24 Hour racing has been changing in recent years. While the crowds might not be as huge as they were around 2004 and onwards, the events are no less relevant to mountain bikers in Australia. The events themselves have changed, and each one has it’s own character and purpose.
Mountain Bike Australia has just announced the 2014 Australian Solo 24 Hour National Championships. The annual event that has significantly contributed to Australia leading the world in 24 hour solo mountain biking has been awarded to Sydney promoter Rocky Trail Entertainment for 2014, being held in conjunction with the JetBlack 24HR Sydney race on the 29th & 30th November 2014 at the Australian Botanical Gardens, Mt Annan, NSW.
MTBA President Russ Baker welcomed the award of the 2014 Australian Solo 24 Hr Championships to Rocky Trail Entertainment.
“The Australian Solo 24 Hour Championships were an initiative of Canberra Off-Road Cyclists (CORC) in 2004 and CORC have carried the baton for this sport for 10 successive national championships and 2 world championships, all held in the Canberra region. CORC’s commitment and dedication to Solo 24 Hour racing has seen Australians rise to be Elite world champions 9 times in this period, together with numerous age-group and single-speed champions. I thank CORC for all they have done for this sport during this period and look forward to Rocky Trail’s stewardship of this event in 2014.”
And of course, with heavy rains hitting Canberra and the surrounding regions in early April, the Mont 24hr race, perhaps the feel good MTB event of the year, has been rescheduled to late October – now running on the 25-26th October. The Mont is known for amazing trails, an event centre that can be more entertaining than most small towns, and slick race organisation. The Mont now falls one month before the Solo 24 Hour National Championships, but the focus of the Mont is less on the racing, more on the riding – it is a great introduction to mountain bike events for those entering in a team.
Now move a month earlier to the 27-28 September, and we have the longest running 24 Hour Mountain Bike race – called the Scott 24hr Mountain Bike Championships in 2014, and run by Canberra Off Road Cyclist (CORC). The Scott has drawn huge numbers for years, but it also used to sit in early to mid October.
So now we have three major 24 Hour MTB races all in pretty close proximity to another. One is great for competitive teams, another a great event to ride and race your mountain bike and get into mountain bike events, and the other is a great kick into summer – with a green and gold jersey on the line for the Solo riders. So many choices!
Australia does boast both reigning World Solo 24 Hour Champions at the Elite level – Jason English (NSW) and Jess Douglas (VIC). And now we need to consider another race – WEMBO, the 24 Hour Solo World Championships. This year, they are taking place in Fort William, Scotland, on October 11-12. So for the competitive minded solo racer, things just got a bit busy.
A busy calendar is nothing new for an Australian mountain biker, after so many Marathon races scheduled from March-May in 2014. With the shape that Spring is taking, it could be a case of split numbers between those three big 24hr races in Australia – or perhaps riders might get to two of them. But if you add in some major marathon races like the Dwellingup 100, Flight Centre Epic, Kowalski Classic and Highland Fling, there’s not much room in Spring!
If the calendar is full, what’s going to survive?