The 2020 WEMBO 24hr Solo MTB World Championships are coming back to Australia. And not to the usual location at Mt Stromlo, but instead to the University of New England in Armidale, NSW.
New England Mountain Bikers (NEMTB) will host the World Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championships planned for 6/7 November 2020. WEMBO founder Russ Baker said that, ‘NEMTB have a very good record of recent national level events in Australia and the 2020 World Championships will step up to another level as they introduce mountain biking at the University of New England to the world’s riders. Additional tracks and facilities will be developed for the event and these will provide long-term benefits to all mountain bikers in the region. In the leadup to 2020, NEMTB will also host the WEMBO Asia/Pacific Continental 24 Hour Championships on the weekend of 9/10 November in 2019 in conjunction with their well-established UNE 12 Hours in the Piney.’
There must be some trail work on the cards for the University grounds to make up a lap the right length - but as the SportUNE building has showers, toilets and just about everything an event venue needs, the location should be spot on. Thankfully Armidale has an airport for connecting flights from Sydney for international competitors.
NEMTB President Peter Hosking said, ‘This is a great culmination of long term efforts by the enthusiastic volunteers at NEMTB. NEMTB are very grateful to have UNE and many other local businesses backing mountain biking at grass roots, national and now international levels. The high quality SportUNE complex and MTB trails in Armidale provide a unique venue and have been shown to be able to support increasingly high-level competition, now crowning at a World level! NEMTB is very thankful to have the continuous support from the Armidale Regional Council and our local member Adam Marshall who has been working tirelessly for our region. Without their support we would not be able to achieve this.’.
WEMBO was founded in 2011 to fill a void in world-level solo 24 hour mountain bike competition and has sanctioned world championships since 2012 with over 1500 individual riders from 39 nations competing in WEMBO events in Italy, Australia, Scotland, USA, Switzerland, New Zealand and Slovakia. 2017 saw 320 riders from 30 nations assemble in Finale Ligure, Italy to determine the world’s best, watched by over 5,000 spectators. The 2018 World Championships will be held in Fort William, Scotland in October and there will be two additions to the WEMBO World Championships family with Brazil in 2019 and Portugal in 2021. Australia occupies over half the space on the WEMBO World Championships perpetual trophy, and NSW rider Jason English is the greatest solo 24 rider in history, with 7 world championships. But 2017 saw the Australians in 2nd place in Elite Men and Women – something they are looking to remedy later this year.
In thanking those responsible, Russ Baker said, ‘In addition to NEMTB President Peter Hosking, James Harris, and the dedicated NEMTB team; I would like to thank Minister Adam Marshall MP; Mayor Simon Murray and the Armidale Regional Council; and Professor Annabelle Duncan, Vice Chancellor of the University of New England; for the ongoing support of mountain biking in the region. Events of this scale cannot happen without significant and diverse support for our sport, support which then flows down to every level of mountain biking. I look forward to seeing you all in Armidale in 2019 and 2020.’
Original article appeared in AMB Magazine