NELSON Bay will once again host the opening stage of the Port to Port MTB when it rolls around in May.
This year the mountain bike race will be held between May 25 and 28.
Port to Port is an international four day stage mountain bike race with racing set across the iconic landscapes of Newcastle, Port Stephens, Lake Macqaurie and the Hunter Valley.
Beginning in Nelson Bay, riders are greeted by four days of sandy tracks, fire trails, testing hill climbs, fast single tracks and steep descents that take in the wider Hunter region.
Tristan Ward took out the Nelson Bay stage of the race in 2016 in a time of one hour, 16 minutes and 42 seconds.
He went on to win the overall event, which fielded 254 participants.
Samara Sheppard was the first woman to finish the Nelson Bay stage in a time of one hour, 24 minutes and 8.2 seconds.
She too went on to win her field, which had its strongest turn out yet – 36 women.
Entries are now open for the 2017 Port to Port MTB.
The 2017 course has yet to be finalised, but is expected to be similar to last year’s.
While the Nelson Bay stage is shorter than the other three, it is considered to be one of the toughest.
Riders leave d’Albora Marina, ride towards Shoal Bay to Fingal Bay. They enter Tomaree National Park and ride towards Anna Bay and Three Bears – the steep climbs with loose shale.
Coming from from Three Bears, riders head back to Fingal Bay, through Fly Point and back to d’Albora Marina.