Big field lines up for Urban Downhill

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

A faster and steeper course will confront a host of local and visiting competitors in the fourth edition of the Southern MTB Urban Downhill as part of Albany’s premier mountain-biking festival this weekend.

Organisers of the annual mountain-biking event are expecting close to double last year’s total entries across five events including the ever-popular Jump Comp in the town square on Saturday night and new cross-country stage races introduced last year.

Albany Mountain Bike Club president Phil Stan-Bishop said the five events, including the Southern Peaks 37km and Southern Peaks 50km, Jump Comp and Kids Urban Downhill and Urban Downhill on Sunday, had so far attracted more than 300 competitors.

Close to 400 entrants are expected by the time racing gets under way on Saturday.

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Stan-Bishop said the course for Sunday’s Urban Downhill had changed significantly, moving to the southern side of Mt Clarence away from the western side of previous years.

The course will start at the Desert Corps Memorial on Mt Clarence and finish at Lawley Park after winding through downhill tracks and onto Albany steepest streets with new course features.

“Most of that core of riders are coming back,” Stan-Bishop. “With that level of extreme riding, it is always the main event and most spectacular. The course is much steeper and more exciting being half the distance.

“They will be going a lot harder and only take a couple of minutes to get down the course.”

Stan-Bishop said up to 200 competitors would take to the Southern Peaks 37km and 50km events on Saturday, significantly up on last year’s numbers in the inaugural race.

“It has certainly risen in popularity,” he said. “A lot who have not done cross-country riding before have registered, we have had a very good response.”

Perth-based mountain bike rider Jordan Prochyra took out the Urban Downhill title in 2016 while Albany pair Nav Coole and Tammy Stone claimed the honours in the Southern Peaks race.

Practice for the Urban Downhill will start on Sunday at 10.30am with the main event at 1pm.

Organisers are still looking for more volunteers. Visit www.southernmtb.com.au.

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