The Sportident Timing System

MTBO rider timing is handled by the Sportident electronic timing system. Riders carry a small plastic stick with them, to electronically record their visit at each control point and enables both the elapsed time, as well as the individual leg times, to be downloaded at the finish.

Most riders are now using Sportident 'Air' cards, which means they simply need to wave them over the control point unit to register a time, without coming to a full stop. These are now available for hire or purchase, when you enter an event.  

More infomation on Sportident Air can be found here.

Some of the advantages in having your own stick are:

  • No more hire costs
  • Easier registration process for the event organisers
  • Greatly reduced 'mis-punch' eppoisodes.
  • Visible and Audible feedback from the Sportident Air stick

Basic Rules for MTBO

A full list of rules, published by the Orienteering Australia, is available for download here.

These give more detailed specifications for organisers and course setters.

The basic rules pertaining to the competitors are listed below:


Competitors must stay on tracks marked on the competition map.  If terrain or road condition forces the rider to dismount, they must carry the bike on a marked track.  No off-road shortcuts through the bush are permitted. Event organisers may grant permission to allow off-track riding in special circumstances eg. across open areas and areas of bare rock.

Courtesy and sensible behaviour are expected when mountain bike riders encounter walkers, runners, horseback riders, land-owners and others during an event.

Special care must be taken by competitors, observers, and officials to respect the local environment. Organizers should not place controls in designated environmentally sensitive areas.

Competitors and officials must avoid disturbing local flora, fauna and stock at the event and close gates where these are not left open.

Maps and courses

Maps may be any scale from 1: 10,000 to 1:30,000. They ideally need to be 30 x 30cm or less in size.  They need to show all roads, tracks and their "rideability" plus major topographic information especially contours. They should be set to magnetic north. 


MTBO Course Planning

MTBO Course planning guidelines can be found here.

MTBO Course setter duties can be found here.

MTBO Mapping Standards

The MTBO International mapping standards can be found here.

Guildelines for making and drawing MTBO maps can be found here.

Basic rules are as follows:

The authorised map scales are:

NOTE: The track symbols stay the same size, whatever the scale.

Wide tracks are 0.6mm and narrow tracks are 0.4mm:

For estimates of riding speeds, the following ratios apply:

Fast riding 75 - 100%
Medium riding 50 - 75%
Slow riding 25 - 50%
Difficult riding 0 - 25%

Where a track junction is indistinct, the two tracks are separated by a gap on the map.

Clearings or overgrown tracks may be depicted using a yellow or green line, wider than the road/track symbol. A light green line indicates long grass (and the junction may be difficult to identify). A mid-green line indicates high, thick vegetation that would make progress difficult to very difficult.

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