Tony Abbott and Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker riding in Sunday’s Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge.
Tony Abbott and Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker riding in Sunday’s Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge. Rob Wright

Out-of-towners boost turnout

SUNDAY'S NAB Cycle Challenge hosted by Coffs City Rotary was easily the biggest and the best.

Now into its third year, the Cycle Challenge had more than 420 riders take part in the three events but more importantly, it raised more than $25,000 for local charities.

"So far that's the greatest participation numbers that we've had," Coffs City Rotary's race director Graham Lockett said.

"In essence the Cycle Challenge is growing every year."

While there was a large contingent of local riders who took to the region's roads on a day race organisers could only dream about weather-wise, Mr Lockett said there were riders entered from Queensland, Victoria and a big turnout from Canberra.

"The feedback was fantastic and the riders said they want to do it again," Mr Lockett said.

"I think if we're going to make it grow it will be mostly out-of-towners. We're always going to get 200 or 250 locals take part."

Mr Lockett added the success of Sunday's rides was due to the strong support of volunteers.

He named the Bellingen and Sawtell Rotary clubs as two organisations that offered tremendous assistance.

There was also Coffs Harbour Cycle Club, Bonville P&C, members of the Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service as well as a wide range of individual volunteers happy to give up their time.

The race director pointed out the help of Coffs Harbour Surf Life Saving Club, who set up a first aid facility as well as local police and ambulance officers, who provided escort vehicles.

"It was a marvellous community event where the community was involved in the running of the show as well as a lot of community members participating in the event itself," he said.



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