The state government announced earlier this week that Mountain Bike (MTB) Racing will be staged at Creswick for the 2026 Commonwealth Games in regional Victoria.
The announcement caps a campaign by Hepburn Shire and Ballarat Councils to include MTB in the Victoria 2026 program and to stage MTB racing in Creswick. Mountain Biking has been held at a number of recent Commonwealth and Olympic Games, including at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Commonwealth Games Australia CEO Craig Phillips said, “Mountain Bike will once again feature at the 2026 Commonwealth Games, and there is no better home than Creswick. Its extensive range of trails make it one of the best stages in the world.”
The news came as part of an announcement of a $150 million upgrade to Eureka Stadium in Ballarat. A new athletics track will be built on the existing playing field and the stadium will be expanded to hold an additional 5,000 permanent seats with improved accessibility. For the Games, an additional 18,000 temporary seats will be installed.
The MTB trails in Creswick are being further developed as part of Hepburn Shire’s Creswick Trails project.
Hepburn Shire Council released a tender for construction of the Creswick Trails Network earlier this year. Tenders closed on September 6 and it is anticipated that Council will award a contract at the November 2022 Council Meeting. Construction is expected to begin in early 2023 for completion in the middle of 2024.
Council received a $2.56 million grant from Regional Development Victoria’s Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund. Council has contributed $1.52 million to date and is investigating additional funding sources.