The MTBA Marathon Series is back for 2018, with plenty of favourites in the mix. The series is reduced to five rounds, inclusive of the National Marathon Championships.
MTBA CEO Shane Coppin said the change in format would hopefully encourage many more riders to participate across all five races.
“We really hope this condensed series and particular races attracts not just our elite level riders, but also those who may be competing in this format for the first time. Next year’s series will have categories, offering increased opportunities for riders of all levels to participate,” Coppin explained.
The series begins with the Easter In The Alice on March 31, which has become a must-do for many riders. “With over 200km of tracks around Alice Springs you’re never more than a few minutes from the best tracks in the country,” Central Rough Riders Inc president Paul Darvodelsky said. Riders will then head to Bendigo, Victoria for the Golden Triangle Epic on April 22. “The new condensed series is shaping up to be a ripper with all events providing very different riding conditions and gruelling in their own way, whilst providing iconic racing experiences. We’re glad to be part of the Marathon Series for 2018,” said Bendigo MTB president Rimmon Martin.
The Marathon Championships will be held a week later in Townsville with all points accumulated going towards riders’ overall rankings.
Marathon racing stays in Queensland for Round 4 with the Bayview Blast on June 10 at Mt Cotton in Brisbane. “After a few successful years running a four lap event the Blast will be reduced to two laps but will still cover over 90kms - with the addition of 20km of trails not used for previous editions. Timing of the 2018 round was planned to coincide with NSW/VIC long weekend to help ease the race/work balance for our southern competitors,” said race director Lonnie Toia.
Rounding out the series will be the iconic Dwellingup 100 two months later. “For 2018 the southern loop won’t be quite the same as the original but will take in classic trails like ‘Big Bertha’ and ‘Kenny’s Killer,” said course director Tony Tucknott. “There will be more elevation, more spectator interaction, more fun, more view and maybe even a few more kilometres.”
It’s a great selection of events, but highlights the fact that Marathon racing has suffered in the ACT and NSW – with no events that could support a national level event in 2018 – not even The Willo.