Cycling Australia (CA) and the Alpine Shire announced that the township of Bright in Victoria will host the 2014 and 2015 Australian Mountain Bike National Championships.
"Alpine Shire has aspirations to secure a reputation as the standard for national, and potentially international, mountain biking," said Mayor of Alpine Shire, Cr Peter Roper. "The opportunity to secure the Australian champs is achieving our greater ambitions for the sport in the Alpine Shire. We are looking forward to working with CA and the mountain bike community to run a successful event."
With a change of venue reflecting the changes afoot in the sport, Cycling Australia's Technical Director of Mountain Biking, Tim Sheedy, sees this announcement as a key step in the evolution of the sport.
"The introduction of a new venue as host of the national champs for the next two years breathes new life into mountain biking." said Sheedy. "The integration of the Real Insurance XCM series into this event is a key development in the evolution of the Australian Mountain Bike Championships. I am thrilled for all MTBA members and the broader mountain bike community who are sure to have the time of their lives next March in Bright, a spectacular location to host MTB's flagship event. There's a lot planned for mountain biking at Cycling Australia."
Hailing from the hill overlooking Bright, Australia's newly crowned eliminator world champion, Paul van der Ploeg, clearly sees the potential of this marquee event.
"You could turn up to the champs with your mountain bike, your road bike, your children's bikes and a tent and have the weekend of your life," he said. "You'll do some racing, watch the big dogs go round, swim in a river with your kids and eat great food. It's mountain bike heaven."
As the sport of mountain biking grows throughout the world, so does the need for trail development.
Mountain Bike Australia President Russ Baker congratulated Alpine Shire for securing the national championships. "Bright is a location that our members love to visit and compete at. I'm particularly pleased that the arrangement secured by Cycling Australia includes trail development funds which will further enhance the growing reputation of Bright as a MTB destination and are a welcome injection for the Alpine Cycling Club. I can't wait to attend the event and enjoy all that Bright has to offer."
President of Alpine Cycling Club, Aaron Smith, said, "This announcement is a crucial step in securing funding for trail development which the entire mountain bike community will benefit from. It creates a direct connection between the grass roots and the top flight of the sport."
All five UCI world championship formats will be on offer for Australian mountain bikers at nationals: cross country, eliminator, downhill marathon and trials.
The 2014 Australian mountain bike nationals are scheduled for March 6-9 according to an earlier calendar announcement.