Cyclocross has become the lost cousin in Australian cycling. If you’re reading this somewhere outside of the world’s largest island, you’ll probably be chuckling, wondering how cyclocross races can run in Australia. Do we have to race kangaroos? Wrestle a sheep? Is it too hot? Do we even have mud?
While I can attest that a cyclocross race in a Brisbane winter is very nice – just not what you’d expect – southern states have an ability to turn the appropriate ‘cross weather on with ease. Cyclocross races in and around Melbourne are hard fought, on challenging courses in testing conditions.
And while cyclocross is neither road cycling nor mountain biking, it seems to have attracted more mountain biking elite than road elite. Even though Instagram would suggest that getting drop bar equipped bikes off tar is highly popular – and hip. But it’s MTBA who have nabbed Cyclocross in Australia. It is on dirt, afterall. And while Cycling Australia are excellent at emailing a press release, MTBA seem to be better at putting an event on for offroad cyclists.
Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) have announced the Cyclocross National Series and Cyclocross National Championships for the next three years – which makes planning pretty easy if you’re the spreadsheet type.
The National Series rounds and National Championships will be held around the country at locations still to be announced.
Mountain Bike Australia President Russ Baker welcomed the announcement of the long-term plan.
“MTBA’s commitment to building the cyclocross national event season is high on the agenda following the sports transition from Cycling Australia to Mountain Bike Australia,” he said. “MTBA is pleased to support the sport, which has a number of extremely passionate supporters around the country and it is an ideal way of exposing the whole sport of cycling to Australia.”
MTBA are also in discussions with potential partners as host locations, which if plans can be realised could see an injection of financial support into the sport for national level events.
MTBA are reviewing the potential benefits and opportunities for registering a series of National CX events on the UCI calendar in future years.
Round 1 & 2 11-12 June
Round 3 & 4 2-3 July
Round 5 & 6 6-7 August
National Championships 20-21 August
Round 1 & 2 10-11 June 2017
Round 3 & 4 1-2 July
Round 5 & 6 5-6 August
National Championships 26-27 August
Rounds 1 & 2 9-10 June
Rounds 3& 4 7-8 July
Rounds 5 & 6 4-5 August
National Championships 25-26 August
Following on from the lead of the UCI’s offroad department, MTBA is responsible as the national sports body for co-ordinating CX activities and events on a national basis.
At this point, MTBA are asking for expressions of interest for event hosts. Having dates is excellent, but in a country as broad as Australia, knowing where you need to travel is imperative to planning your racing to a budget – hopefully some major backers can get behind the series for event promotion, and some of Australia’s experienced event organisers see the worth in hosting a National Round.
Organisers will be sought ideally for three year periods to coincide with the outlined dates, but may consider less terms if suitable.