Armidale has made a name for itself as one of Australia’s best destinations for mountain biking events and the course at the University of New England is set to get even better.
With the region earning the rights to host the World Endurance Mountain Bike Organisation championships in 2020, the current tracks at the university needed an extension.
An additional five kilometres of track would allow for extra distance between the riders over the 24 hour race and, on Monday, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall announced the government would be chipping in to lengthen the course.
A grant of $147,780 will fund the upgrades in a boost in the lead up to the event which is set to attract thousands of competitors and spectators from around the world.
“To have the World Endurance Mountain Bike championships here in just a couple of years time is huge coup for New England Mountain Bikers, UNE, council and our whole region,” Marshall said.
“Very few places in country NSW get to hold world championships in anything and to have this here is huge.
“So this funding, $147,49 will enable that extra 5000 metres of trail to be built higher up which will be used for the world championships and will also provide a better spectator experience.
“I am really excited about this.
“I think this is the best $150,000 the government has ever spent because for a very modest input we are going to get huge benefits for Armidale and our region.
“The beauty is that once built, that trail will be here and put us in a position to host other championships, both national and international and I think we will do it.”
The bid for the world championships was pulled together in a collaborative effort by New England Mountain Bikers, the state government, Armidale Regional Council and the university.
NEMTB president Peter Hosking was thrilled with the funding and the help from all parties.
“We are very lucky as a club to have the relationships we do,” he said.
“There are not many clubs that can back up on to a facility like this.
“We can put the trail in and all the rest of it but we can't build a multi-million dollar complex right next to it.
“Whenever we hold a major event it is unreal to watch council, everyone in the university staff, really come out and help us out.
“It is just phenomenal just how the whole event has come together.”