In 2015 and 2016 the Australian XCM Championships went to Derby, Tasmania. The new trails that were opened the previous February would now have many of the countries fastest marathon races set upon them. Brendan Johnston proved himself to be the best two years running, while Jenny Blair and Peta Mullens took the titles in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
The next two years have the Australian XCM Championships heading to Townsville. With a lap based race planned again, we will continue to have Australia’s national title decided on a lap based course, and not a ‘true’ marathon as a point to point event. That has benefits though, making it far easier for MTBA to provide up to date media exposure throughout the race, it is easier for people feeding racers, and it allows for a consistent tech/feed zones suiting the events UCI standing.
The race will take place at Pallarenda, near an old quarantine station. Current race plans have the start at Jezzine Barracks, an important fort for Townsville during World War 2. But with eight pancake flat kilometres of bike path or road between the barracks and the trails – we’re hoping this is revised.
The proposed lap is about 24km, using the entirety of trail at Pallarenda – this really offers great scope for a trail expansion for 2018, so the course can be modified in its second year. The trails essentially make a figure 8, and the race will run along the outside of it in an anti-clockwise direction.
The XCM Championships schedule
As in previous years, Masters and other age groups will race on Saturday, with elite racing on Sunday. This should be a perfect way to ensure both days get some support, both for spectating and helping in feed zones.
Beyond the XCM Championships
If you’re concerned it’s a long way to go for a bike race, consider staying a bit longer. Townsville are putting on a whole mountain bike festival and the XCM Championships are just the start. There will be casual rides, an invite only downhill race and more.
Townsville isn’t close to Sydney or Melbourne – but it’s no bad thing that it is a world away.