Revised 11 October 2019

This document addresses issues which are specific to mountain bike orienteering (MTBO) and complements general advice given in other event management documents.


(** designates primarily the function of the Course Planner)

1. OACT Safety Policy.

The organiser should familiarise her/himself with Document 14, Safety and Emergency Procedures, and determine an emergency contact number to be printed on the maps. This is especially relevant in more remote or rugged areas. The event organiser has the discretion to require all competitors to carry a whistle for safety reasons.

2. Land Use Permission and Conditions.

Permission for MTBO events is normally obtained by the organiser or course planner. The OACT Office can provide advice on whom to contact for events held on OACT Government land. When permission is granted, make sure that all conditions which may have been placed on the use of the area are strictly observed (such as out-of-bounds areas, fence crossings, disturbance to stock, provision of toilets etc.).

Take a copy of the approval to the event, in case there are any issues with authorities or local residents.

3. Event Notification.

Advise the OACT Office of the event details as soon as they are known, in particular, the directions to the assembly area, courses offered, facilities provided, contact name and telephone number for enquiries.

4. Courses**.

For club events throughout the year, three courses should be offered as follows:

  • Short (approximately 12 km)
  • Medium (approximately 17 – 20 km)
  • Long (approximately 25 – 30 km)

The distances can vary depending on the terrain. The course lengths should be given as the shortest sensible route that follows permissible tracks, roads or open land. The total climb should be given as the climb in metres along the shortest sensible route.

Less experienced course planners are encouraged to contact the OACT Office or the Mountain Bike Orienteering coordinator to seek assistance. Document 2, Successful Course Planning, has been written for foot orienteering but contains some advice which is relevant also to mountain bike orienteering.

For environmental and safety reasons, MTBO courses are generally limited to roads, tracks and other areas which are otherwise available for mountain bike use. The maps prepared for MTBO indicates a degree of difficulty in riding these tracks. Courses intended for beginners should offer route options which are suitable for less experienced riders.

As MTBO courses are confined to tracks, navigation at moderate speed is not difficult. One of the key skills in MTBO is choosing the fastest route option, taking account of the distance, amount of climb and quality of the track. The degree of difficulty of a MTBO course is influenced by the number and variety of route choice options, the complexity of the track network, and the frequency of decision points along the route, with the need to think quickly when riding at speed. These factors can be exploited by the course planner to determine the relative level of navigational challenge of the respective courses offered. The longer courses offer a higher level of navigational challenge, although short hard courses may also be provided.

5. Maps**.

Contact Andrew Slattery (, 0438 188 955) to obtain the most recent maps for course planning. For the event, maps should be pre-marked with courses, control descriptions and an emergency contact number, using Purple Pen, OCAD or other suitable software (see Document 13, Preparing Pre-Marked Maps). Unless otherwise arranged, maps should be sent to Andrew for final checking at least two weeks before the event. After checking, Andrew will forward the maps as PDF files to the OACT Office for printing. If other arrangements are proposed for map printing, please contact Andrew as early as possible.

5. Control Flags**.

The MTBO controls differ from other controls in that they are designed to allow competitors to use their SI sticks (or punch if SI is not used) without getting off the bike. The controls are in a box marked ‘MTBO’ in the Giralang storage shed or are with the MTBO Co-ordinator, and should be picked up with other equipment prior to the event. The control code numbers of the flags for course setting purposes are 101 – 120 inclusive.

6. Event Roster.

The organiser must arrange for a suitable number of club members to be available to undertake the various tasks required for the smooth running of the event on the day. Help is always required for packing up and control pick-up, but organising for this is often neglected.

The controller, organiser and course planner will need to be supplemented by volunteers to perform at least the following functions (possibly in two shifts):

  • Help set up and take down tent and other basic event infrastructure.
  • Register participants, take payments and give out maps.
  • Put up results (unless competitors are asked to do this themselves).

The organiser, course planner and controller should remain free to oversight the event, to deal with newcomers and any complaints, and to organise recovery of controls and any persons overdue or missing.

7. Event Equipment and Stores.

The OACT equipment and stores trailer (if required) are held in the OACT storage shed in Coree Place (off Tucana Street), Giralang. The keys for the storage shed can be obtained from the OACT Office or from Anita Scherrer (0457 584 459) or Pat Miethke (0428 830 201, ). There is no lighting at the shed, so a torch is needed if visiting at night.

Apart from the control flags, the equipment used for organising MTBO events is generally the same as that for Weekend Classic events and is kept in the trailer at the Giralang storage. See the equipment checklist in Document 8 for a list of what is kept in the trailer, as well as other items that are available if required from the storage shed.

Map boards are available for hire and are held by the MTBO Co-ordinator.

The equipment should be checked a few days prior to the event by the organiser and replenished or reconditioned as required. Ensure that you have a sufficient number of registration cards, that the water containers are refilled, and that you have plastic cups and bags for the disposal of rubbish. The cash box is the one used for Classic events and is kept in the OACT Office. It should contain a float of $100. Check that it contains a sufficient quantity of change in the correct denominations.

If necessary, the equipment can be brought to the event in the trailer, but the amount of equipment needed may not justify this at some events. If items are removed from the trailer, they must be replaced after the event.

If the equipment for MTBO events is brought to the event in the trailer, it is necessary for the organiser to ensure that someone is available to tow the trailer. The trailer can be hitched onto a vehicle single-handed but it is easier with assistance. Pull the trailer out of the shed and check its contents before leaving the site. You can take additional pigtails, stands, tarpaulins etc. but, on return, remove such additional items from the trailer. The trailer has a device locked on the trailer coupling to prevent theft of the trailer. It is locked with a padlock and the key is with the shed keys. The device should be stored in the trailer after it is removed, and both parts should be locked together with the padlock to prevent one part from being lost.

8. Timing Equipment.

If SportIdent (SI) is used for timing, the event computers and SI equipment (in a large clear plastic box) need to be collected a few days in advance. If not in use for other events, this equipment is kept in the OACT Office. See the equipment checklist in Document 8 for a list of the computer/SI equipment required.

Ensure that someone who is familiar with its use is available to use this equipment. If necessary, the computer operator should borrow the equipment and an accompanying manual prior to the event to become familiar with its use.

Some low-key MTBO events may use manual timing and punch cards.


9. Direction Signs.

Ensure that direction signs are placed from an appropriate location to guide competitors to the event. Erect the ‘Orienteering’ banner where competitors would leave a public road to reach the parking/assembly area. If any signs are supplied by ACT Forests, indicating that the area is reserved for orienteering, these should be placed prominently on the access roads.

10. Assembly Area.

The assembly area is where competitors come to gain information regarding the event, and to register and pay their event fees. It is important that any event information is displayed accordingly and that it is obvious to novices where they should go to seek help and instruction.

11. Information.

Clearly display instructions for the day’s event, a list of courses offered, a list of fees and the course closure time. Signs should also be used to indicate the direction and distance to the Start(s) and the location of toilets, as required. For urban MTBO events, competitors should be reminded of the need to comply with ACT road rules.

12. Event registration.

The registration procedure is explained in Document 12, Taking Event Registrations, although some details (e.g. season passes, EFTPOS machine) do not apply to MTBO events. Competitors with their own SI stick do not need to fill in a registration card, but register directly with their SI sticks, and Clear and Check their SI sticks at the same time. Those without SI sticks need to complete a registration card for the appropriate course. The event entry fees and charges for additional maps, SI stick hire and compass hire are the same as for Classic events (see Document 12). Map boards are available for hire ($5 each) and are held by the MTBO Co-ordinator. If SI timing is not used, the procedure should be modified to record all entries on registration cards.

13. Timing Equipment.

If SI timing is used, ensure that the computers are correctly assembled and connected to the battery pack and splits printer. Ensure that Start and Finish units are located at the Start and Finish areas.

14. The Start**.

The start point should be sited so that later starters cannot observe what route choices are made by earlier starters. The route from registration to the start should be clearly indicated by signs, streamers or tape. The Start banner is to be positioned so that it can be seen from some distance away on approach. A control flag should be hung on the stand holding the Start SI unit (if used).

15. The Finish**.

The approach to the finish should be marked by a funnel of bunting tape narrowing down to the finish line where considered necessary. Steep downhill finishes should be avoided for safety reasons. The Finish banner should be obvious from some distance on approach. A control flag should be hung on the stand holding the Finish SI unit (if used).

16. Results Display.

If the results are displayed, use strips of light card attached to a line using clothes pegs (supplied in the event stores).


17. Missing Persons.

At course closure, check that all competitors have returned. Very occasionally a competitor fails to return to the Finish by course closure time. This can be usually verified by checking the finishers recorded in the computer. A list in the expanding file in the organiser’s box contains phone numbers and car registration numbers of regular competitors, while new competitors who fill in a registration card should include this information on their card. Check whether the competitor’s car remains in the assembly area and/or call the competitor’s phone number. Provision for a search party has to be made by ensuring that at least 6 people remain at the event site until all competitors have finished their courses. If a search is required, this should be managed by the Event Safety Coordinator, who should be appointed by the organising team prior to the event. For further information on Safety and Rescue Procedures see Document 14.

18. SI Card/Compass/Map Board Count.

At the end of the event, the Organiser should check against the registration cards that all hired SI cards, compasses and map boards have been returned.

19. Control Collection.

The organisation of control collection is normally the responsibility of the course planner and controller, but the organiser is responsible for ensuring that sufficient helpers are available. If the course planner or controller is not available to organise control collection, the organiser should find another experienced person to do this. When collected, all SI units must be checked, turned off using the purple stick in the carrycase, and placed in the carrycase provided in numerical order prior to being returned. Numbered control flags should also be checked and placed in numerical order in a bag or box. Someone should remain at the assembly area until all control collectors have returned.

20. Equipment Pack-up.

If the trailer is used, the equipment should be replaced in one the trailer and/or shed in the same manner in which it was found. Any damaged equipment or lack of consumable supplies for another event (e.g. cups, working pens, sticky tape, control cards, etc), must be reported to the OACT Office and the Equipment Officer during the week after an event, so that the equipment standard and supplies can be maintained in good order. Please ensure that all equipment is dry before it is packed away, especially tents and tarpaulins. The trailer and all equipment should be returned to the storage shed immediately after the event, when practicable, and the key returned to the key keeper within three days after the event.

21. Registration Cards, Event Takings and Unused Maps.

Cash takings from the event should be counted (with the required float of $100 in the correct denominations left in the cash box) and the amount noted by the organiser or a registration official. The registration cards, the event takings and unused maps are to be delivered to the OACT Office, unless they have been collected at the event by an OACT official.

22. Results.

The results are usually processed by an OACT official. If the official is not at the event, arrangements will be made to retrieve the data from the computer.

REMEMBER – If not sure, ask someone. For clarification of any of the above points, don’t hesitate to contact the event controller or alternatively the OACT Office at 6182 1815. There are also many experienced members in your club who are able to give you advice and help.