The name Martin Wisata is “synonymous with mountain biking in Australia” as the Cyclist Magazine recently wrote about him.
Born in a small town in Austria, Martin has been calling Australia home since 2003 when he moved here with his now wife Juliane. After careers in retail and direct marketing and conference management, now together they run one of the major mountain bike events promoters, Rocky Trail Entertainment.
As such, it was sooner or later that the Austria-based organisers of the Crocodile Trophy would get in touch with the Rocky Trail guys. Martin started as a volunteer, marking the race track with the Croc-owner Gerhard Schoenbacher in 2008 and 2009. You guessed right, he couldn’t watch the racers any longer from the front seat of a bumpy 4WD – he just had to get in amongst the action himself.
Currently, Martin Wisata maintains a “healthy addiction” to the Crocodile Trophy, having completed seven races – from crawling across the finish line in the first year to actually racing for podium positions in 2016. In between are years and months of training. It is the one event each year, Martin says, that motivates him to go out and ride, even on a windy or rainy and especially on a hot day on the Central Coast, where Juliane and he now live with their toddler son. He says,
“In away for me it’s a holiday, all I need to do is ride my bike every day, for eight days straight and in between I get to spend the time with like-minded mountain bikers and cyclists from all over the world. I’ve and we’ve met so many wonderful people over the years and some really special friendships have come out of that.”
Has he ever thought about giving up during a Croc race?
“Yes, once, years ago, 10km before the finish in Laura. It was so hot, the road was so corrugated with loose sand. Pedaling still felt like standing still… I was so exhausted but standing on the side of the road? Waiting for the finisher car in the heat? That wasn’t a fun option either. So that’s why I kept going and somehow made it across the finish line. I’ll never forget that feeling.”
Juliane and Martin have become a part of the “Crocodile Trophy family”, as all the participants do and over the years they have taken on supporting roles within the organisation as well. Martin as an event ambassador and rider representative at the races as well as an advisor when it comes to track choice and operational matters with his experience as an event organiser himself. Juliane has been supporting the event as the Press Officer over the years and manages the social media portals for the organisers. Not only for Martin, but also for Juliane the Crocodile Trophy is an annual highlight – she says,
“We both have been watching the Crocodile Trophy films on TV when we were kids back home and I think it all contributed to us falling in love with this country. Travelling with the Croc I really get this big surge of ‘Aussieness’ – it’s all I’ve every dreamed of coming here: 4WD, being out in the bush and in remote areas and at the same time have those wonderfully tropical days as well.”
Now doubt Martin is going to give it a good go in 2017 as well – 670km. 10,500vm. 8 days. good luck, mate!