Almost three months out from the sixth annual Cape to Cape MTB the field is full and registrations have closed. An incredible 1,200 riders from around Australia and the world have signed up to tackle the four day test of endurance starting October 24. Riders will descend upon the iconic Augusta Lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin from the far-flung reaches of the planet, including New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, Russia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the UAE, France, South Africa and Hong Kong just to name a few.
The Cape to Cape MTB is one of WA’s most successful home-grown events, having gone from inception to the nation’s largest multi-stage mountain bike race in just five years. It is now a permanent fixture on the mountain biking calendar and attracts an enviable field of elite and recreational riders.
“We’re absolutely blown away by the interest in the event and how registrations have just exploded for 2013. We increased capacity by 25% this year but have sold out three months from the event,” said Event Director Jason Dover. “To have a field of over 50 elite riders, including past and present Olympians, along with more than 1,100 weekend warriors this far out from the event is huge.”
London 2012 Australian Olympic MTB representatives Dan McConnell and Bec Henderson will both be returning to the Cape to Cape MTB this year to continue their world-leading form. Since competing on the London world stage, McConnell became the first Australian rider since Cadel Evans in 2000 to win an elite cross-country World Cup at the opening round of the 2013 UCI MTB World Cup XCO series in Albstadt, Germany in May. After four rounds McConnell sits second in the UCI World Cup standings and remains firmly entrenched in the World Top 10 rankings.
Fresh from her London stint, Bec Henderson has since earned 1st place at the World Cup in Germany U23, 1st place at the Oceania MTB Championships U23 and 1st place in the Australian National Championships U23 and like McConnell, remains in second place in the current UCI World Cup U23 standings.
Continuing the Olympic flavor, one of Australia’s most successful Olympians Susie O’Neill (aka Madam Butterfly) will also simultaneously test her fitness and celebrate her 40th birthday on two wheels by participating in this year’s event.
This level of national and international recognition that the event now commands is a testament to the event’s supporters and sponsors, including the State Government through Eventscorp.
Eventscorp’s Executive Director Gwyn Dolphin said the agency had been a proud sponsor of the Cape to Cape MTB since its inception in 2008.
“It has been fantastic to see this home-grown event increase in popularity every year, to now attracting 1,200 elite and recreational riders from Australia and the world,” he said. “I would like to congratulate the organisers for their hard work in what promises to be a very successful event.”
The Cape to Cape MTB Race has managed to capture the interest of elite racers and weekend warriors, something that other MTB Stage races in Australia have not managed to the same extent. Whether it is the organisation, time of year, community support, quality of racing, courses – or perhaps the right mix of all of these – must be of great interest to other events around the country.
MarathonMTB.com will be represented in Western Australia by contributor Anthony Shippard, who will report daily on the race. You can also follow “Shippo” on Twitter, @antship.
“The Cape to Cape stage race has grown over the last few years to arguably become the #1 MTB stage race in Australia. A very high quality Elite field, with such depth, is always an attraction, but its also clear that an event which requires time from work and family, travel plans, and logistics yet still sells out 1200 spots – not just to elite riders without families or ‘real-life’ commitments – but all sorts, from across Australia, is doing something very well that is rightly recognised. I’m delighted to be part of it this year.” More from Shippo next week.