Hepburn Shire Council is working in partnership with the City of Ballarat advocating for a mountain biking program to be included in the 2026 Commonwealth Games and for competition to be held at the Creswick Trails.

The State Government has announced that the Games will be held between the 17-29 March 2026. The Games, to be hosted in Regional Victoria, will be the first to be held outside a major metropolitan centre.

Hepburn Shire and Ballarat Councils are calling for Mountain Biking to be included in the Victoria 2026 program and for the program to be conducted at the Creswick Trails.  Mountain Biking has been held at a number of Commonwealth and Olympic games recently, including at the upcoming Birmingham 2022 games.

Hepburn Shire Council has recently released a tender for construction of the Creswick Trails Network, a major milestone for the multi-million dollar project, which will see 60km of mountain bike trails built in and around the Regional Park, State Forest and plantation lands of Creswick.

Work is already underway on the Hammon Park Trailhead in Creswick, which will serve as a community and youth precinct focusing on accessible play, cycling safety, cyclocross, and a site for local, regional and national events.

Lisa Jacobs, three-time Australian Cyclocross Champion and MTB Ambassador for the Great Dividing Trail Association, is excited abput the possibility. “Creswick is such a beautiful location to ride and, with the planned Creswick Trails project due for completion in 2024, it offers the perfect opportunity to showcase new world-class trails to the best mountain bike riders in the world,” said Lisa. “I sincerely hope that we will see mountain biking included in the 2026 Commonwealth Games program in Creswick.  What a wonderful way to celebrate riding in central Victoria!”

Hepburn Shire Council Mayor, Cr Tim Drylie, said this is an exciting opportunity to include mountain biking in the 2026 games and to showcase what will be the world class Creswick Trails. “The Creswick Trails is a strongly supported project that is expected to be completed in 2024 and will include the construction of a 60-kilometre mountain bike trail,” said Cr Drylie. “The opportunities and benefits the 2026 Commonwealth Games will hold for Regional Victoria are significant and we congratulate the State Government and other partners on choosing to bring the games to the regions.”

“Creswick’s proximity to the Ballarat Commonwealth Games regional hub, and especially the Athletics villages makes it an attractive option for any potential mountain biking events.   The State Government have been a key partner in the Creswick Trails and Hammon Park Trailhead projects and have provided significant funding to the planning and construction,” said Cr Drylie.

Ballarat Mayor, Cr Daniel Moloney, said the inclusion of a Mountain Bike program in the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games would be a great addition to the program and ensure the games appeal to a broader audience.

“Having the event staged in Creswick would provide a significant economic boost to the region, reduce cost of staging the event and provide an incredible athlete experience in the Ballarat Athletes Village,” he said. “We wholeheartedly support the Hepburn Shire’s push for Mountain Biking as it strategically fits with both Councils cycling event program and would leave an important cycling legacy for the region”.