Take a lap around the Smithfield World Championships course with our man with the XC insights, Sebastian Jayne.
It’s finally here! The MTB World Championships have returned to Australia to once again test the very best. The dreams of a lifetime and the work that goes along will be laid bare at the Smithfield mountain bike park in Cairns. For a test of the very best the course needs to be up to scratch and the Glen Jacob’s led World Trail team have been hard at work crafting something special. Multiple World Cups already have given them a handle on how the course runs at race pace and the adjustments have been made to make this year’s race the most epic yet! So, let’s look at what makes this one special.
A closer look
The course is split into three main sections. A fast and relatively flat run takes riders around the event centre and leads them through sections like Vemass and gives spectators easy access to see the world’s best strut their stuff. A steep dust bowl climb that leads to the well-known Rodeo Drop serves as an entrée to what will come. Wallaby Run continues the fast run and leads riders to a new section called ‘The Crusher’. Another spectator friendly section, The Crusher sends riders down a new rock drop into a catch berm and that spits them into a series of jumps and berms that no doubt will include many whips being thrown, or at least attempted!
The climb is the second section and the tough test skywards remains largely the same as in previous years and provides a tough technical challenge to riders as well as burning the lungs. The real technical challenge begins almost immediately after the strenuous climb ends. Riders are plunged out of Hell’s Gate and thrown down infamous sections such as Crocslide and Jacobs Ladder. The dry weather has made the dirt deep and powdery and will add to the technical challenge for riders. After the onslaught of rock, the riders enter Caterpillars, a fast jump and berm filled run through the rainforest that will surely put a smile on the riders’ faces. If they have the energy to smile!
Who can win?
So now we know the course, but what will happen? Nobody knows and that’s what makes the sport so epic! Make sure you tune into SBS if you can’t make it to Cairns and cheer on the Aussie riders and the rest of the world’s best!