26 May 2023

AusCycling returns to Pomingalarna for Mountain Bike Marathon Championships

| Jarryd Rowley
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Wagga City Councillor Dan Hayes with local cyclists Angus and Hunter Benhke

Wagga City Councillor Dan Hayes and local cyclists Angus and Hunter Benhke are looking forward to taking on the mammoth challenge of the AusCycling Mountain Bike Marathon National Championships at Pomingalarna Reserve on 27 – 28 May. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

Pomingalarna Reserve will once again host the AusCycling Mountain Bike Marathon National Championships this weekend with riders from all across the country set to take to the recently revamped track.

More than 200 of the country’s best riders, from the U15s to the elite level will race between 25 and 75 km on one of the most unique tracks in the country.

Despite the daunting task of almost five hours of riding, gold and silver medalists in the 2022 Wagga Marathon, Angus and Hunter Benhke are eager for the challenge of reclaiming their titles.

“Here (Pomingalarna) is a lot different to other courses like Cairns where we just raced,” Hunter said.

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“There is a lot more endurance up here and it requires a lot more work through a longer period.

“Angus and I know these tracks like the back of my hand, it’s going to help us quite a bit. The new facilities here have helped everyone who rides them so much. If they weren’t here, we wouldn’t have the events like the cross-country marathon this weekend.”

The pair recently competed at the Crankworx Cairns in North Queensland. The pair are looking to continue improving on their results and potentially race overseas in green and gold jackets.

“We love every second up there,” Angus said.

“Being able to ride in events like the one we recently rode in Cairns and now back home, it’s always a good atmosphere and a good time.

“Hunter and I will try to work together this weekend, give ourselves every chance of trying to get back on top of the podium again this year.”

Mountain Bike Wagga president David Reid said this year’s follow-up to the inaugural Wagga Marathon promised more competitors, with potential for the event to extend beyond the planned two years.

“Last year was the first time we held the marathon and it kind of served as a grand opening for the new facilities here,” Mr Reid said.

“People couldn’t stop talking about how amazing the new track and facilities are and rightfully so, they have done a lot for cycling here in Wagga.

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“We have competitors from all over coming to race, including those who are normally road racers; at last count it was sitting at 212.”

Councillor Dan Hayes said he believed the marathon only highlighted how popular cycling had become in the region.

“Most other places tell people to get on their bikes and get out of town,” Cr Hayes said.

“Here in Wagga we are telling you to get on your bike and get here, it’s a fantastic national event right here in our own backyard.”

The 2023 AusCycling Marathon National Championships will begin 9 am, 27 May at Pomingalarna National Reserve. For more information, head to the AusCycling website.

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