The cancellation (and subsequent re-birth) of WA’s famous Dwellingup 100 race earlier this month, highlighted to us again that a mountain bike race can be far more important than what happens on the racetrack.
A mountain bike race is much more than the sweat, dust and suffering that happens while the clock is ticking. In fact, a race can be an intrinsic part of the community, and its success and survival can have far-reaching impacts that most participants would never stop to consider. The cancellation (and subsequent re-birth) of WA’s famous Dwellingup 100 race earlier this month, highlighted to us again that a mountain bike race can be far more important than what happens on the racetrack.
2018 was to be the tenth anniversary of the Dwellingup 100, an event that has become a highlight of the WA mountain bike calendar, and an important stop for the National XCM Series. Things were locked and loaded; entries taken, course set, accommodation booked – the stage was set for a huge event. And then, the phone call came through from TriEvents – their parent company was shutting them down. And not in a few weeks or months, like right now, immediately. The whole apparatus in place behind the Dwellingup 100 was being yanked away.
Cutting the long, stressful story short, an insane amount of work from a few key people (in particular Tony Tucknott and family, plus John Carney of Single Track Minds) has saved the event from the brink of extinction. As Tony Tucknott put it, “There has been too much time, effort, and physical work invested in the Dwellingup 100 for it not to happen, especially for the tenth year.” With a new name, now the WA100, and perhaps a few less frills, the event is going ahead. This is a relief to those who had been looking forward to racing, but also the businesses and charities who rely upon the event to keep the doors open. We got in touch with some of these people to find out what the survival of the event means to them, including local businesses, the event’s charity partner, plus the Shire CEO to find out how the event has driven change in the town.
The Local Business:
The Blue Wren Cafe, Amee Lyons.
“After nine years of building relationships and the expectation of a busy week for all aspects of town, it was concerning for businesses, community groups and the profile of Dwellingup to be losing this national event. Businesses and community groups have come to rely on the income and fundraising opportunities that came with the event. It has put Dwellingup on the map as a destination for mountain biking.
“Many friendships and professional relationships have been built over the last nine years. Even the lead up to race day sees an increase in activity for businesses as organisers and riders descend on the area to prepare, practice and adjust to conditions.
“The event gives community groups the opportunity to fundraise from a different cohort, brings the community together with volunteering opportunities and the town is abuzz with new patrons for shops, cafes, and accommodation.
“We need to applaud John Carney from Single Track Minds and Tony Tucknott and Dave Budge for liaising and saving the event in difficult circumstances for the benefit of MTBing which in turn promotes and benefits out town.”
The Charity Partner:
Muscular Dystrophy WA, CEO Hayley Lethlean
The Dwellingup100 had forged a place in all of our hearts. It is an event which has raised over three quarters of a million dollars for MDWA. Long-term friendships have been formed between our community and committed mountain bikers who have trudged the beaten trails for the past 10 years, raising the profile of muscular dystrophy as a condition and, at the same time, a remarkable amount of money for our cause.
It has always been fantastic brining our community together and each year families, caregivers and those living this MD travel to Dwellingup to support the mountain bikers. It’s truly wonderful to see.
And personally, I love this event. I have participated with my family for the last three years, with my two boys (11 and 12) and my hubby Matthew. We ride for an amazing young man, Ruben Cheuk. We raise funds, we ride to raise awareness and we have lots of fun as a family. It’s just brilliant.
Had this event fallen away, it would have had a real impact upon MDWA. MDWA does not receive any government funding and we rely quite heavily on donations and fundraising to deliver our services and to support our community, donations from sources such as this event represents 70% of our income. The loss of this event would have left a massive gap.
We are certainly surrounded by good people who have recognised the hole that has been left by the closure of TriEvents, not just for the local Dwellingup community and avid WA mountain bikers, but most importantly for us as a charity and our awesome community. We’re so grateful for the work of Tony Tucknott, his family, committed friends, John Carney and their company Single Track Minds for saving this incredibly important event.
The Shire Perspective:
Shire of Murray CEO, Dean Unsworth
The Dwellingup 100, now the WA100, has been instrumental in raising the prominence of Dwellingup as a trail destination and driving investment in trails infrastructure.
Dwellingup is an iconic tourist town and the Shire is investing $4.5 million to transform Dwellingup into a Trails Town of national, and in the future international, significance. The growth of this event was a significant trigger for the Shire to then work with the local community towards turning Dwellingup into a Trails Town and hence such significant capital expenditure.
Within 12 months there will be a Trails Hub building, pump track, skate park, RV facilities, playgrounds, bike hire, increased ablutions and hot showers, laundry, lockers, 272 additional parking bays, pathways and way finding, free wi-fi and much more.
The town is grateful for this event as it showcases the town to a broad audience and provides significant economic benefit. The Shire and the broader community welcome the WA 100 with open arms and will work with the organisers to ensure it goes from strength to strength.
Entries are still open for the WA 100, with a special course that goes back to the roots of the event.
- Loop 1 = 42 kms NW of town, 812 metres of climbing
- Loop 2 = 26 kms South of town, 612 metres of climbing
- Loop 3 = 35 kms NW of town, 610 metres of climbing
There are four race distances:
- The Wallaby – 14 km separate loop
- The Joey – 42 km = loop 1 only
- The Buck – 68 km = loop 1 and loop 2
- The Boomer – 104 km = loop 1, 2 and 3 (2034 metres of climbing)
Entries are still open, so head to wa100mtb.com.au.