march 7-9, 2025

event overview

After the demise of the Port to Port event, MTB stage racing is back in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie via the “The Black Pearl”.

The event nickname reflects the nautical history of the port town but also bares cheeky links to the fictional pirate ship from a well known movie which was sunk at least three times. But, just like Jack Sparrow, The Black Pearl is notorious for being nearly impossible to destroy, and seemed a great nickname for a reborn MTB stage race in this region.

Our first foray back to Newcastle was a huge success in 2023 as we descended on the iconic trails of Glenrock and Awaba for a weekend of fun riding and great times with a bunch of old mates. A mini-stage race that focused on only the best single track in the region, (and did away with the long gravel road grinds), proved to be a winning formula for everyone that participated.  Now “The Black Pearl” will launch the 2025 Quad Crown series in March, and is sure to start things off with a bang!

The iconic trail network of Glenrock will again host the Prelude time trial on the Friday afternoon and feature heavily in the Sunday stage as well.  The Prelude in 2023 was a blast as all of the classic trails like Twisties, Double Barrel, Seismic and of course Snakes & Ladders were aligned into a brilliant 10km long loop where riders will put down their best effort and get their handicap for the weekend stages ahead.

Stage 1 will again start and finish from Awaba MTB park with the field tackling a testing climb to begin with before coming back into the park to experience Awaba essentials such as Polly Waffle, Skids for Kids, Tunnel of Love, Biraban AND Faulk Line!!!  A reputation for hosting the Queen Stage in past stage races in the region, this course has a lot to live up to and based on the success of the first Black Pearl event we can guarantee it will only be better in 2025!

To cap things off, Stage 2 on Sunday will again feature possibly the best collection of trails on the doorstep of any major city in Australia.  Returning to the coast just south of Newcastle, this course will incorporate the amazing trail networks of Whitebridge, Redhead, Fernleigh and Glenrock into one fantastic stage that will start and finish at the aptly named Royal Crown Hotel in Dudley.  The course that we put together for the inaugural Black Pearl event in 2023 was considered by most to be the best ever stage for a race held in this region.  So with a little tinkering we think we can make something that was close to perfect even better again!

Newcastle was recently named “NSWs Top Tourism Town”, cementing their status as a premier tourism and major events destination.  And mountain biking in this region deserves an MTB stage race (even of the mini variety) so we are super excited to announce the return of The Black Pearl to kick off our 2025 calendar of events.

The Quad Crown MTB event map for The Black Pearl