Tamworth Cycle Club has announced an ambitious plan to launch a cycling festival next year that it hopes would eventually attract thousands of competitors – including “top level” riders – and inject millions of dollars into the economy.
TCC president Min McDonald said her organisation was working on the two-day weekend event – to be held in either May, September or October – with Tamworth Regional Council and police, and she was optimistic Cycling Australia would also provide support after “really liking the idea”.
She is confident the festival will come to fruition, in large part because TCC has a “strong mandate” from its members to pursue it.
“The biggest thing with something like this hangs on the enthusiasm of members to see it through, and we certainly have very capable and very enthusiastic members,” she said.
“With that support behind it, we’d like to believe that we can make it happen.”
McDonald said the festival would consist of a 60-kilometre gran fondo – a “mass ride for enjoyment” event – a CBD criterium, a multi-discipline hill-climb event featuring mountain bikers, runners and road cyclists, and the annual Nemingha to Nundle road race.
There would also be a pop-up bar at Hopscotch Restaurant and Bar at Bicentennial Park on the Saturday, with live entertainment.
The TCC hopes that by increasing the profile of the Nemingha to Nundle road race by staging it in conjunction with the gran fondo, it would attract “top level Australian riders” from the National Road Series to the former.
The event will be styled after the successful Bathurst B2B Cycling Festival.
McDonald, reappointed TCC president at the organisation’s annual general meeting last week, said she had held initial discussions with the council and police and “they had indicated their support for it”.
She said the TCC needed to get the appropriate traffic management plan and protocols in place, and it was consulting with the council and police to do that.
She said the B2B Cycle Festival attracted about 3,500 people.
“So it's not just the cycle club that benefits but the whole community obviously benefits from events like those,” she said.
“We’re not expecting to achieve those numbers in the first year. But when we commit to it we’ll look at a three-year plan to try and develop towards similar sort of numbers.”