It's been called "Satan's Velodrome" and for many competitors it has certainly been hell. And yet they return, again and again, from throughout Australia and around the world, for those five days of the year when this unique location plays host to an extraordinary cycling event ....
The Simpson Desert Challenge
NEWS FLASH: The Simpson Desert parks have has been closed because of bushfires but the Committee has designed a new race route and the starters flag will fall as planned at 7am Tuesday 27th September.
For updates check out https://www.facebook.com/pages/Simpson-Desert-Bike-Challenge/129005327130568
That's right. It's our 25th year and we're planning to make it very special. Register and be part of this amazing event. On 26th September 2011, competitors, support crew and officials will gather at Purni Bore, South Australia, on the western edge of the Simpson Desert for the 25th Annual Bike Challenge.
At 6am on Tuesday 27th September the first of nine stages will commence. The riders will surge off into the heart of the Simpson Desert along the 'Rig Road'. This narrow clay capped track was originally constructed to facilitate oil exploration in the 60s, but it is fast deteriorating as time, weather and 4WD traffic takes its toll.
The first 4 days have an 80km morning stage followed by a 50km afternoon stage. The final 80km stage on day 5 ends outside a classic Aussie icon - the Birdsville Hotel in the tiny outback town of Birdsville in Queensland.
The total distance of around 590 km takes in some 700 sand dunes, salt lakes, vast cattle stations, gibber plains and even a potential creek crossing. The course is weather dependent and subject to alteration.