Reef to Reef Preview

23 July 2018

Tropical North Queensland has a long history of being at the heart of mountain biking in Australia and with more than 700km of easily accessible tracks to suit every rider, radiating out from five different MTB hubs it is simply made for getting off road.

Mountain biking in the Cairns region has been given a significant boost with the introduction of Reef to Reef, a four day MTB stage race to be held from Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 August 2018. The sister event to Port to Port in N.S.W. and Cape to Cape in Western Australia, Reef to Reef completes the triple crown of Australian multi-stage MTB racing.

Starting on the reef fringed Coral Sea coast, Reef to Reef quickly gets the good times rolling, heading inland across a network of trails through tablelands, hinterland, farm lands, MTB parks, and tropical rainforest before finishing back at the coast four days around 200 km’s later.

Race director Chris Price said the delivery of the first Reef to Reef event is the culmination of more than 18 months planning and preparation, working closely with Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Tropical North Queensland, Cairns Regional Council, Douglas Shire Council, Mareeba Shire Council and the local community.

“With our relationship and long history with the region, the strong MTB culture and the demand for multi day MTB events, we identified the opportunity to put in an event in Tropical North Queensland that gives riders the opportunity to experience the vast range of MTB infrastructure, resources and terrains.

“With the support of the Cairns MTB Club and the Mareeba Mountain Goats we developed a local course team up there who have helped us refine the courses, planning, mapping and resourcing. The support from the MTB community in the region, the SES, the Mt Molloy State School P&C and volunteer groups has been fantastic.”

“The result is the Reef to Reef course is stunning. What is great about it is that each stage has its own unique terrain and character to keep things interesting with a mix of fast flowing single trail, farm track, groomed downhill trails and fire trails – many through private land that can only be ridden while racing the Reef to Reef.”

“The event starts in Smithfield with the iconic Smithfield MTB Park which has been used for multiple UCI World Cup and World Championship events. Then Davies Creek is more bushland, and single trail within and outside the mountain bike park. Stage 3 starting and finishing at Mount Molloy incorporates cattle land and bushland with some rainforest. Stage four, which also incorporates the one day Triple-R event wraps it all up by coming down from the tablelands and along Four Mile Beach to Port Douglas.”

“The Triple-R has been around for 28 years and is arguably the longest running one day MTB event in Australia. It has an amazing history and culture within the mountain bike community up there with riders returning year after year. They love riding through the cattle lands, coming down the Bump Track and then finishing on the beach and rolling into Port Douglas and having a cold beverage,” Chris said.

If that isn’t attractive enough, adding to the lure of Reef to Reef is that the event will be the first multi-day MTB event in Australia to feature a team racing format that has attracted Australia’s elite riders chasing qualification into the Absa Cape Epic in the Western Cape region of South Africa, considered the unofficial World Championship of multi day MTB races.

“We are talking teams of two riders, who are required to stay within two minutes of each other throughout the event with the team’s finish time is taken from the second rider crossing the finish line. Teams that can ride together in sync are likely to have the best result.”

“The teams racing format feeds into the much sought after qualifying for the iconic Absa Cape Epic. Five qualifying entries for Absa Cape Epic based on performance, so one entry per category plus another five based on lottery allocation, adding another exciting dimension to the event.”

“Stage one is a 20km time trial format where teams and solo riders will roll out in 30 second intervals around a course in and around the venue, so spectator viewing will be fantastic with riders going through the venue and out onto the trails multiple times.”

“Solo riders are more than welcome to come along and experience everything that Reef to Reef has to offer over the four days and of course one day riders are still catered for and can be part of the historic and much loved Triple-R,” Chris said.