Blair Smith, of Wanaka, tears down the tracks of the
Queenstown Bike Park during the Corona Dirtmasters event at
the inaugural Queenstown Bike Festival in 2011. Photo by
Returning once again to the Queenstown Bike Festival
line-up is the Vertigo Bikes Dirtmasters Downhill. This thrill-
and spill-filled downhill race has become a firm favourite and
an event local competitors and visitors come to test themselves
The race starts at the summit of the Queenstown Bike Park,
with the support of the Skyline Gondola. The course was
created by local downhill race-designer guru Blair Christmas.
Riders can expect a mix of flowing fun and white-knuckle
technical sections that will challenge both the casual
downhill rider and the professional alike.
The course, set to Union Cycliste Internationale standards,
was built for the experienced downhiller with features such
as speed, drops and air, organisers said.
The event has progressed over the past two years to reach an
international standard, which has helped attract all top 10
downhill world racers.
Queenstown Bike Festival Race director Geoff Hunt said the
downhill event was viewed as the festival's highlight event.
''The course is not only thrilling for the riders; it's also
very spectator friendly.
''The finish in particular, down the Brecon St steps, is a
must watch for local sporting fans.''
Entries are open now and places in the race are filling fast.
It is scheduled for Wednesday, March 27.
There are race categories for juniors, open, veterans and
masters in both the male and female divisions.
Mr Hunt said the downhill was not for the faint-hearted nor
the inexperienced, ''but for those who like a bit of extra
sugar in their tea''.
For information and to register, visit the Queenstown Bike
Festival website: www.queenstownbikefestival.com
The Queenstown Bike Festival runs from March 22 to April 1.