The Maverick Marathon Series has announced announce its return in 2015, with entries into the first round Capital Punishment and second round Giant Odyssey already open and filling up. The big news is that 2015 also sees the inclusion of Queensland’s Flight Centre Epic, and that the Kowalski Classic has chosen to not be part of the series. I had previously speculated that the Epic might make up part of the MTBA XCM Series, but it looks like I was off the mark.
Hayden Brooks from the Epic said “We are excited the Flight Centre Active Travel Cycle Epic will be a part of the Maverick Series in 2015. We look forward to sharing our Epic event with even more local and interstate riders.”
Nearly 5,000 mountain bikers took part in the Maverick Marathon Series in 2014, with riders enjoying the benefits of a series – knowing that it would attract strong fields and that a good race was guaranteed. Something that isn’t always a given on the crowded Australian calendar.
The 2015 event line up will looks like this:
Race 1: Capital Punishment, 7 March, ACT
Capital Punishment traverses a magical route across Canberra on iconic trails including Mount Stromlo and Kowen Forest. Challenging for non-locals, and also requiring some useful tactics for the untimed section – this is a unique race across the nation’s capital.
Race 2: The Giant Odyssey, 21 March, VIC
Giant Odyssey is a long standing and highly popular marathon MTB race, looping a stunning and spectacular route starting and finishing on the renowned single track mecca of Forrest in the Otway Ranges. One of the best events on the calendar.
Race 3: The Flight Centre Epic, 13 September, QLD
The Epic weekend has something for everyone, from novice riders, runners and walkers through to professional athletes in each discipline with over 2,000 riders attracted to this epic event. Starting and finishing at Peppers Hidden Vale also helps the cause! And just because it is under 100km doesn’t mean it should be taken lightly.
Race 4: The CamelBak Highland Fling, 8 November, NSW
The Fling is a MTB event that truly takes you on a journey through singletrack, farm, forest and villages in the stunning Southern Highlands. It’s been around for 10 years, and traces a well worn route through the Southern Highlands.
The same rider ranking structure will be retained for 2015 where riders must complete a minimum of 3 of the 4 races in order to achieve a Maverick Marathon Series result. The points based ranking system takes into account a rider’s overall and age group position as well as the time gap between them and the riders ahead of them, meaning that the fairest and most accurate ranking is generated for all competitors. This system was met with very high praise in 2014 and resulted in some very close racing across multiple age groups and overall. So while it’s not an easy calculation once you have crossed the finish line, it rewards putting in 100% effort, and not just riding for a position.
The 2015 Series will also include both half and full marathon distances with overall full marathon winners receiving the following prize money: 1st $500, 2nd $250, 3rd $100 for both males and female. All prize money is in addition to the (significant) prize money offered at each of the individual races’ own prize pool.
But… why is the popular Kowalski Classic not in the Maverick Series? Australia is awash with marathon MTB races. Or more accurately, Australia is awash with lots of bike races of varying quality. And we’re going to have two series of marathon races touting to have the premier events. The events listed above can rightly say they are some of the best in Australia. But so can at least half a dozen or more marathon races. The Kowalski Classic has won praise for being a race so different to other marathons, in part due to the heavy percentage of singletrack. With MTBA set to announce their six race series, will the Kowalski Classic find a home here, or will it buck the trends like it does with course design and choose a unique path? We’ll have to wait and see.