Shimano Australia has joined IRONMAN Oceania in a three year, multi event partnership of the region’s premier MTB Stage Race portfolio – the Epic Series Oceania.
Owned by IRONMAN, the four race Epic Series Oceania includes – Newcastle and the Hunter Valley’s Port to Port, Tropical North Queensland’s Reef to Reef, Western Australia’s Cape to Cape and New Zealand’s iconic The Pioneer.
The Epic Series Oceania events are a qualifier for the iconic Absa Cape Epic in South Africa, known as a pinnacle event in the sport of mountain biking and ‘the race that every professional wants to win, and every mountain biker has on their bucket list.’
IRONMAN Oceania Managing Director, Dave Beeche welcomed Shimano Australia to the Epic Series Oceania family and said the partnership had advantages for the series and is good news for all riders.
“Shimano is synonymous with exceptional quality, reliability, high performance and fascinating design,” Dave Beeche said. “Their technologies and a wealth of experience, accumulated throughout the company’s long history, allow them to continue to develop innovative products that go beyond the expectations of riders of all standards across the globe.”
He continued, “Importantly, Shimano’s vision of contributing to the promotion of public health by encouraging outdoor activities aligns very closely with our own philosophies and our overriding desire to introduce people to the delights, challenges and camaraderie of mountain biking.”
SHIMANO Australia, Cycling Brand Manager Toby Shingleton said “Shimano and Lazer have a strong heritage in MTB racing and we see the Epic Series Oceania events as an ideal way to connect with riders from around the world and help them to achieve their health, sporting and lifestyle goals.”
Australian MTB superstar Brendan Johnston, who qualified for the 2019 Absa Cape Epic through the Epic Oceania Series last year, said “The Epic Oceania Series is where the racing has really taken off and as a rider these events are a great place to test yourself. It is where the growth is in cross country mountain biking is in our region and to have Shimano come on board to help grow what are already wonderful events is good for everyone.”
He added, “I have real faith in the Shimano product; and I enjoy doing events that they support. As a company they have a great philosophy about encouraging people to be active and involving more women in our sport which is great. They are passionate about increasing participation and it is starting to deliver real dividends which is a plus for the sport of mountain biking.”
The Epic Series Oceania starts with Port to Port in May in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Hunter Region in New South Wales. Port to Port tests riders with four days of challenging climbs paid off with views, descents and a combination of fun old school trails and groomed single track though national parks, bushlands, MTB parks and along the coast.
In August Reef to Reef takes place in Tropical North Queensland. Reef to Reef runs over four days with ‘as much riding variety as you can roll a wheel over’. From UCI World Championship trails, rugged Aussie bush and heritage rainforest to a palm lined beach finish, the organising team notes that the event has it all.
In October the series moves to the Aussie wine and surf mecca of Western Australia’s Margaret River. Here, Cape to Cape is Australasia’s longest running and biggest MTB multi-stage race. ‘Plenty of super fun flowing single track, spectacular coastal trails and daily finish lines at a lighthouse, a winery, a distillery and a brewery ensure good times on and off the bike.’
The series wraps up with The Pioneer in December, billed as ‘an awe inspiring six-day mountain bike stage race through and around New Zealand’s pristine Southern Alps.’ This event links together ‘rides over farm tracks, NZ cycle trails, double track and single-track riding in a very special part of the world where soaring mountain peaks, crystal-clear blue lakes, and golden high country await.’