Hmmm, hello Flow Team and welcome to
another episode of Flow Lounge. This week we’re talking about the new National Cup.
Now you may have noticed last week that the MTBA, Mountain Bike Australia, came out
and announced at the national series, for so long the peak level of national
competition, in Australia is no more. It is now being replaced with the new
National Cup. We had plenty of questions about this so we got on the blower to
Shane Coppin who is the CEO of MTB to ask him a few questions about the
National Cup how it’s going to run and what it all means. Now before we jump
into that, a little bit of background. Obviously the National Series has been
on the wane for some time, as has a lot of racing across Australia. Obviously
there are more disciplines than ever, in the past you probably didn’t have enduro
competing with downhill for instance attracting essentially the same kind
of competitors to two different events. There’s obviously more events than ever
– so numbers are having to be spread around a little bit more thinly, plus
people are travelling more just to ride and so people are putting their money
into that rather than necessarily going racing. So there’s a bunch of different
reasons and the National Series is not immune to any of those. So what is the
National Cup? Well in comparison to the National Series which was its own
distinct series of events that used to sit on top of all the other events in
the mountain bike calendar, kind of having to kind of get itself sandwiched in
between them all at that very busy beginning part of the year, the National
Cup actually looks to work with existing events that are already out there on the
mountain bike calendar and incorporate them into a national level competition.
So those events now have the ability or the choice to join up to the National
Cup. They can have themselves listed as an event at a variety of different tiers
which we’ll touch on later. There are six different tiers of competition within
the National Cup so riders who take part in those events
are going to be allocated points. The number of points that they get will
depend on the tier of the event that they have been taking part in. And those
points count towards a national ranking overall with one person being
declared the National Cup winner in each discipline at the end
of the year. So why have MTBA done this? Well it’s all about increasing access
and participation in national level competition. In the past the National
Series was always held at that first three-month period of the year –
it’s always quite a busy time of year for most people, it’s also fairly
geographically concentrated in the south east corner of Australia, it was just
generally very hard for people to get to national series events. Whether that’s
for work reasons, travel reasons, family reasons
it certainly wasn’t a convenient kind of competition for most people to get
involved in and it certainly wasn’t always australia-wide. Now spreading the
events across the entire nation allowing events from wherever to get involved in
in the National Cup really obviously increases the geographical reach of the
national competition. Suddenly you’re going to be able to get people taking
part in the national competition who just wouldn’t have physically been able
to do so in the past. So obviously spreading the events out
across the entire calendar year makes a big difference too in terms of our
helping people get to those events. Thirdly it also helps with identifying
talent. For those same reasons the National Series wasn’t always
particularly accessible to younger riders, but now with a truly national
framework we’re hopefully going to be able to identify talented riders who
just couldn’t get to National Series events before. With this centralized
National Cup system we’re going to see their names coming up they’re going to
be brought to the attention of MTBA and we’re going to see them getting high
national rankings, and hopefully that’ll will help with identifying all kinds of
talent who otherwise might have slid underneath the radar. From the
perspective of a club or an event promoter the National Cup is going to
allow them to be part of something bigger which I think is actually a
pretty cool kind of thing, having your event associated with a a cup series
certainly adds them a bit of vibe to it that might not have been there otherwise.
And finally this whole new format financially is going to be a lot more
affordable for clubs to get themselves involved in a national level competition.
If you wanted to host a National Series round in the past it was
pretty expensive to do so, whereas taking part in the National Cup
starts from just a couple hundred bucks, and we’ll touch on the cost a little bit
more later as well. So in terms of the styles and disciplines of mountain
biking that are going to be included in the National Cup, well they’re basically
all there. You’ve got XCO and XCE then you’ve got marathon as well then you’ve
also gravity enduro, downhill and also for the first time stage racing is going
to be part of the national series. And we think that’s actually pretty cool, there
are a lot of stage races happening now all the way across Australia, and so
you’re now going to have a National Cup winner in stage racing. So what about
this tiered structure? Well essentially events are going to be allocated into
one of six different tiers. Now there are going to be criteria around those tiers.
It starts at Tier 3, which is your basic club level event. Tier 2 is an event with
a slightly more regional focus, so pulling something out of the air, like
your South East Queenslan gravity enduro series. A Tier one event is a more
premium statewide event, you know something that might attract some
national riders, riders from around the nation,
and certainly will attract riders from across the state. So that could for
instance be something like your Convict 100 marathon race. On top of that you
have certain marquee events that are going to be selected by MTBA to have
that kind of marquee status. That might be something like Oceanias, or for
instance the Cannonball mountain bike Festival might have an event that
reaches that marquee status. On top of that you have state championships and
then you have national championships as the very top tier. So those tiers relate
back to the points structure and how the points are going to be awarded to riders
for participating in different events. Now the way the points system works
sounds complicated but is actually pretty simple. In essence there is a set
table of points that is applied across all events and then there is a
multiplier and that is given to those points depending on what tier the event
is. So it’s all set around tier 2 events. So if you win the Tier 2 event you get
200 points. A Tier 1 event has a multiplier of 150%, so if you win a Tier
1 event you get 300 points for the win. A Tier three event however has a multiplier of
50% so you would only get a hundred points for winning the tier three event.
And that is played out across all the different levels. So marquee events get a
higher multiplier you get a higher multiplier again for state championships
and then if you win a national champs that is the highest multiplier. So it is
a pretty simple kind of system really even though it sounds a little bit
complicated to explain. And across the course of the entire 12 month National
Cup your best 12 scores overall count. That’s not your best 12 positions, but your
best 12 scores. Because you might, for instance, get a win at a Tier 3 event but
a second-place in a Tier 2 event, and your score for that Tier 2 event is
actually going to be higher than your Tier 3 event. So your best 12 scores over
the course of the year count. You can do 20 races and it’s only going to be the
best 12 that are going to count towards your eventual National Cup results. So if
you’re a club or an event promoter and you want to get involved in the National
Cup what does it cost? Well there are fees to be involved and we think that on
the whole they are a very, very reasonable they’re pretty damn
affordable. It starts at 200 bucks for instance if you’re a Tier 3 event and
you want to get involved in the National Cup. That gets your event listed it means
that your event is now part of that central database of points and that
people who take part in your event are contributing to their national ranking.
So very, very minimal cost for a Tier 3 event. Even if you’re a Tier 1 event it’s
only 1100 bucks to be involved in the National Cup, so again
not prohibitively expensive. Especially when you compare it to say running a
national round. In the past if you wanted to run a national round, say for instance
an XCO doubleheader, you were looking at about 16 thousand bucks to do that, and
then the cost of delivering the event on top of that. So in comparison it is a far
far cheaper way to have an event involved in national competition. One
of the questions that we had was whether or not the National Cup points we’re
going to be contributing to Worlds team selections. And it turns out that, yes,
they will but they’re certainly not the be-all end-all they are part of the
overall mix and we think that’s pretty fair, because a lot of our top racers spend
a lot of time overseas, not necessarily able to take part in a
huge number of domestic events. But it would be ridiculous to rule them out of
being part of our Worlds team and to penalise them for not being around to
race domestically. So, yes, the National Cup points are part of the mix when it
comes to choosing national team for Worlds, but they certainly aren’t the
only determinant. So what do you get if you do win the National Cup overall? well
obviously there’s all the lovely usual stuff like a jersey and a trophy as well,
but we are likely to see some prize money and products flowing through too.
MTBA are seeking sponsors at the moment for the National Cup and we’re sure that
as more people come on board as sponsors we’re going to start to see more flow
into the the prize pool for the National Cup overall which will
be great. Overall we think this is a really, really great move from MTBA.
Clearly something had to be done. The National Series was ailing and we think
this is a really, really cool solution. It’s now really over to the clubs and
the event promoters as well as a general public to get behind this idea. We think
it is a real winner and we think it has huge potential to grow participation in
racing across Australia and also help grow our talent pool hopefully – and
help us identify young talented riders who are coming up the ranks who
otherwise might have just gone unnoticed. And hopefully, you know, give us more
champions on the podiums of World Cups and World Champs as well. Of course if
you have any more questions about the National Cup please stick them in the
comments below or send us a message or an email and we will do whatever we can
to answer those for you. Of course subscribe to our channel if
you like what we do and don’t forget to watch this one down here as well while
you’re at it. Thanks very much that’s Flow Lounge for another week and we’ll see you next time.