There is a bit over 380 days until hundreds of the best athletes from across the commonwealth descend onto the Gold Coast for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Many of the facilities have either been started or finished in anticipation for one of the largest sporting events to hit the Gold Coast and Australia in recent years.
The mountain bike course is one venue that has been finished and officially opened to the public. With the Oceania Champs last weekend at Toowoomba and the National Champs this weekend outside of the Gold Coast, it was the perfect time to drop by and get a first-hand look at the world level course that will decide the commonwealth games champion for 2018!
The tracks that will be used for the championships are based around the Nerang criterium course. This is similar to Mt Stromlo with the event centre at the criterium track, which also has access to the corresponding facilities, which is a lot better than a track in the middle of the bush! Three distinct tracks will be used for the Champs and are all fresh trails built specifically for the event by trail building company, Dirt Art. They are all rated black diamond and feature tough technical sections to test the best riders skills.
Track one is at the top of the hill and features the toughest technical sections of all three trails. Steep rock garden climbs provide a true test of power and balance and that’s in the dry! In the wet, they become even more difficult and will be a perfect place for the better technical riders to attack the competition.
The rock gardens also feature on the descent and while not exceptionally steep they are a challenge with lots of randomly placed rocks to push you off line. There are specific technical sections like the rock gardens but the rest of the trail is no picnic with steep switchbacks on the climbs and a lot of small challenges to keep riders on their toes. Roots and off camber rock sections are a real challenge in the wet but the course is well adept at handling water which is a good thing considering Queensland’s rainy weather!
The second track is a long flowing jump track with sweeping berms, flowing doubles and a few small drops. While fairly easy for riders it will still be an awesome place to watch the riders descend before they get back on the gas. The third track is a similar jump style track to the second though the jumps and berms are a little more technical and should require the riders to work a bit harder to eke out those precious few seconds over the competition.
Overall, the course is a fun and challenging ride which should provide an awesome race track. There is still over a year to go till the games so there is plenty of time for the trails to bed in and tweaks to be made but Dirt Art are off to a great start. One key initiative of the 2018 Commonwealth Games is the Embracing 2018 program that looks to ensure the games provide a lasting benefit to the Queensland community. This course should definitely provide that and hopefully the wider Australian mountain bike community as well by providing another world class event venue to host top level events.
- Norco Revolver 9.2FS
- Fox 32 Step Cast Forks & Float Shock
- Stages Power Meter
- Maxxis Ikon 2.2 EXO Tyres
- Stans Valor 29 and Race Gold Wheels
- MRP V3 Carbon Chain guide
- Shimano XTR M9000 groupset
– 32 Tooth chainring
– 11-42 tooth cassette