Confirmed: Australia’s Road Nationals are heading to Perth

The road race course is "probably not as hard as Buninyong".

Matt de Neef
by Matt de Neef 22.01.2024 Photography by
Paul Arky/Unsplash
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Australia’s Road National Championships are moving to Perth for the next three years.

As first reported by Escape, the City of Perth approved sponsorship for the event in November 2023, but AusCycling has today announced that the event is confirmed. After 18 years in Ballarat and Buninyong – and 21 of the last 23 editions held there – the event is heading to the Western Australian capital where it will be held from 2025 through 2027.

The choice of Perth comes after what an AusCycling press release describes as “an exhaustive search for a venue that would both excite fans and challenge some of the world’s best riders.” 

AusCycling’s executive general manager of sport, Kipp Kaufmann, told Escape that he’s delighted to see the event move to a large population centre.

“It’s super exciting to be in a major metropolitan city, which a lot of bike races aren’t able to do these days,” he said. “Being in a major capital city, we’ll see some exciting build of crowds, tension, and [we’ll] really [be] bringing the race to the people.”

The courses haven’t yet been finalised, but AusCycling did tease “an all-new CBD course” and the use of the picturesque Kings Park, just south-west of the Perth CBD, for the road races.

“Running the road races through such an iconic location is a privilege and a perfect way to showcase this beautiful city to the rest of Australia and a huge international broadcast audience,” said AusCycling CEO Marne Fechner. “We thank WA Tourism, the City of Perth and the WA government for making this new chapter possible.”

Kaufmann told Escape that the time trial and criterium courses haven’t yet been decided. “We’ll do that in the coming months, but in both cases, we’ll be looking to put them in and around Perth, and certainly the criterium will be held in inner-city Perth,” he said.

For the road races, there are several options for a finishing circuit within the Kings Park precinct. One loop option would extend roughly 6.6 km while another option spans 6.2 km. The roads that form these loops are hilly without having any climbs that are as long or difficult as the Mt. Buninyong ascent that’s defined the past 18 editions of Road Nationals. This suggests a road race course that’s challenging without being as punishing to pure sprinters as the Mt. Buninyong circuit – a long-held point of contention among some riders and fans.

“It’s probably not as hard as Buninyong,” Kaufmann said. “I think that’s a good description of it. I think it’ll still be a challenging course but probably still a good one-day rider will prevail on this course.”

Could the entirety of the road races be conducted within the park?

“The majority of it will take place in Kings Park, and then we’ll work with authorities just around that start/finish precinct, whether it needs to go into the adjacent roads in the CBD or not,” Kaufmann said. “But certainly the roads within Kings Park will form the majority of the road race.”

AusCycling has confirmed that the Perth Road Nats will follow in Ballarat’s footsteps by bringing together junior, para-cycling, elite, and mass participation riders in one big week of cycling in early January.

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