The Australian and New Zealand national mountain bike championship series calendars are now set.
For Australia, the season is comprised of 4 cross-country and downhill rounds and six rounds of four-cross (aka mountain-cross).
The first mountain-cross competition will be held in conjunction with the 2005 Australian Bike Show at a permanent mountain-cross track at Olympic Park in the middle of Sydney.
The first downhill and cross-country races will be held in Tasmania for the first time since 2000 featuring a newly constructed mountain-cross course. The second cross-country and downhill rounds will be held in WA, the first time since 1999!
The third cross-country round will be the first selection race for Australian elite riders at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and will also incorporate the 2006 University Games. The 2006 Commonwealth Games cross-country course will be used.
The season finals will be staged once again at Mt. Buller, and cross-country will again be a long loop format, albeit with some minor changes to remove some of the more technically challenging parts of the course to make the race even more enjoyable.
The 2006 National Championships will be split to separate venues for cross-country and downhill to accommodate cross-country Commonwealth Games selection needs and to fit in with other events already scheduled in Thredbo. The National Champs will not be part of the series.
For New Zealand's series, Nelson has been confirmed as host of the 2006 New Zealand Mountain Bike National Championships, to be held on January 28 and 29. The National Championships, which is not part of the National Series, will be crucial build up to elite riders leading up to the Oceania Championships being held 3-5 March in Rotorua, and the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, where the cross country will be held on 23 March.
The 2006 New Zealand National Series includes six Cross Country and six Downhill rounds, with Coronet Peak near Queenstown and Napier hosting UCI points rounds. UCI points are valuable for individual world rankings and eligibility into major international events.
With Rotorua hosting the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships in August next year, 2006 will see the busiest mountain bike year ever experienced in New Zealand.
Australian National Series schedule
MTN-X #1 - October 25, 2005: Olympic Park, NSW
XC #1/DH1/MTB-X #2 - October 29-30, 2005: Hobart, Tasmania
XC #2/DH #2 - November 19-20, 2005: Nanup, WA
MTN-X #3 - November 26-27, 2005: Perth, WA
MTN-X #4 - December 3-4, 2005: Aemidale, NSW
XC #3 - December 10-11, 2005: Lysterfield, Vic
DH #3/MTB-X #5 - December 16-18, 2005: Thredbo, NSW
MTN-X #6 (finals) - January 7-8, 2006: Newcastle, NSW
XC Championships - January 12-15, 2006: Mt. Beauty, Vic
DH Championships - January 19-22, 2006: Thredbo, NSW
XC #4 (final)/DH #4 (final) - January 17-19, 2006: Mt Buller, Vic
New Zealand National Cross country Series
#1 - January 6-7, 2006: Treble Cone
#2 - January 13-14, 2006: Coronet Peak
#3 - January 20-21, 2006: Christchurch
#4 - February 18-19, 2006: Wanganui
#5 - February 24-25, 2006: Hawkes Bay
#6 - March 3-4, 2006: Rotorua
New Zealand National Downhill Series
#1 - January 8, 2006: Dunedin
#2 - January 15, 2006: Coronet Peak
#3 - January 22, 2006: Waipara
#4 - February 12, 2006: Palmerston North
#5 - February 26, 2006: Hawkes Bay
#6 - March 5, 2006: Rotorua