Croc Trophy Mountain Bike race is just around the corner
The stage plan of the 25th Anniversary edition of the Crocodile Trophy will be a celebration of this iconic mountain bike stage race’s history over the last quarter of a century and homage to the land it calls home: Australia.
The first stage of eight begins on Saturday 12 October from Cairns to Ringers Rest, a distance of 80km. The eighth and final stage ends in Port Douglas on Saturday 19 October.
The race will showcase the beautiful landscapes of Tropical North Queensland and over the 709km distance; it will take the riders from the tropical surrounds of Cairns through the rainforests and onto the lush farming land and so typical Australian bushland of the Atherton Tablelands.
The event then heads for the iconic outback mining country near Herberton and then stops in the tropical paradise, the Skybury Coffee Plantation before winding its way further North and via majestic rainforest trails back towards the coast and the finish on Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas.
There will be four main stage destinations: the Crocodile Trophy camp will be set up at Ringers Rest, Wondecla and Skybury Tropical Plantation for two nights each before the last night at the iconic Hartley's Crocodile Adventures. With a daily average of 88km, this year’s longest stage will be 126 km long and the shortest stage will be a 34 km time trial.
The Crocodile Trophy was founded by ex-Road Pro and Tour de France Racer, Gerhard Schönbacher. The Austrian first had the idea of organising a ‘Tour de France’ type of cycle race for mountain bikes in 1993.
Originally, it was planned to be the longest and most difficult mountain bike stage race in the world and was actually not supposed to take place in Australia but in Vietnam. It was to start in Saigon and finish in Hanoi 18 days and 2500km later.
However, after spending two weeks in Saigon, Schönbacher realised that it wasn’t possible to organise the event he had visualised.
The first Crocodile Trophy was held in 1995 and took riders from Darwin to Cairns. It had 17 stages and the racers had to complete 2,556km. The race route has changed for every edition ever since and has its current home in Australia’s Tropical North Queensland.
The course was designed by seven-time finisher Brendon Skerke, a Cairns-local who has instilled all his passion for this race and his enthusiasm for mountain biking in his home region in and around Cairns into this anniversary stage plan:
STAGE 1 – Saturday 12 October | Cairns – Ringers Rest (80 km / 2100 vm)
STAGE 2 – Sunday 13 October | Ringers Rest – Ringers Rest (76 km / 1900 vm)
STAGE 3 – Monday 14 October | Ringers Rest – Wondecla (74 km / 1700 vm)
STAGE 4 – Tuesday 15 October | Wondecla – Wondecla (98 km / 3200 vm) “Queen Stage”
STAGE 5 – Wednesday 16 October | Wondecla – Skybury (120 km / 1600 vm)
STAGE 6 – Thursday 17 October | Skybury – Skybury (125 km / 1200 vm)
STAGE 7 – Friday 18 October | Skybury – Hartley’s Croc Adventures (84 km / 800 vm)
STAGE 8 – Saturday 19 October | Hartley’s Croc Adventures – Port Douglas (34 km / 900 vm) “Greg Parr Stage”
Local stage destinations
Stage 1+2: For the first time the Ringers Rest Function Venue and camp will host the Crocodile Trophy for two nights, offering an authentic stay in the Australian bush.
Stage 3+4: It will stop at Wondecla Oval with thanks to the Herberton Magpies Rugby League Club. Wondecla is located on the beautiful Atherton Tablelands, the ‘fruit bowl’ in Tropical North Queensland.
Stage 5+6: Skybury Coffee will be the home for nights five and six. It has become one of the top visitor attractions on the Atherton Tablelands, known not only for its purest Australia Arabica Coffee, but also its breathtaking views, lovely light lunches, yummy cakes, great hospitality and the freshest fruit straight from the farm. Luscious papayas and other tropical fruit.
Stage 7: Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is the largest wildlife attraction in Northern Australia and continues to be a ‘must do’ for locals, Australian visitors and overseas travellers. The stage will finish among the wildlife collection, which features Koalas, Wombats, Alligators, Komodo dragons, predatory birds, exotic snakes and reptiles.
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