It’s the turn of the MTBO riders to invade the Beechworth area this weekend with 4 races over 3 days. These include IOF World Ranking events for the middle and long championships and National Orienteering League races 5, 6 & 7.
The races kick off with the Middle Distance Champs at Yackandandah on Friday afternoon. Reading the 1:5,000 map while riding on small tracks in technical goldmining should prove a challenging exercise.
Saturday starts with a sprint in the Beechworth town and surrounds followed by the “Indigo Winery” relay based at a nearby vineyard. Sunday sees the more traditional format of the long based in the forests around Stanley.
Steven Cusworth, after riding brilliantly in the Scott 24 hr last week, is the favourite in men’s elite. NZ’s Brent Edwards, ACT’s David Simpfendorfer and WA’s Ricky Thackray look to be his main challengers.
The elite women’s 12 rider field is very strong. New Zealander Marquita Gelderman has usually reigned supreme in past visits but the NSW pair of Melanie Simpson and Mary Fein are both in good form. The wily Carolyn Jackson will certainly be a danger in the technical middle event.
The M20 class has 3 of the JWOC team in Tom Goddard, Oscar Phillips and Chris Firman, as well as Victorian Heath Jamieson all vying for wins.
Entries for this year’s carnival have broken previous Australian MTBO Champs records with over 150 starters including a contingent from New Zealand.