Businesses and riders the big winners from mountain bike trail funding

Huge boost: VOGA Cycling Club's Matt Turner and Paul Williams are gearing up for the massive $2.56 million mountain bike trails set to be built in Creswick.  Picture: Dylan Burns.
Huge boost: VOGA Cycling Club's Matt Turner and Paul Williams are gearing up for the massive $2.56 million mountain bike trails set to be built in Creswick. Picture: Dylan Burns.

Creswick is set to become one of the premier locations for mountain bike riders in Victoria following a massive $2.56 million funding commitment from the state government.  

The funding pledge will see the construction of more than 100 kilometres of off-road trail throughout the Creswick forest, with tracks to cater for riders of all different abilities. 

On top of the major boost to tourism the trails are expected to bring, the new courses have the potential to bring extra amateur and professional events to the region.   

VOGA Cycling Club president Matt Turner said the group, which was currently a small organisation comprised of amateur riders, was in the process of establishing a new race series with the RACV Goldfields Resort between four different clubs. 

The group is also in charge of the annual Brackenbury Classic, which for the past five years has run in conjunction with the more established cross-country running race.   

“We hope to attract a lot more people (in the coming years) and if you build world class trails which are well publicised people will travel to come to them,” Mr Turner said.  

“Currently the Brackenbury is just a club run event...there’s other promoters who have the ability to manage and run bigger events.” 

Speaking after the announcement last week, Ballarat’s Gove Cycles and Bike Rack Cafe owner Phil Orr said the funding would make Creswick one of the top 10 destinations for mountain bike riding in Victoria.  

The tracks will also be built in close proximity to the RACV resort, making the track one of the only trails in the state to have close access to four-star accommodation. 

The project is currently being put out to tender and is expected to be fully completed by 2022. 

Le Peche Gourmand patisserie owner and VOGA club member Paul Williams said while the full benefits of the track may not be felt for up to five years, the track had the ability to put the town and the region at large on the map. 

“The sky really is the limit so from a business perspective we’re in the process of trying to get ready for it,” Mr Williams said.  

“It’s going to be one of those things where it will take some time to take hold but when it does it’s going to be big.”  

Mr Williams said Creswick’s proximity to Ballarat and mountain bike trails at Black Hill will provide another advantage for the region, as cyclists will be able to tackle a number of courses over a weekend. 

The announcement came in the same week the sleepy Tasmanian town of Derby again held a leg of the professional Enduro World Series mountain bike races, which featured 300 competitors from 26 countries. 

Mountain Bike Australia trails and operations manager Denise Cox said while it was too early to confirm whether Creswick would be in contention for major national events, a strong local club and active participation from local and state government’s were viewed favourably when deciding locations. 

“With Creswick having 100 kilometres of trail that will give riders a reason to come to town and stay for a while,” Ms Cox said.