The Avon Descent, an event that originated in 1973 with just 49 participants, has grown to become an iconic and celebrated race in Western Australia. Over the years, more than 35,000 people have taken part in this thrilling competition, which takes place along the scenic Avon River. One individual, Gary McNamara, a lifetime member of the PDRC, has accomplished an unparalleled feat by competing in an astonishing 45 Avon Descents.
The thrilling two-day race kicks off in the Town of Northam, which lies 100 kilometers east of Perth. The 52-kilometer stretch takes participants downstream, passing through the town of Toodyay and venturing into the scenic upper regions of the Darling Range escarpment.
Day 1 presents challengers with obstacles like the formidable Williamson Weir and the intricate maze of the Ti Trees. After an eventful first day of racing, participants rest at the Cobbler Pool campsite, situated 20 kilometers west of Toodyay.
Day 2 of the race extends over an exhilarating 72 kilometers, offering participants a series of challenges within the valley. This section includes some major white water obstacles, such as Supershoot, Emu Falls, Championship Rapids, and Bells Rapids. The rush of navigating through the valley eventually gives way to a 30-kilometer stretch of flat water, guiding the participants towards Bayswater.
While the victors triumphantly cross the Finish Line, the true achievement lies in merely completing the course.
Scrutineering and Time Trial
On the Saturday before the Avon Descent, participants complete scruitneering and time trials. The day begins at Bells Rapids, where the dinghies undergo scrutineering to ensure they meet the required standards. Following scrutineering, the competitors head to the start point for the time trial.
During the time trial, competitors race from Bells Rapids to Middle Swan Bridge. This trial determines the starting grids for the Avon Descent, which takes place the following weekend. The day is always filled with excitement as participants proudly showcase their new boats, vying to secure favorable starting positions for the main event.
To stay informed with the latest and most up-to-date information about the day, please refer to the Sup Regs [here]
You can access our scruitneering checklist [here], which will assist you in preparing your boat for the event.
Avon practice takes place on the day following the time trial. Competitors have access to the river from the start line in Northam downstream to Posselt’s Ford. This practice day allows participants to experience day 1 of the race firsthand and strategize their path through the ever-changing Ti Trees.
For the latest information, requirements and schedule, please refer to the sup regs [here].
Minimum Requirements to Race in the Avon Descent
A power dinghy competitor must be a member of the PDRC
A driver must be 17 years of age or older.
A deckie may race in the year they turn 17 years of age.
Members who have not previously competed in the Avon descent are required to: Compete in two (2) PDRC events.
Participate in ALL three Below (a, b, and c)
a) Participate in a recognised PDRC Training Day.
b) Compete in the Official Avon Descent Time Trail Event.
c) Participate in the Official Avon Descent practice day.
NOTE. If you compete in one (1) PDRC event prior to the Avon Descent, then you will need to complete only (2) of a, b, or c.
The water level for the race is dependent on the amount of rain received in the catchment area leading up to the event. You can access the current water level by clicking [here]. In general, a water level below 0.6 m is considered “low” revealing more rocks and obstacles, when the level rises above 1 m it’s considered “high” which conceals many of the rocks but introduces the challenge of dealing with stopper waves. Monitoring the water level is essential for participants to assess the conditions and prepare accordingly for the race.
Cobbler Pool campsite serves as both the finish line for Day 1 and the starting point for Day 2 of the Avon Descent. Located 20 km west of Toodyay, this campsite offers public camping without the need for prior booking. Camping fees can be paid upon entry.
Cobbler Pool is off-grid camping, toilet facilities are provided. On event days (Saturday and Sunday), you can find food trucks on-site.
To find out more about Cobbler Pool campsite, visit the Avon Descent website [here].
Google map link [here]