Gundy geared up for Hell of the West Carnival, February 6-7

THE annual Barambah Organics Hell of the West triathlon will go ahead in Goondiwindi on Saturday and Sunday, February 6 and 7 and will celebrate 30 years amid another set of unique challenges. 

With 430 individuals and 80 teams vying for the Hell of the West, the competition is regarded as Queensland’s toughest triathlon.

Returning to the field are some of the sport’s biggest names.

World Champion Tim Reed, Australian Ironman title holder, Tim Van Berkel and young guns, Simon Hearn and Steve McKenna will lead the men’s pack.

From the women’s field, world-ranked Amelia Watkinson, international powerhouse Ellie Salthouse and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist, Gillian Backhouse will race against a quality field.

“Support for this year’s event has been fantastic,” race director Tim Richards said.

“Entries are up year on year. Whilst running a COVID Safe Event certainly presents its challenges, fewer events at a national level and the promotion of intrastate travel, has encouraged athletes and their families to support smaller events in their own backyard.”

The GTH+ Super Saturday has quickly established itself over the years, with visitors looking to escape to the country for a weekend outdoors.

Featuring a 5km and 10km charity run, a sprint triathlon for people looking to ‘give triathlon a go’, and, ‘Hell Kids’, a participation race for children aged 6-11 years, the weekend has something for everyone.

“Support from the local community is what drives this event. We have over 300 volunteers that help to facilitate the race as well as strong support from local sponsors and the business community.  The Goondiwindi Tri Club comprising over 100 members helps to produce the event every year. Without everyone, we couldn’t facilitate the event at the standard we do,” Richard said.

The Hell of the West began in 1989 as a short course co-founded by local novice triathletes, Lex Dreier and David Vincent.

The first race comprised 40 athletes.

In 1990, the event quickly transitioned to a long course, comprising a 2km swim, 80km bike ride and 20km run, to establish national recognition.

Thirty years later, the event continues to operate and is more widely facilitated by the Goondiwindi Tri Club, Triathlon Queensland, Goondiwindi Regional Council and support from tourism-based industry bodies, Southern Queensland Country Tourism and Tourism Events Queensland.

With visitors and guests participating in events across the weekend, the festival attracts more than 2500 people to the region.

Mayor of Goondiwindi Regional Council Lawrence Springborg AM said The Hell of the West was a major event for the Goondiwindi region.

“It is an event our community is extremely proud of and to be able to celebrate 30 years this year, demonstrates this region at its best,” Cr Springborg said. 

“It has involved thousands of volunteers and significant business support over the years to reach such a remarkable milestone.  The event promotes our region to visitors from near and far, which is great for the local economy, and a credit to the organisers that they can continue to attract large crowds resulting in booked out hotels and motels. 

“I have confidence the committee will deliver another safe, action-packed, family-friendly event to kick start the New Year,” he said.

A number of free activities in the Goondiwindi Town Park will be on offer across the weekend as well as a chance to discover more on farming in the region.

On Sunday morning, a celebratory 30-year breakfast with local produce from around the region will be on offer to thank the local community, volunteers and visitors and their guests for their ongoing support.

For more information or to enter the 2021 Festival of Hell, visit

Media Release: Thursday, January 21, 2021