I first had the idea of organising a Tour de France type of cycle race for mountain bikes in 1993. Originally, the longest and most difficult mountain bike race was not supposed to take place in Australia but in Vietnam. It was to be a race starting in Saigon and ending in Hanoi 18 days and 2500 km later. After spending two weeks in Saigon, I realized it would not be possible to organise such an event in the way I visualised it there.
Australia, where I had been active as a professional cyclist from 1982-1985, and where I was a house owner at that time was the perfect alternative. We flew to Darwin in the Northern Territory, studied the most accurate maps, and finally decided on the route between Darwin and Cairns. In Darwin we collected as much information as we could on the route from the Tourist Board, the Police and the Ranger Station. After a few days we thought we knew all that had to be known, even though the information was quite scanty. We were also advised to obtain further tips from the farms on the way.
We left Darwin in an all-terrain vehicle packed with food and water, and headed towards the Kakadu National Park, a world heritage site and one of the most beautiful nature parks in the world. The most difficult part was to find routes and tracks which were difficult to master but still could be ridden on a mountain bike. The individual stages had to be less than 180 km, which was not always possible as we soon found. Sometimes there was no farm, water station or even a river at the end of such a distance.
Searching for a name for our event, we went through all the Australian animals, from Koala GP to Kangaroo Challenge, but nothing felt right till the third or fourth evening. Where we camped on the river bank having a few glasses of wine and tossing around ideas for a name, when the warning sign board “Don’t Swim - Crocodiles” struck us. We finally had the name for our event. The “Crocodile Trophy” was born.