A POTENTIAL seven city mountain bike series has been hailed as a boon for tourism in Orange.
The Evocities mountain bike series, which will take in Orange, Bathurst, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Armidale, Tamworth and possibly Dubbo, will run from February or March next year until September.
With Fairfax Media, the publisher of the Central Western Daily, announced the naming rights sponsor and contributing $35,000 towards the series, Dubbo mayor Matthew Dickerson has labelled the event the most lucrative of its type in Australia.
Orange City Council sports and recreation community committee chair Jason Hamling said Orange’s tourism industry had a lot to gain from the inaugural event.
“Anything that brings people out here is a good thing and obviously the prize money is a huge attraction,” he said.
“Those people have to stay here, they have to eat here - if we get people bike riding here, they’ll tell all their friends and there could be highly significant flow-on effects.”
Cr Hamling said Orange City Council’s recent efforts working towards a mountain biking facility were starting to bear fruit.
“Obviously food and wine is what Orange is about, but not everyone drinks wine - it’s good to have another niche,” he said.
“We’re very lucky to have plenty of mountains and bush tracks.”
Five of the seven Evocities already run their own events and Cr Hamling said if successful, one of Orange’s clubs could choose to start an individual event in future years.
The series is expected to draw anywhere from 250 to 500 participants to each event, with Orange to welcome the first cyclists.
Dubbo City Council staff are considering ways to upgrade Dubbo’s tracks enough to participate.
Fairfax was chosen from six expressions of interest for sponsorship.
For Matthew Findlay’s story on the Orange event, turn to page 37.