2014 Wildside MTB Mountain Bike Event Launched Thu 9 January 2014 Brian Wightman Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage The Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage, Brian Wightman, today launched the ninth biennial Wildside MTB mountain bike event. “Wildside MTB is regarded as Australia’s premier multi-day, mountain bike stage race. “This year’s event once again promises to be of a very high standard, with the best riders from Australia and overseas competing alongside weekend warriors who are setting out to go the distance and hopefully do a personal best. “The Tasmanian Government through Events Tasmania has provided $50 000 to the 2014 Wildside MTB,” Mr Wightman said. Race director, Nic Deka said today that the capping of overall entry numbers at around 500 and the biennial format has enabled us to build a high quality and sought after event entry. “We’ve been able to build, with the assistance of the State Government, through Events Tasmania, an excellent reputation in the international mountain biking arena. “Over the four days of the event, riders will travel 200 kilometres from Cradle Mountain to Strahan in seven competition stages,” Ms Deka said. Mr Wightman said that it was really pleasing to see the focus that an international event such as Wildside MTB, brings to the north-west and west-coast wilderness areas. “I understand around two thirds of this year’s field will travel to Tasmania for the event, bringing with them supporters and crew, and delivering direct economic benefits to communities in the north west and west coast. “In 2012 the financial benefits to Tasmania, from this participation, was estimated at around $1 million direct spend into the Tasmanian economy,” he said. “And Independent tourism research shows that around 60 per cent of event visitors will return to take in all the ‘nooks and crannies’ that they weren’t able to see first time around. “Tasmania is a fantastic place to enjoy mountain biking and with high quality trail developments right around the state and events such as Wildside MTB, we are well placed to become one of Australia’s leading destinations for mountain biking,” Mr Wightman said.