Rider Briefing | The Willo 2021 Canberra aCT

Welcome to The Willo 2021. Let us tell you a little bit about this special race.

The event is named after James ‘Willo’ Williamson who was an inspiration to follow as a rider. The Willo Marathon has been run in his memory since he so tragically passed away from a heart condition while racing in South Africa over ten years ago now. Willo will always be remembered as the champion mountain biker from the Southern Highlands that he was. Every race participant will be instantly taken by the relaxed and friendly nature of the race, which in fact does reflect on James and the camaraderie that mountain biking brings for all.

Thanks to James’ aunt Meg Patey and his many close friends, riding & racing mates, the Willo has established itself as one of the top mountain bike marathons on the Australian cycling racing calendars and it has become an annual reminder to all riders of the joys of mountain biking as well as the impact James had on the sport.

Rocky Trail Entertainment is proudly continuing the legacy of James. The Willo Junior Clinics and Marathon will always be celebrating the memory of a great man and Rocky Trail Entertainment will make sure that the future of this inspiring event will be bright.

The current ‘home’ of The Willo: Canberra

2020 WILLO was moved to Sparrow Hill in the ACT due to the devastating fires that hit southern highlands and much of the rest of the east coast. It turned out to be one of the last pre COVID events. What a year!!! We are immensely proud to have been able to deliver WILLO clinics to 42 junior riders in over 2 weekends with the money raised. We must thank Dylan Cooper at Ride Technics and all his coaches for successfully delivering these clinics. The 2021 WILLO will be staged again at Sparrow Hill in the ACT whilst we wait for the rebirth of the Wingello trail network.

The race circuit is a 20-25km loop at Sparrow and Kowen Forests in Canberra and there are various distance classifications across adult and junior age groups, plus fun kids races for little riders in the event centre.

A big shout-out to GIANT Australia, Willo’s sponsors, who continue to be a part of this race. We love their enthusiasm and passion for the sport! We’d also like to thank Events ACT for their fantastic ongoing support of Rocky Trail mountain bike racing. Go, Visit Canberra, make it a weekend and check out our “Capital Destination Guide for #rockytrailracers” for all the visitor information.



We are so grateful for the outpour of support and enthusiasm by our Rocky Trail riders through 2020. We have been able to deliver successful events through the support of our. Community and with their assistance to ride within the constraints COVID 19 presented. We need to continue to comply to social distancing and other COVID rules to continue to run events.

A lot of thought has gone into this Rider Briefing and we expect all competitors and non-racing visitors to comply with how this event will be run. It is very challenging and a privilege to host this event and participate in this race – we appreciate your cooperation.

  • We are tracking all event participants – non-racing supporters and ANY visitor at the venue are required to sign in at the registrations tent or use the QR code posters available around the event hub:


Make every race count.

Key things to remember

  • The 25 km course is marked with BLUE WILLO arrows and Shimano bunting. The map is available online.
  • Riders are expected to remain on the designated course.
  • Races may be started in waves by category at or after the scheduled race start at the Race Directors discretion. Final configuration of the waves will be determined by the Race Director on the morning of the race. Riders will be given their “Gun” time based the wave start for each category.
  • Riders who start before the gun of their designated start will suffer either a penalty time or disqualification at the discretion of the Race Director.
  • KOM and QOM prize will be awarded to the man and woman respectively, who accrues the greatest number of points on the 3 laps. Points will be 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 for the first 5 rides on each lap.
  • Riders will be timed using a transponder on the back of the number plate. It is essential this transponder is not damaged or folded.
  • There is one feed/tech zone available at the event hub just after the finish timing and before the Highway underpass. Riders are not to accept outside assistance anywhere else on the course.
  • Please refrain from littering on course.
  • When passing or overtaking on course please be respectful of other riders. Request space to pass and allow the rider in front time to find a safe place. Remember your “please” and “thankyou”.
  • At 1:45pm a cut-off will occur. Riders Last lap must have been started. Sweeper will leave the event hub. Riders having not started their last lap will be withdrawn…
  • Our staff at rego and at the starts are there to help. Talk to them.

The WILLO supports junior riders so it makes sense to provide a special Junior Race!
The 6.5km lap at Sparrow Hill will be ridden twice for the Juniors making it a 13km race. A fun kids race for the youngest shredders will be happening in the event centre.

  • The 6.5km course has been marked with YELLOW Arrows and Shimano Bunting.
  • All kids will start in a single wave at the scheduled time
  • We have adults riding alongside the young riders with “Marshal” plates to keep an eye on them. “Marshals” may provide outside assistance as needed.
  • Parents wishing to ride as marshals must request a marshal plate at registrations.
  • If any of the kids are struggling or if it looks like they will not complete one lap in an hour or won’t manage the full two laps, they can pull out after one lap.

We can wait to see you smashing it! – Remember, your race photos are included in your entry, be sure to download them after the race and share your stories using:



The Willo, 2020

ABOUT the venue

Event centre and parking location: Sparrow Hill ACT

  • Trails: Sparrow Hill trails are a part of the KOWEN Forestry area and have active logging program in sections that are not being raced. Please obey all signs and stay out or these active logging areas.
  • Race schedule: check out the detail race schedule with rego and start times here.
  • CAUTION when accessing Sparrow Hill Rd: There are road works on the Kings Hwy adjacent to the entrance to Sparrow Hill Rd. Caution on these sections as there are currently no lines marked. You may need to allow additional time to get to the venue Sunday morning.
  • Parking is available inside the gate for approximately 130 cars. Please follow the instructions of the volunteer parking attendants. Additional car parking is on Sparrow hill road. Help us maximise this area. Check location page for track and parking maps.
  • Team tents, etc may be dropped off Saturday afternoon. We will remain on site. And much of the event hub will remain setup.
  • Toilets, waste: As well as the long drop toilet that is permanently onsite, 4 additional toilets will be provided. A skip bin will be onsite for rubbish.
  • Food and Coffee will be at the Event Hub from early Sunday morning
  • First Aid station will be in the Event Hub and be mobile around the racecourse. Whilst out on course or if unable to get to the event hub the Race Director, Bob Morris’s mobile is on every race plate.
  • Water: Please bring your own drinking water – we will have limited shared water.

Rider List and Results

From now on and all weekend you can find links to Rider List and LIVE Results via the drop-down menu from the event page on our website! You can check these now and throughout the weekend via your mobile devices – to reduce touch points we will not have any public display computers on-site.

Emergency contacts:

Race Director – Bob Morris 0458 299 558
Event Manager – Martin Wisata 0403 090 952
Event Manager & Media Liaison – Jo Parker 0424 955 332

COVID-specific Event Rules

How are we running this event and how do we keep you safe? By limiting the rider field to 300 per day (events up to 500 are allowed at the moment in NSW) you can see right away that we still err on the side of caution. So please understand if some of the rules appear harsh, but we need to ensure that we can keep racing in this new world.

  • Social Distancing: Our main request is that you follow the Covid-Safe rules and regulations as laid out by the ACT Government and observe strict Social Distancing Rules throughout your race day. A lot of thought has gone into this Rider Briefing and we expect all competitors and non-racing visitors to comply with how this event will be run. It is very challenging and a privilege to host this event and participate in this race – we appreciate your cooperation.
  • Non-racing supporters and ANY visitor at the venue are required to sign in for an Event Access Pass ahead of the race as we are tracking all event participants! – Request your Access Pass AHEAD of the event via these links:

Rocky Trail Covid-19 safety guidelines:

  1. BEFORE THE RACE: If any of the following applies please contact us immediately.
    We will transfer or refund your entry but you CAN NOT PARTICIPATE in the event:
    1. If you are showing any signs of the cold or flu.
    2. If you have event the slightest fever (we have facilities on site to test and will send you home immediately if you have fever).
    3. Please be aware that we will and are ready to shut down and postpone the event if direct Federal or State Health orders change in the event lead up until Friday.
    4. For details regarding event transfers or to cancel an entry, please refer to our policy.
  2. ON RACE DAY: There are a few important changes on how we run things on the day:
    1. ACCESS:
      • if you are spectating on your non-racing day, please check in online and report to the Rego tent as a supporter/visitor.
      • You can practice on non-racing days (tracks are marked), but we won’t have any services (marshalls, first aid) in place.
    2. ARRIVAL & PARKING: When you arrive you will be directed to the car park areas.
      • Parking:
        • No parking in non-designated areas. Please follow signs and instructions by our crew.
      • Event centre: if you are setting up a tent for riders you must respect social distancing guidelines.
    3. RACE PLATE: You can pick up your race plate with the timing chip from 7.30am
      • This way we avoid queues near the registration area.
      • If you are late, don’t worry, come to see us at the rego tent and we will assist you. You can still have your race and we’ll explain it all to you then.
      • Saturday: 8:45am Rider call up, be race ready.
      • Sunday: Timing starts from 8am – you can start anytime after that and only your time out on the race course counts (ie neutral zone in event centre/feed zone)
      • The official rider briefing usually held before the race start is replaced by this means of communication.
      • If you queue up at a start line please leave a bike length between each other.
      • Overall we don’t expect much queuing as the field will spread quickly.
      • When you finish your race please give each other as much space as possible.
      • No hand-shaking permitted at event.
      • Please understand that we need to be very strict on this . Non-compliance will result in revoking race access or disqualification.
    5. CHEERING: Keep 4m distance to the race track!
      • If you ‘hackle’ or encourage other riders on their race run please do so at least 4m away from the race track.
      • Shouting is a known source of virus transmission and we MUST minimise the risk there. Non-compliance will result in revoking race access or disqualification.
      • Race results are LIVE throughout the day.
      • Access race results via the website.
      • IMPORTANT: CHECK YOUR RACE RESULTS with us or as soon as you cross the line! The top three podium getters in each age category will receive their series plate.
      • There WILL be an official CEREMONY and we will comply with social distancing laws.
        • Podium positions 1-3 will receive a Series Plate with a place recognition plaque.
        • If you are already racing with a Series Plate, you will receive the place recognition plaque.
      • No ‘snot rockets’ (blowing your nose without a tissue) in the vicinity of other people.
      • Hand washing stations and sanitation stations are available at the venue.
      • Please regularly clean your hands with an alcoholic-based hand rub or wash hands with soap and water (especially after going to bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing).
      • Riders and visitors are encouraged to wear (cycling) gloves when picking up number plates.
      • Unless from the same family, we discourage you from car-pooling to the venue.
      • Every person at the event (including non-racers) need to register.
      • Racers will be tracked with race plates.
      • Non-competitors will need to sign on via the online system.

Enforcement of COVID Safe Plan

If we see blatant breaches of those rules we will ask you to leave the event. You are not only potentially endangering other racers, but also the future of our business.

We recommend but won’t enforce that all event participants use the Covid Safe App to assist health authorities with tracking potentially.

Please understand that the team won’t shake hands, hug, high five or fist bump anyone and will be trying keep some distance to all riders during registration, start and finish. There will be a lot socially distance elbow bumps from us, which is almost as good .

Now, get ready!

Do you have any questions?

Talk to us via our online chat – click on the orange circle symbol on your bottom right screen corner and we’ll be right with you! (We always love talking bikes, racing and riding!)

See. You. Soon.