2016 represents the 30th running of The Simpson Desert Bike Challenge, making it unofficially the world’s longest running mountain bike stage race. With early concerns regarding flooding in the area, there was some initial doubt as to whether the event could be held on the planned infamous ‘French Line’ crossing of The Simpson desert this year. However, the clouds cleared and roads re-opened for the race to run it’s planned course.
With harder packed conditions than usual the race’s traditionally very high attrition rate took a turn for the better this year with all riders completing the race, a first for the event’s history. A firm surface and predominant tail wind helped riders across the 600km sandy crossing. Riders in the SDBC now use fat tyre mountain bikes to help deal with the relentless sand that typifies this race.
I was lucky enough to took the race lead on day 1 and never looked back, winning every single stage and the overall title with a margin of over 90minutes from 2nd place Jason Morrison from Adelaide and Peter Moore from Sydney.
The women’s field saw roadie Lynne Clarke take overall honours ahead of a determined Amanda Cleife. 21 riders from all over Australia accompanied by nearly 50 race staff and support crew made the crossing this year with room for many more in years to come. One of the world’s most remote mountain bike events has plenty of space in The Simpson Desert!
After 6 days of camping and travelling through the desert, all riders are now on their way back to civilisation. A full report with photo’s and race wrap up coming soon.
To view the route of this years race and average speeds etc visit: tinyurl.com/justinmaddogmorris