Derby: dive in with Gary Sowter

Derby: dive in with Gary Sowter

"It was 2 years in the making, lots of procrastination and planning with 3 young kids, basically we just sold up everything and took a chance."
2019 MTBA National DH Championships Reading Derby: dive in with Gary Sowter 5 minutes Next I Called Shotgun!

Photography by Stuart Gibson

We recently sat down with Gary Sowter, founder of Premium MTB Transfers, Black Crow Carbon and Australian distributor for Nextie.

Let’s start with who, what, when, where…

Gary Sowter, Ginger, 1981, New Zealand

What are your current rides?

2019 Specialized Stump Jumper 29er
2019 Commencal Meta Power 29er 

Making the move from Brisbane to Tasmania would’ve been quite the task?

It was 2 years in the making, lots of procrastination and planning with 3 young kids, basically we just sold up everything and took a chance. We drove down with our van and a trailer load of essentials.

You’ve grown Premium MTB Transfers in to a very successful business, how has it grown compared to what you expected?

It’s totally exceeded my expectations, Tasmania as a riding destination is going off!  The massive growth I've seen in the past 18 months, both with the development of new trails and the extra visitation numbers to Tasmania has blown me away.

When did you start it up and what are some milestones?

September, 2017 I had the idea, It was February, 2018 when I first turned a wheel.  The past 12 months has been a total blur.  Big hours driving and over 60,000km travelled in less than six months

For people wanting to do a Derby / Maydena trip, what’s your recommendations on how to do it?

Personally I'd go to Derby first, get your bike and riding dialled in and then head to Maydena, to ride Maydena to its full potential you have to be on top of your game and have a reliable capable bike to throw down the hill.  The two destinations are chalk and cheese. Totally different experience at each.

Photography by Richard Tebb

With both places being quite small, how do they go with accommodation and facilities?

Derby Township has come a long way. It has everything you need now, accommodation can get a bit tight in the busier times, so definitely do your research and book ahead. Maydena is the same accommodation wise but the town itself is lacking in a lot of areas. However, the park picks up the slack providing everything else you might need.

With continued visitation to both areas investment will continue and more services and accommodation will be provided just a matter of time. 

How long would you suggest in each place?

Minimum 3 - 4 days at each to get the full experience.

What’s your favourite trails and what are some must rides while visiting?

I'm bias because I live not too far from Blue Derby

Kuma Gutsa - Perfect mix of tech and flow and so many line choices depending on how much you want to challenge yourself. 

Roxanne into Air Ya Garn - Nice fast rocky tech trail finishing off with a fast jump line to send it back to town. 

Flickety Sticks into Deadly Bugga - Old school classic and a new Derby flow trail, Mello or Intense depending how hard you want to ride.

Shearpin into 23 Stitches - Intense boulder garden, steep technical , ROUGH , choose your lines carefully or you’ll destroy your bike and body.

Blue Tier + Atlas + Trouty - All day FLOW adventure with a pub lunch in the middle, finish on the iconic Trouty with amazing views and nice steep techy flow back into Derby

Are there any other places that you frequently take people that are a bit unknown?

Wild Mersey, Holly Bank MTB Park, 10km Juggernaut Trail, Penguin MTB Park

Are there any big projects started or starting soon in Tassie that will help add to the already extensive trail networks there?

St Helens / Bay of fires is a big one. 44km wilderness trail, from the top of the Blue Tier to the east coast and another 60km of local single track in St Helens.

Latrobe, Railton, Sheffield areas, each with a single track network and interconnecting trails between each town.

I know you’ve been juggling a few businesses, can you share them for the readers?

• PremiumMTB Transfers
Black Crow Carbon
Nextie Carbon AU

Photography by Richard Tebb

What’s in store for the future business wise? 

I simply got too busy with the transfers business and was spreading myself a bit thin with my other businesses, so decided to put it up for sale. The business has gone to a Derby local who I'm confident will continue to grow it and deliver a great product.

I have been in development and setting up stage with Black Crow for the past 12 months and recently went live with the new rims and wheel sets, and now want to focus on building that business

I'm also the Australian and New Zealand local customer and warranty support for the direct to consumer brand Nextie and will continue with that. This is allowing me to work from home and  balance work, life and family time!

Simon Noble

Written by Simon Noble

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