Australian flood damage forces MTB course changes to FCE

Race to go ahead with shortened route

The Flight Centre Epic, one of Australia’s biggest mountain bike marathon races, will undergo drastic changes to its route after damage from south east Queensland’s devastating floods destroyed large parts of the traditional course.

Flood waters were so strong that large boulders were moved on to parts of the original track, making it unusable for racing. The area the race is staged in, the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, will still host the race, but the route will have to be shortened, as race organizer Peter Creagh explained.

"Unfortunately, the January floods which caused loss of life and enormous damage in the Lockyer Valley also took their toll on the Epic course," he said. "Sections of the Bicentennial National Trail were totally destroyed, Ma Ma Creek is no longer recognizable and there is no track in some places."

Creagh was adamant that while changes do need to be made, the race will still aim to be as big as past editions in 2011. The biggest change is that the Epic will cover 75km instead of the traditional 104km.

"We have had to reinvent the Epic otherwise we would have lost our flagship product and the Queensland tourism industry would have lost one its iconic adventure events," said Creagh. "Even though this is a significant shift from the original Epic, the tradition of the challenge remains and it is one of the Queensland's must do events," he said.

The Flight Centre Epic takes place from August 6-7.

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