Press release by MTBA on 3 February 2015:
Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) are thrilled to announce that the iconic Willo Enduro Challenge event will join the 2015 National Marathon Mountain Bike Series.
The Willo Enduro Challenge is moving into its 5th year and was created in memory of James ‘Willo’ Williamson as a joint venture between Southern Highlands Mountain Bike Club and Canberra Off-Road Cyclists.
Williamson, the 2008 World Solo 24 Hour Champion, passed away in 2010 as a result of a pre-existing heart condition while at the Cape Epic event in South Africa, an event he had entered with close friend Shaun Lewis.
The event not only allows the mountain biking community to remember a much-loved rider who had a perpetual smile on his face, but also raises funds towards the hosting of the James Williamson Junior Development Camp.
Junior entrants at this year’s event will also have the chance to win entries to the annual MTBA Australia Camp.
With the addition of the Willo Enduro the series is now extended to seven races, with all riders accommodated for by the series rules (currently being finalised) providing riders with ranking results from their best four events.
Willo Enduro Event Director, Meg Patey said “The Willo Enduro stands as an annual reminder for riders of the joys of mountain biking and a tribute to James for all that he achieved in such a short period of time.
“In 2015, it is a great privilege to be part of the National Marathon Mountain Bike Series, as a fitting celebration of James’s talents as an Enduro rider.
“The Willo Enduro looks forward to working with MTBA and the six other XCM race organisers, to continue to make this series an integral part of the Australian mountain bike calendar.”
MTBA President Russ Baker reflected “I would like to thank Meg for proposing that the Willo Enduro be part of the national XCM Calendar.
“Passionate about his sport in every way, in addition to being a World Solo 24 Hour Champion, James Williamson was a top-level XCO and XCM rider and the WIllo Enduro has proven itself to be a great and honourable way of remembering him.
“The Willo Enduro is a well established event in a very convenient location for riders with a great course, more than fitting for a race of national stature.
“I would also like to commend Meg Patey and her team for the support that the Willo Foundation gives to junior riders from the proceeds of this race. This will continue into the future, providing the opportunity for young Australians to emulate James’ achievements.
“I encourage all riders to take part in the ‘Willo’, it will be a fantastic experience and a great way to support the future of our sport.”
A series-specific website is being developed and will be released later this week.