Stage Racing For Everyone | The Quad Crown series is back for 2024

Revamped and rejigged, the Quad Crown is set to take off at full speed for 2024. Guiding mountain bikers around destinations they may never have ridden before, this year’s venue line-up will feed the adventurous soul.

Designed to be a mini version of large-scale events like Cape to Cape or Port to Port, the Quad Crown will spread its wings around Australia, touching down for four massive events in Tasmania, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

But with a new year, there are new questions; How will the series remain a stand-out from the average mountain bike competition? What changes have taken place from last year? What new destinations will be in the 2024 schedule?

To answer these, Quad Crown Race Director, Jason Dover, filled Flow in on the layout for a bigger and better series on its way.

One of the best parts about the Quad Crow is that it takes you to new places that may not have been on your radar, and leaves enough time in the day to do some exploring.

What Sets the Quad Crown Apart?

Still touching on the roots of a timed mountain bike race, the Quad Crown has formatted its events so that the race is not so heavily weighted on competing against other riders. Visiting some amazing destinations in Tassie and mainland Australia, the series puts the most emphasis on the destination and a good social atmosphere.

Dover says the places where the events are held are always a great destination to travel to, maybe even uncovering areas people haven’t traditionally gone to to go riding.

“(People will) “be able to ride and have fun,” Dover says. “But also see a beautiful part of the world…and you (don’t) have to take a week off work to go and take part.”

The weekend is riddled with social events to cool down and relax from the rush of long days on the bike. After each stage, a new venue will be on the agenda for an afternoon function, allowing riders to sit back and soak in mountain bike culture at its finest.

Handicap system, Weekend Warriors and the Overall Crown

Entering a race with friends is always good fun and games, but at the end of the day, they are still the people you are competing against for the top step. The Quad Crown team have taken it upon themselves to provide riders with an event in which they don’t have to race against friends, but purely against themselves.

With the addition of prelude stages, Weekend Warriors and a neat handicap system, The Quad Crown has uniquely designed a whole other genre of mountain bike racing into the series.

Introduced last year, the handicap system of the Quad Crown series was a huge success. The general structure of the system is reliant on the Prelude stage on the Friday afternoon; riders will receive a handicap score based on their results from the prelude and their performance over the rest of the weekend will be compared to this score. The rider who has improved the most on, or has maintained a time closest to their initial handicap, will be awarded the position of the Weekend Warrior.

“When we say it’s a race, all they’re doing is really racing against themselves,” Dover says. “Off the prelude they are given a handicap and then the riders that can ride to the best of their ability and closest to their handicap over the next two stages — they’re riding to the Weekend Warrior crown.”

This means that even though a rider may not be the fastest in their field, they will still always be in the running for a podium finish at the end of the day.

You don’t have to be leading out Dan McConnell to be in the running for a podium position. The Weekend Warrior creates a race within a race.

“We experimented with (the handicap system) over the first event (of 2024) and refined that system to the point that we’ve got it down-pat now,” says Dover. “It’s a great feature of the event moving forward.”

As the Weekend Warrior is more catered toward the average rider and is up for grabs to anyone in the event, recognition is also given to the riders who have crosed the line in the fastest time, overall.

These hardcore mountain bikers at the pointy end of the field accumulate points from each success, stepping closer to receiving the Overall Crown at the end of the series. A coronation will see successful riders being presented with a physical crown.

Quad Crown racing format

Here we get into the nitty-gritty of the Quad Crown series and how each weekend will run. The format of the 2023 series was a huge triumph. In keeping what has worked best in the past, each race will see a similar layout to last year, with a few tweaks popping up here and there.

Each event in the Quad Series will involve a shorter Prelude stage on the Friday afternoon, and two larger scale stages spread over the Saturday and the Sunday.

The mini-stage race format proved to be a success, with the Prelude and two stages spread across the weekend.

“The races all have the same format with the Prelude — which is somewhere between 8 and 10 km — on the Friday afternoon as a bit of a warm up ride,” Dover says. “Riders can get into the town, get (their) bike set up, give it a run, test the local trails and conditions and then go and have a welcome drink after it and meet everyone.”

Stage 1 and Stage 2 are held on Saturday and Sunday morning. Each stage will include a 30-50 km pedal with around 900m worth of climbing. The stages will present riders with a mixture of singletrack and fireroad terrain, but this year, the course designers have made singletrack a much larger part of each circuit.

“We have taken a lot of the long gravel-grind-type-chewing-the-handlebars riding out of it, and put more fun stuff,” says Dover. “I think most of our stages would have over 75% of singletrack in there, (with) a real focus on the fun, flowy, enjoyable side of riding your bike.”

After the stage is finished then it’s onto the social functions, which take riders to a new venue each day for some beers, burgers, and good times.

The Four Quad Crown Destinations for 2024

Now we know the format, let’s talk about the destinations. Venues for the Quad Crown will take riders far and wide, stopping off at some of the most scenic and well-designed mountain biking hubs around mainland Australia and Tasmania.

Let’s get into it, so you can plan the trip while there is still time:

Wild Penguin | Devonport, Tasmania | 8-10 March

When people head to Tassie for riding, usually they will straight line to the likes of Blue Derby, Maydena or St. Helens. But little do many people know, just off Devonport are a pair of mountain bike trail networks like no other, located in Penguin and flowing along the Mersey River.

To kick off the weekend, the Friday afternoon prelude will see riders around a 10km loop of the Penguin Mountain Bike park. After some good old-school singletrack, the stage will finish at the Penguin Brewery for the very necessary welcome function of the event.

Stage 1 on Saturday — a 53 km long wind around the northern end of The Wild Mersey trail network. This stage will include 1060m of elevation, the renowned 10km Raptor Ridge Descent dropped in the middle to provide professionally-built flow to the course.

Sunday’s Stage 2 will then hit the remainder of the Wild Mersey trail network, starting and finishing at the Seven Sheds Brewery in the town of Railton.

Presentations will be held at the brewery, celebrations will ensue, and riders will be looking ahead to the next event on the way.


Wild Mersey is one of the most underrated trail networks in Tassie, and the Wild Penguin takes you on a guided tour through it’s greatest hits.

The Sunny 80 | Sunshine coast, Queensland | 7-9 June

The Sunshine Coast is an amazing tourist attraction for avid beach-goers, but it is made all the better when you can head to the coast with bikes in tow.

The Sunny 80 will be an event to behold, as the Sunshine Coast is set to co-host the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2032. While the construction of the venue for the races is still a little ways off, with the amount trail building and maintenance going on in the area, racers will be in for some Olympic-standard riding over the course of the weekend.


The event will kick off like the rest — with the Prelude. An 8 km loop is set for the afternoon, featuring trails from the Sugarbag Trail Network on the coast of Caloundra. Closing off the first day with stunning sea views just around the corner, the Prelude will end at the Moffat Beach Brewing Co. for the welcome function.

Stage 1 will see a 35 km loop of the Parklands Trail Complex. Starting and finishing in the Hidden Valley at Nambour, the course cuts between singletrack and fireroad for an exciting mixture of both.

The Sunshine Coast has some epic riding and the Quad Crown has sniffed out the best trails around.

The Sunny 80 will then bring a twist into the usual style of the Quad Crown events. Taking place 20 minutes east of the Sunshine Coast at Ewen Maddock Dam, Stage 2 will be split into two. The first part will be a 10 km special stage about Ferney Forest, which Dover claims is one of the more beautiful places you could ride.

Stage 2 will then restart from the Country Club up to Dularcha National Park, flowing into Ewen Maddock trail complex to finish at the banks of the Dam.

The Sunny 80 sees a slight departure from one stage each day format with Stage 2 on Sunday split into two.

The Orca | Eden, New South Wales | 6-8 September

Located on the Sapphire Coast in New South Wales, The Orca will take riders around the trails at Gravity Eden and Tathra. With trails designed and built by the people responsible for producing the amazing mountain biking found at Derby, Smithfield and Mount Buller, Eden was built by some of the best.


On Friday, the Prelude will start at the main Eden Trail Hub, leading riders into 10-12 km of trails, new as of 2023, finishing off with the welcome function at Hotel Australasia.

Stage 1 on Saturday involves a 35 km pedal with 900 m of elevation around Tathra. Starting and finishing at the Tathra Hotel, amazing views of Australia’s eastern coastline will prove an irresistible distraction throughout the day.


Sunday’s Stage 2 presents a different route from last year, following some comments on the brutal start climb in 2023. Course designers have been hard at work to make improvements, and the initial uphill slog has been removed. The stage will now start and finish at Hotel Australasia on the main street of Eden and will still be a challenging one, presenting racers with a 40-50 km ride with 900 m of elevation in total.

Last year, the Quad Crown scored riders and an exclusive preview of Gravity Eden well before it opened to the public.

The Big O | Omeo, Victoria | 8-10 November

A new addition to the series in 2024, Omeo will provide a race along the renowned Great Alpine Road in Victoria. Nestled in the mountains, there is no shortage of elevation to provide for some exciting coursework.

Omeo was meant to come into the Quad Crown picture in 2023, but due to delays in trail building, it was forced to step down. This year, however, it is back, presenting a completed network of flowy and rugged trails to explore.

Omeo was on the calendar last year, but had to be benched until 2024 due to the trail network not being finished. Well, now it’s 2024, and Omeo is ready for the big show.

The Friday will begin the event with the Prelude stage, kicking off in Dinner Plain. The course is set for a 10 km circuit of the surrounding trails, finishing with a welcome function at a to-be-announced venue.

When Stage 1 rolls around, riders will warm the legs with an initial climb up Mount Sam. A 500m descent between Mount Sam to Mount Mesley will then lead folks back to Livingstone Park for the afternoon social event.

Stage 2 will take place at Mount Mesley, beginning with a climb out of Livingstone Park towards the brand-new trails in the area. Stage 2 will be a day of mountain biking at its finest, with the vast majority of the course trailing through freshly laid single track.

The Black Pearl | Newcastle & Lake MacQuarie | 7-9 March, 2025

The Black Pearl was called up to the big leagues last year when Omeo was forced to back out of the series. The event, pieced together in record-breaking time, was such a hit that if it was taken off the schedule, there would be uproar.

To avoid a lot of disappointment and a hoard of emails, The Black Pearl has been released at the same time as this year’s schedule, but as the first event of the Quad Series in 2025.

“It was such a good event… so many people in the Australian mountain biking scene were glad to see us back in Newcastle (that) we wanted to commit to the fact that the event wasn’t just disappearing 12 months later,” Dover says. “So that’s why we have included (Newcastle) as the first event for 2025, just so people still know it’s coming.”


The Black Pearl 2025 will be similar to its 2023 predecessor, beginning with a 10 km Prelude Loop around the Glenrock trails. Following its way around the classics, trails like Twisties, Double Barrel, Seismic and Snakes and Ladders will all be on the agenda for Friday afternoon.

Stage 1 will then start and finish at the Awaba Mountain Bike Park on Saturday. The course will take riders along Polly Waffle, Skids for Kids, Tunnel of Love and The Faulk Line.

A range of different trail networks around Newcastle will then be explored in Stage 2. The course will flow from Whitebridge, to Red Head, to Fernleigh, then Glenrock, starting and finishing at the Royal Crown Hotel in Dudley.

The Black Pearl will be back in 2025 to kick off the series.

Even though the event in Newcastle has already been confirmed for 2025, the full Quad Crown schedule for next year has not been released yet. Dover did, however, hint that some new destinations may be coming into the picture next season.

“We have had a couple of tourism regions and new trail building happening around Australia where people have been in contact and suggested going to their destination next,” Dover says. “So we’ll keep all that in mind as we develop the 2o25 schedule.”

With an exciting schedule set for 2024 and the lineup of destinations and trails, this year’s series is looking just as sparkly as the crowns will at the end of the four events.

What type of Rider is the Quad Crown for?

The Quad Crown is a race styled to present a challenge, and a good time. The designs of the handicapping system and the Weekend Warrior mean the event is not focused so much on how quickly you (or elite riders) can complete the event, but on personal improvement on the bike and having fun while doing it. Meaning you do not have to be the ‘best of the best’ to register.

“The way that we are designing the courses and the fact that it’s two stages over the weekend with a Prelude stage on Friday… it’s meant to be accessible for the average rider,” Dover says. “We try to maximise singletrack and the fun side of riding rather than making them long slogs like the XC stages you see at the Cape to Cape and that type of event.”

The Quad Crown also allows for riders to register for only one day of the event, so if two big days on the bike sounds like too much, there is the option to do a little less riding, but still be part of the great race environment.

For more info or to grab your spot, head over to the Quad Crown website.

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