‘I guess you could say it involves a lot of mind strength. For example, if you worry that you’re going to miss the gap jump – then you’ll case it really bad. I’ve seen a kid break both ankles missing a gap jump,’ Sarah Craft says as she turns to her older sister, Laura. ‘Remember that, Laura?’
‘Yep,’ says Laura, shaking her head, ‘that was pretty bad. You definitely have to be ready for a mental challenge. But not in a bad way. It’s more like believing in yourself and willing yourself over the gaps and jumps.’
Sarah is in Year 9 at Fairholme, while Laura is Year 10. They took all their mental strength and girl power with them to Adelaide last month for the National Gravity Enduro, and became the best in Australia, in their categories.
Laura won the Junior division, which is for 21 years and under, while Sarah won the Under 15s.
Laura’s entry was part of an EWS category, which means she was qualifing for the World Series. Her win means she’s through to the Worlds in Tasmania next March.
Sarah looks more excited about this than Laura.
‘She did so well! I’m too young to qualify yet. I’ll have to wait two more years,’ she says.
Despite their excitement, the girls admit the sport is not gaining a lot of momentum from other young girls.
‘We’ve tried to get more girls into it, and it’s kind of disappointing when you see the numbers here locally,’ says Laura.
‘It’s hard to gauge where you are at on trails, when you’re only up against three other girls on weekends.’
The girls train at Jubilee Park, and will spend the holidays trying out other paths across Australia.
The girls’ Mum and Dad also ride.
‘Yeah Dad got us into it, and then we all got Mum into it. Although she’s had a few weeks off, because she broke her ankle.’
And yes, both the girls have trail biking injuries.
‘Laura broke her collarbone and even though Laura doesn’t believe it counts as a break – I chipped my femur, and I think it qualifies as a break!’
But the girls say they’re so well protected on their 11 speed bikes, they almost feel untouchable.
‘The thing is, when you get ready to race, you have to wear so much protection – chest plates, full finger gloves, knee pads, elbow pads, goggles, full helmet – I mean you feel so safe when you’re in that gear.’
The girls also play basketball, and not surprisingly wanted to have a go at motorcross.
‘We’re not allowed to because as soon as you add a motor to a bike, you add another level of danger. But it would be pretty cool because a lot of girls who do Enduro are motorcross riders.’
Both girls will ride over the holidays, before Laura competes at the World Series in March 2019.