In a massive achievement the region, Armidale has secured the rights to host the 2020 24 hour World Endurance Mountain Bike Organisation championships.
The University of New England will provide the venue and will work in conjunction with the New England Mountain Bikers, Armidale Regional Council and Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall to put together the biggest event on the endurance mountain biking stage.
The 24 hour world titles began in 2012 and have been taken all over the world.
The 2020 championships will be the second time Australia has hosted – with Canberra holding the 2013 event.
Armidale hosted hosted the Cross Country Olympic national championships earlier this year and two national series rounds in 2017 with huge success.
WEMBO president Russell Baker said the organisation were thrilled with the region’s rise in hosting boom national events and that helped the local bodies secure the world titles.
“We like to take the world championships around the world so we are always providing riders with new experiences,” he said.
“Armidale and New England Mountain Bikers have got a great track record when you look at the national rounds, the national championships, they have delivered fantastic facilities at Sport UNE -probably some of the best in the world when you look at toilets and showers.
“The parking, the access, you have got an airport, it is a very good place to get to for an event like this.
“That combined made it a very good choice for us.”
The world championships will also benefit the region with thousands of people expected to be in town for the event.
“The biggest world champs that have ever happened were 411, last year's one in Italy was 320 and they came from 30 different countries,” Baker said.
“It is a fair variety and they also tend to have a big multiplier so if you look at two-and-a-half times the number of riders that will come just for the riders, then there is the spectators.
“In Italy there were about 5000 people in total were at the event.
“And then in 24 hours you have got time to put on a lot of other things, a lot of these events will have some cultural activities to go with them -you might have a band there on Saturday night to make sure everyone is awake.
“You have time to make it an event, not just a race.”
In order to host a successful competition in Armidale, the current track at the university will need a five kilometre extension to allow for extra distance between the riders over the 24 hours.
Marshall is pushing for the NSW Government to contribute the required $148,000 to create the additional tracks.
“It is really going to put the world mountain biking spotlight on Armidale and the legacy of that event will be enormous for hosting future national and world events here in Armidale but also the opportunity to have those people see a beautiful part of the world,” he said.
“I am absolutely thrilled. When you look at the places that have held these championships in the past, we are up there with very, very good company and to think that this is the first time NSW has ever hosted these championships, it is quite appropriate they be in Armidale.”