This weekend sees the Australian MTB national series head out to Armidale in regional New South Wales for the much anticipated first national race for the New England Mountain bike club (NEMTB). The club and region has a rich history of producing high quality riders that includes four current national champions! The Armidale based Two Wheel Academy development team has also been very successful and is well represented in the national series and on many podiums around the country.
The inclusion of a national series race in Armidale will hopefully inspire even more riders from the region to go #Fullgas in more cross country races! The mountain bikes trails being used this weekend are built close to the University of New England’s sports facilities and have been built to both challenge elite riders while also being accessible for beginners to help increase everyone’s enjoyment and hopefully new rider’s participation.
The president of NEMTB, Peter Hosking, has said “The trail was quite low technically but we’ve managed, with funding from local council plus a lot of volunteer’s time, to add another three k’s of trail with about a kilometre being quite technical.” And also, “We’ve put a few more vertical metres in the climbs and some nice flow sections as well, so we’ve been able to put in the technical sections a national XCO race requires.”
Along with Australia’s best riders there will also be a number of New Zealand riders making the trip over to get some much-needed race time under the belt. Their inclusion could make for a very deep field and some awesome racing. The New Zealand riders are not the only difference the elite field will see at Armidale with Jared Graves also adding his name to the potential contenders list and making his return to the world of XCO racing.
Is Jared just getting in some training for the Enduro World series, or is he looking at getting some XC practice before the Oceanias head to his home tracks around Toowoomba in early March? Only time will, but I for one am intrigued to see if Jared, the New Zealanders or any of the Aussie contingent can dethrone Dan McConnell and take a national round win — it will probably take a team effort from them all to do it though! The same goes in the women’s race with Bec Henderson dominating proceedings for the past few seasons although Anna Beck did get the better of her on the second day of competition at the last round at Orange.
Keep an eye out on Twitter and Facebook for updates throughout the weekend to see who comes out on top!
Check out the entry list for Saturday HERE
Check out the schedule HERE
Photo and information courtesy of MTBA