The world’s elite endurance mountain bikers will converge on the University of New England in two years’ time, following the announcement that Armidale will host the 2020 WEMBO World Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championship.
The world’s premier endurance mountain bike event will be contested on the SportUNE mountain bike track, which hosted the 2018 National Championships, and two rounds of the 2017 National Mountain Biking XCO Series.
“This is the result of some terrific lobbying from across the Armidale community, backed by UNE’s successful hosting of high-level mountain biking events,” said UNE Vice-Chancellor, Professor Annabelle Duncan.
“The University is delighted to host this international event on behalf of the Armidale and New England community. We were established in 1938 to enrich the educational, economic and cultural environment of the New England and surrounding regions, and hosting sporting events like this is one means fulfilling our role.”
The WEMBO 2020 competition has been estimated to potentially bring an extra 5000 night stays to the region, and about $870,000 in direct spending.
Director UNE Life, David Schmude, said: “UNE plans to do extensive work on our already high-grade track to bring it up to international standard. The gathering of elite athletes from around the world may also bring opportunities for our Sport and Exercise Science researchers and students to deepen their world-class work on human sporting performance.”
Prof. Duncan and Mr Schmude congratulated all those who had worked to bring the event to Armidale, including New England Mountain Bikers (NEMTB), Armidale Regional Council (ARC), Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall, and SportUNE staff.
SportUNE will now focus on extending its existing track by five kilometres, to bring it up to international standard.
The annual World Endurance Mountain Bike Organisation (WEMBO) World Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championship is being held this year in Scotland. After the Armidale event in 2020, it will move to Brazil in 2021 and then Portugal.