Bowral Classic crowned Australian event of the year

BEST EVENT: The Bowral Classic has been recognised as Australia's best event. Photo: Madeline Crittenden.
BEST EVENT: The Bowral Classic has been recognised as Australia's best event. Photo: Madeline Crittenden.

One year after its inception, the Bowral Classic has been crowned Australian Event of the Year. 

Australia's newest cycling event beat all-comers to win best new event and best community event at the hotly contested Australian Event Awards for 2017.

Two separate judging panels each determined that the Bowral Classic was a stand-out in its category, beating hundreds of entries received from every state and territory, when handing out two of the coveted awards.

More than 3000 riders participated in the inaugural event last October, which stretched through the villages of Bowral, Berrima, Mittagong and Kangaloon. 

Nearly half of the 3,023 riders that took part brought their families to the Southern Highlands, injecting $1.5m into the local economy, while participants raised $109k for a variety of charities.

Bowral Classic organiser, James Yaffa said he was very pleased with the awards. 

"We are absolutely over the moon to have the Bowral Classic recognised as Australia's best event by this prestigious awards program," Mr Yaffa said.

"Our double success is testament to the enormous hard work from a lot of people and the tremendous faith shown in us by key stakeholders, sponsors and all the cyclists that took part on the day.”

The Bowral Classic was also a National finalist for Best Achievement in Marketing, Communication & Sponsorship, a category won by the giant Tourism Australia.

Among those who saddled up for the full 160km Bowral Classic ride last year was Hume MP Angus Taylor, who was full of praise for the event.

"Think of the tourism dollars pouring in, the packed cafes and accommodation houses. Think of the invaluable exposure this will generate for the beautiful Southern Highlands and its villages,” he said. 

“But also think of the tremendous health and environmental benefits.”

The Bowral Classic has become an annual event with the 2017 version to ride off on October 22.

The concept has also expanded into other states in 2018 with the inaugural Clare Classic to be held in South Australia's stunning Clare Valley and the first Noosa Classic to take place in 26 August.

Regional tourism body Destination New South Wales has come on board with significant backing of the Bowral Classic through to 2019.