(L-R) Michelle Newstead, Grant Hodgins, Benjamin Luxton, and Brendan Howard from the Grafton Cycle Club all competed in the 2023 WEMBO (World Endurance Mountain Bike Organisation) World Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championships earlier this month. Image: contributed

Cycle of championships for Grafton riders in WEMBO

Emma Pritchard


The Grafton Cycle Club is celebrating after four of its members achieved outstanding results in the 2023 WEMBO (World Endurance Mountain Bike Organisation) World Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championships.

Michelle Newstead, Benjamin Luxton, Grant Hodgins, and Brendan Howard returned to the Clarence Valley with two world championship titles and an Australian title respectively following the event which was held in Armidale on November 4 and 5.

Describing the competition as “really tough”, Mr Hodgins secured the world championship in his age division (40-44 Years) after completing multiple laps of the 14km course in 23 hours and 50 minutes and cycling an impressive 320km.

And while the final results were a lot closer than he anticipated, he couldn’t be prouder of his feat.

“It was really hard on my body,” he recalled.

“But I just kept pushing, and to come away with a world championship title at my first WEMBO, it’s a great feeling.

“Everyone from the Grafton Cycle Club rode exceptionally well.

“Ben finished second in the Under 23 Years, Brendan finished fourth in the 45-49 Years, and while she was involved in a crash about halfway through the event, Michelle continued riding for another 10 hours and won the world championship tile in her age division (55-59 Years).

“The event results were also used to determine the Australian Solo 24hr MTB Champion, which Michelle also won.”

While Mr Hodgins celebrated by catching up on some much-needed sleep, Ms Newstead told the Clarence Valley Independent she will be also be giving her body a rest while she recovers from a rib injury sustained during the event.

“At about eight and a half hours into the ride, I made a mistake on a corner and fell pretty hard,” she recalled.

“I was a bit winded, but I kept on riding because I wanted to finish, and we had a fantastic support crew.

“Being a new world championship title holder, it’s still a very hard thing to say out loud, but I’m incredibly proud of all of us and our achievements over the weekend.”