AUSTRALIA IS soon to be placed in the spotlight for world-class mountain biking, thanks in part to the efforts of a team from DLA Phillips Fox.
The firm is sponsoring round six of the Nissan UCI MTB World Cup being held in late August at Stromlo Forest Park in Canberra, as well as the 2009 Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships to be held in Canberra in September next year.
A DLA Phillips Fox team, led by partner Anthony Willis, is acting as the legal advisor to Australia’s largest biking club — Canberra Off Road Cyclists Inc (CORC) — which is hosting the events. Willis says the sponsorship initiative was a good fit with Australia’s growing interest both in mountain biking, and in cycling in general
“Mountain biking is a rapidly growing sport in Australia and we think it’s one that is very much in tune with where the country’s heading in terms of both fitness and the environment,” Willis said. “Cycling is clearly enjoying a renaissance and becoming more important as a means, not only of recreation, but of transport.”
“Indeed [at DLA Phillips Fox] we’re trying to make sure that we’re setting up cyclist-friendly workplaces … for those who want to use bicycles and use less petrol, so it’s in tune with that.”
Willis also said that many of the firm’s staff have an interest in cycling and were keen to get involved in the initiative.
“We decided to give the staff who were interested in the sport an opportunity to do something that brought together their professional life — in terms of writing contracts, advising on insurances, etc — with the passion that they have for mountain biking.”
As part of the sponsorship arrangement, DLA Phillips Fox staff have been given the opportunity to take part in some pre-event promotional activities, including a mountain bike relay race which took place last week on a specially made course in Canberra shopping mall, Garema Place.
The firm has also been given VIP tickets to the upcoming World Cup, and staff and clients will get a prime view of the finish line of the men’s and women’s downhill cross-country races.
In terms of the legal work involved, the firm first assisted CORC in setting up a company — CORC World Events Ltd — through which it runs events and enters into contracts. They have since advised on various agreements relating to sponsorship, employment, consultancy, equipment hire, and insurance and liability issues.
The work has been primarily undertaken by the firm’s Canberra commercial team, with the assistance of the corporate group, workplace relations group and insurance group.
The World Cup is expected to attract more than 10,000 mountain biking enthusiasts, and double that number are expected at the Mountain Bike & Trials World Championship.
See cycling feature page 21