This years MTBA Schools National Championships took place at Nerang, with more than 300 students from around the country coming together to represent their schools. Having hosted the 2018 Commonwealth Games MTB events, the trails at Nerang are some the best in the country. It was a cracker of a weekend, with Lachie from Element out photographing the whole event. To tell us more we have the year 10 girls XCO champion, Hayley Oakes, from Emmanuel Anglican College Ballina with her race report.
MTBA Schools National Championships 2019
This event provides high school students from across the country the opportunity to compete for a School’s National title. Attracting a range of abilities from kids just beginning, all the way to nationally ranked and recognised athletes. This adds to creating a very relaxed atmosphere. However, what makes this competition so special is its aim to grow the sport by introducing it through the school system.
This year brought a three-day event with three different disciplines: XCC, XC Enduro and XCO. Gold Coast MTB Club co-hosted the event on the Nerang Trails, which was the same trail network used for the 2018 Commonwealth Games!
Leading up to the event I was fortunate enough to get some first-hand experience of the work that goes into the trails, which was truly awe-inspiring. Thank you to all the volunteers from GCMTBC!
Another feature of this event, was that it offered us the opportunity to switch our sponsored/team kits for school jerseys. This was a great way for me to represent my school Emmanuel Anglican College Ballina, and to thank them for their ongoing support of my mountain biking.
I generally prefer to race the XCO discipline, which for many was the main focus of the weekend. But it was really cool to step outside my comfort zone and experience different styles of riding. The XCC is short, sharp and full speed; the XC Enduro is a social and fun, but fast ride. Each race presenting its own challenges, and highlights.
One of my favourite things about racing is the atmosphere and the MTBA Schools National Championships had plenty!
The three different days’ tracks were fast and fun, with just enough technical features scattered throughout to lead to a tough few days in the saddle!
Some of the bigger rock sections on the Commonwealth Games tracks and the fast, flowy sections are among my favourite places to ride. They also gave the opportunity for some very exciting spectating. It is always awesome to hear lots of cheering from the crowd!
Each day of racing brought something different, keeping the event fun and the results unpredictable.
Just over 100 schools lead to a challenging competition for the overall champion school. The final results leaving Moreton Bay Colleges with the win, Palm Beach Currumbin High School a solid second and IONA college rounding out the podium.
I always find the MTBA Schools National Championships one of my favourite events of the year. I went in with high hopes for a fun weekend away, and 2019 didn’t disappoint!
Some of the highlights included the appearance of Janine Jungfels the Australian Trials Champion and 2015 World Champion. She provided us a demonstration of her talents on Saturday afternoon and then went on to lend the interesting looking bike to kids to experience yet another style. I snuck in a short go, and she sure does make it look easy!
Another highlight was the perfect weather displayed by sunny Gold Coast. But if I had to choose one thing that made this event such a standout, it would have to be the participation numbers, with well over 300 students.
This number of competitors meant MTBA truly had a challenge to organise and run a smooth event on a tight schedule. They did an amazing job! Possibly the most exciting race of the weekend was the year 9 and 10 boys XCO with 134 starters!
A special thanks goes out to MTBA, GCMTBC, teachers, parents, and event sponsors for all the hard work that went into the 2019 Schools National MTB Championships.
Awesome work Hayley and congratulations on the epic result!
Be sure to check out our photo gallery for more event photos.