The most comprehensive Australian Championship MTBO carnival ever conducted takes place this weekend (Oct 25-27th) in the forests around Maryborough, Victoria.
The program includes 4 individual races over different formats and distances plus a training event using the innovative MapRun technology. There are competitors from Ireland, Great Britain & Hungary as well as 25 New Zealanders who are contesting an Australia V NZ challenge over 8 age classes. Many of these visitors did well in last weekend’s 3 race ACT MTBO Championships and have been training midweek on maps in the Beechworth area.
For the older riders both the middle & long distance events constitute the first races of the 2020 World Masters Series. This is part of a 14 race program, with the other 12 races being held in Europe. Many Australians & New Zealanders travel overseas to take in many of these races in July-September, so having 2 races “at home” is important.
Additionally on Sunday afternoon & Monday there will be 24 eager participants in the first International Orienteering Federation (IOF) MTBO clinic held outside Europe. This is being led by Hungary’s Sandor Talas, a renowned expert. The clinic is aimed at upskilling event advisors and organisers, both to improve our own event standards and to give some the capacity & knowledge to run or be event advisors at World Championship level.
In the elite M21 class Australian team member Ricky Thackray has excelled this year and will be aiming to improve on his one gold medal (in sprint) from last year. He faces a strong field, even including surprise entry Alex Randall who won a bronze medal in the World Relay Champs, in Maryborough, in 2004. Newcastle’s Tim Doman will be looking to use his superior hill power in the long championships, especially after his win in that event in ACT.
The Kiwi duo of veteran Marquita Gelderman and teenager Tegan Knightbridge, a 2 time Junior World Championship representative, are strongly fancied in the elite woman’s W21 class. Marina Iskhakova is probably Australia’s best chance for victory. Orienteering is truly a “sport for life” activity, as demonstrated at these titles. 10 year old Patrick Cooper is competing in the M12 class. At the opposite end of the age scale, Helen Alexander is riding in the 80+ year’s class!
Thursday 2pm+ – MapRun training event
Friday 2pm – Mass start
Saturday 9am – Sprint
Saturday 1.30pm – Middle
Sunday 9am – Long
More details: www.ausmtbochamps.com
Results will be on: Eventor Australia