MULTIPLE world champion Jason English will race his first 24-hour event on his new home track at Awaba Mountain Bike Park, at Cooranbong, this weekend.
It’s the first time the JetBlack 24-Hour Race will be held at the Hunter Mountain Bike Association’s course.
English is the world’s most successful 24-hour mountain bike racer.
A physical education teacher from Port Macquarie, English recently relocated to Newcastle to be closer to family.
He has been described as the best cyclist Australians have never heard of.
It seems the relatively obscure sport of 24-hour mountain bike racing doesn’t enjoy the same public profile as the Tour de France, or velodrome racing.
English has raced 30 24-hour solo races since 2007, winning 27, including 25 consecutively.
His sport involves riders doing as many laps of a dirt track as they can over 24 hours, carrying their own lights.
The JetBlack 24-Hour race was first held at a camping resort on the Hawkesbury River. It has also been held at a botanic garden near Campbelltown, and was held at a winery in the Hunter Valley last year.
With the move to Awaba, the organisers wanted to go back to an “old-school mountain bike racing track that is always in great shape and gets a lot of love from the local club”.
English said he was looking forward to racing on his new home track.
“I haven't had the chance to really dial in the Awaba course. I have really slowed down the training over December with the knowledge that I will be ramping it up before the worlds in June,” he said.
“What better way to get to know Awaba than to lap it for 24 hours. The race will be the start of my longer rides.”
Reigning national champion Ed McDonald, of Canberra, was expected to pose the strongest challenge to English, but he has been forced to withdraw due to health concerns.
In the women's race, strong performances are expected by endurance specialist Jemma Burtonwood, Queensland triathlete Jen North as well as the local gun and 24-hour world champion from the Central Coast, Charlie McCabe.
The race will start at noon on Saturday, and finish at noon on Sunday, with the presentation at about 1.30pm. Visit rockytrailentertainment.com