The 2017 Victorian MTBO Championships – 18 & 19 March

Monday, 27 February 2017


The 2017 National MTBO Series returns to the forests in the Central Highlands - in Ballarat’s “Woowookarung” - formerly Canadian State Forest and at “Barkstead" - site on the western edge of the area of the Wombat Forest used in 2011 for the Victorian Middle and Long Distance Championships. Our course planners - Toby Cooper (Sprint), Mark Valentine (Middle) and Ken Dowling (Long) - have been busy out checking the track networks, riding legs of their draft courses, and adjusting the courses to give maximum route choice. Blake Gordon and Jon Sutcliffe have done preliminary checks, ridden some of the courses, and identified changes to the mapping of tracks since last we visited these areas. Maps are in the final stages of revision with the team of Tony Keeble, Ian Chennell and Ken Dowling doing this precise work so important to riders on the 18-19 March.

Due to the heavy spring rains, and control burns over the past two years there has been significant growth of grass in many parts of the forests. Some beginnings and endings of tracks have been clipped to make them more obvious to riders. Sticks and logs have been regularly removed to give maximum flow to our ride, but because the forests have been burned (weakening the bases of trees) some may be on or near tracks. These are marked with purple bars on the map.

Now that there are no pine or blue gum plantations in “Woowookarung”,  all the white on the map is native forest. At Barkstead there are some pine plantations which are shown as either green (symbol 406) or white (symbol 405) depending upon visibility. Areas coloured orange (symbol 839) indicate an area with closely adjacent tracks or many tracks that MAY be ridden across. Light yellow with hatching indicates rough open (areas of cutting or regrowth in former plantations) and is NOT crossable. On Saturday the maps have 5 metre contours, while on Sunday 10 metre contours have been used - a quite hilly area.

Presentations will be done in the field after each event - so stick around and enjoy the atmosphere and post-race analysis. Results and progress of later riders will be up on the screens - and the internet - in short order after you finish and download your SI stick.  Dinner (if you are looking for orienteers) on Saturday night will be held at a popular pub in Ballarat.

As this is the end of summer / start of autumn fire warnings / bans are still possible. The organisers will email all riders IF a total fire ban is called for either day. NO MTBO on total fire ban days will be enforced and the event rescheduled. Further information will be on EVENTOR, and here, in the next few weeks - distances, climb and other information - but now we need YOU to make the event a success.


Blake Gordon



Smartplay is a sports safety and injury prevention program. Their website has tips to reduce the risk of injury and now has a section specific to orienteering!

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