about speed, they’re about heart, community, and the pure joy of mountain biking. Let’s give it up for our winners – they’ve earned every bit of this recognition. Keep shredding, folks!”

In the Major Adult Category, our fierce female champ taking home the Bec Henderson Award is Gwynn McLeod! She’s been tearing up the trails with unmatched consistency and a true love for the sport. And for the juniors, April Foster has been turning heads with her riding skills and engagement in her local community. Congratulations on the Zoe Cuthbert Junior Award for April!

We’d like to commend also our Rising Star Award Winners Emma Rhymer and Brenton Fahey in the Adults and Kasey Daxner and Archie Gibson in the Juniors. A special recognition Community Award is presented to Brett Ryan.

Big props to our patrons, Bec Henderson and Zoe Cuthbert, for leading the charge and inspiring these incredible riders. A massive thank you and “Chapeau” to Zoe for designing our amazing Trophy Design!

Winners 2023

Gwynn McLeod

Winner of 2023 Bec Henderson Award

A true Rocky Trail stalwart, Gwynn’s name is synonymous with grit, tenacity, and an unyielding spirit. Her track record as a multiple Jetblack 24 Hour Champion and her success on the national and international stage of endurance racing speaks volumes about her prowess on the trails. Her technical finesse and innate talent have seen her conquer some of the most formidable races, both at home and on the global stage. Gwynn’s recent repeat-win at the WEMBO 24 Hour World Title in her age category is yet another testament to her indomitable spirit.

“Gwynn, you’re a beacon of inspiration for every aspiring mountain biker out there, and we’re beyond thrilled to present you with the Bec Henderson Award. It’s an accolade well-deserved, we reckon!”

Juliane & Martin

“April, well done and all the best in your future endeavours on the national scene. We’re sure, big things are on the horizon for you and your local MTB community!”

Juliane and Martin

April Foster

Winner of 2023 Zoe Cuthbert Junior Award

April Foster is a junior powerhouse! She’s got grit, determination, and a huge love for mountain biking. Her first-ever mountain bike race at the Willo Enduro with us in 2021 was just the start of her awesome journey, we hear. What’s so cool about April is how she gives her all, not just on the trails but in school too. She’s rocking year 12 and acing all her subjects. And get this – her year 11 geography project was all about MTB trails in the Southern Highlands. She went all out, talking to locals and riders, and found out they need more trails and there’s a ton of potential in the region. That’s not something you hear every day from a student-slash-rider! Plus, her report is now in the hands of the local council.

Emma Rhymer

Winner of 2023 Bec Henderson Rising Star Award

Emma Rhymer is the living proof that it’s never too late to find your passion. From being a complete non-rider to completing the 24H World Championship, Emma’s journey is nothing short of extraordinary. She’s been in the saddle for nine years, and her love for riding is absolutely infectious. What she jokingly calls a “midlife crisis” has transformed her life in the best way possible. The panel couldn’t help but be impressed by Emma’s unwavering determination and her incredibly positive outlook.

“Emma, you’re a shining example of how embracing your passions can lead to incredible accomplishments. You’re a true rising star in the world of mountain biking and we love seeing you race in the Rocky Trail community!”

Juliane & Martin

“Brent, well done on inspiring your students – parents say they witnessed firsthand the boost in confidence and engagement among the students thanks to your support in and out of school. Your contribution to the community is truly commendable.”

Juliane & Martin

Brenton Fahey

Winner of 2023 Bec Henderson Rising Star Award

Brenton Fahey is a true mountain biking enthusiast, and his passion has made a significant impact at Kelso High School in NSW. He’s played a crucial role in introducing a mountain bike program, providing students with an opportunity to explore this thrilling sport. Brenton’s dedication is evident in the countless Rocky Trail events he’s attended with his students, from Rocky Trail Academy to Fox Superflow® and the Jetblack 24 Hour races. The parents of his students have noticed a positive change – not only are their children more enthusiastic about school, but they’ve also embraced mountain biking as a meaningful sport.

Kasey Daxner

Winner of 2023 Zoe Cuthbert Junior Rising Star Award

Kasey Daxner, our rising star, is in her third year of riding with Rocky Trail, and what a journey it’s been! She began as part of a pairs team, alongside her Dad, Jeff, attending events with her family. Now, she’s taken on the challenge of racing solo in this year’s revamped format of the Shimano GP. Kasey’s dedication extends beyond Rocky Trail – for the past four years, she’s proudly represented her school in mountain biking competitions, consistently achieving remarkable results. Often and notably, she’s stood strong as the sole female in the team, showcasing her unwavering commitment to the sport. Weekends are spent honing her skills on the local trails with her Dad, demonstrating a remarkable determination to continually improve.

“We really admire how you’ve recently come back strong from an injury and admire how your MTB journey began with your family – now, you’re making your own indelible mark in the community. Well done and we can’t wait to see you undoubtedly thrive further.”

Juliane & Martin

“Archie, your journey is a testament to your innate talent and passion for riding. We’re excited to see what the future holds for you, you’re an exceptional young rider!”

Juliane & Martin

Archie Gibson

Winner of 2023 Zoe Cuthbert Junior Rising Star Award

Archie, our rising star, has been part of the Rocky Trail family from a tender age, often joining his parents at events. Over time, he’s transitioned from a young spectator to an impressive contender, participating in numerous endurance and Superflow® events. What truly stands out is Archie’s determination and undeniable talent, which have been evident in every race he’s taken on. It’s nothing short of remarkable to witness him fearlessly challenge even the seasoned veterans of Shimano GP racing, especially when he’s on his home track with us!

Brett Ryan

Winner of 2023 Special Recognition Community Award

Brett Ryan is the embodiment of what it means to be a true Rocky Trailblazer. As a steadfast member of our community for years, Brett’s dedication to our events has been unwavering. Alongside his son Tom, they’ve conquered countless races. But it’s not just about racing for Brett – he’s been an invaluable source of support during the tough times, especially when Covid threw us all a curveball. His words of encouragement and insights were nothing short of a lifeline for our Founders, propelling us through the challenging months of March and April 2020.

“Brett, you’re a shining example of what makes our Rocky Trail community so special, and it’s with great pride that we present you with this Special Recognition Community Award. Keep blazing our rocky trails!”

Juliane & Martin

Runner-ups 2023

We’d like to also recognise the amazing efforts of the following #rockytrailracers:

Ella Menigoz

“Ella is exceptionally dedicated and focused, and in inly 2 short years has gone from not knowing what an XCO race is to winning the XCO national series overall. She is dedicated to improving all aspects of her riding: fitness, skills, nutrition, recovery all while completing grade 12.” – Nomination quote

Zoe Grambauer

“Zoe is a highly self motivated teenager who strives for personal achievement in health and physical fitness. […] Zoe is a capable rider, challenging herself with different skills and more complex trails to improve her riding. […] She is a great ambassador for young women in the sport. She is kind, considerate and dedicated in all that she does.” – Nomination quote

Melvey Podmore

Melvey’s first race was with Rocky Trail in VIC in 2022. “He continues to train hard and loves the sport, and has visions of racing for Australia in the future, and it was all because of that first Rocky Trail race at Blores Hill.” – Nomination quote