News has broken that the Easter in the Alice stage race in Alice Springs will be part of a new Australian National Marathon MTB Series for 2015. After the Real Insurance XCM Series of 2014, there has been little talk of 2015 as of yet. The Maverick Marathon Series still has two of four events to run. This will be the first time a National level MTB event has been held in the Northern Territory, which is something that the hosts in Alice Springs should be proud of. As a 4 stage, 3 day race, it is just Stage 1 that counts for the Series. The amount of riding (and racing) on offer in Alice Springs, along with being held at Easter, should encourage riders to stay a little longer.
With a round in the Northern Territory, perhaps this is a move to a truly National Series, like the XCO series for 2014/2015. There are many strong events on the Australian Calendar, but it remains to be seen which will be included into a National Series. What is even more important is how many races are required to qualify for the Series. Travelling extensively around our country is not without significant cost. A National Series could cover a broad range of events around the country, but a well thought out ranking system and point score will be required to declare a series winner, similar to that used by the original Real Insurance XCM Series, or by the Maverick Marathon Series. It may even be worth have a primary and secondary series, with greater points at older, more prestigious events, known to draw a big crowd and hard racing at the elite level. A short list of races I’d like to see additionally involved in the primary series are: – Capital Punishment (Canberra, ACT) – Giant Odyssey (Forrest, VIC – Wombat 100 (Woodend, VIC) – Convict 100 (St Albans, NSW) – Dwellingup 100 (Dwellingup, WA) – Flight Centre Epic (Grandchester, QLD) – Kowalski Classic (Kowen, NSW) – Highland Fling (Bundanoon, NSW)
With additional races which can accrue points being in a secondary series, be it due to their distance from major population centres or the age of the event. – AMB 100 (Canberra, ACT) – Paluma Push (Townsville, QLD) – Golden Triangle Epic (Bendigo, VIC) – Mackay Mtn Marathon (Eungalla, QLD) – Hellfire Cup (A stage of it) – Cape to Cape (A stage of it) – Port to Port (A stage of it) Or of course, something similar to that breakdown. We have a lot of races in Australia, and one coherent series and point score is required to make them work together. A lot of riders and racers will eagerly await further announcements from MTBA about the 2015 series – we will keep you in touch with the news.
It would be more work still, but why couldn’t lap based endurance races like the SIngletrack Mind Series or Shimano MTB GP count towards rankings – at a lower level again. Each state has races that could fit in here, even entire stage races might have each stage qualify for a similar amount of points.
It all starts to hark back to the original CycleNation ranking system. Perhaps it needed to be adopted by more organisers and federations back in 2011?