Record entries for ninth Motatapu event

Motatapu XTERRA triathlon record holder Braden Currie will return to defend his title on March 9. Photo supplied.
Motatapu XTERRA triathlon record holder Braden Currie will return to defend his title on March 9. Photo supplied.
This year's Motatapu on March 9 will be the biggest yet, with record entries for all five events in the race's ninth year. Entries for the Motatapu mountain bike event sold out and closed in November. Entries for the triathlon, multisport and running races closed last week after a record 3676 people had signed for the five events.

Race director Gemma Boyle said the record was significant as the self-imposed maximum mountain bike field of 2000 riders on course had remained in place since 2007. The growth had come from the running events as they were growing in popularity.

Miss Boyle was also pleased with the calibre of entries.

''We have a fantastic elite field lining up in the mountain bike and triathlon and it's great to see the best of the best competing alongside the weekend warriors and first-timers.''

The elite mountain bike field will include Motatapu record holder and junior world champion Anton Cooper, who will compete against the cream of New Zealand cross-country mountain biking racing, NZXC racing.

NZXC Racing was set up to reward the determination and effort of New Zealand athletes and provide a pathway for aspiring Kiwi athletes. The team includes 2011 New Zealand elite champion Carl Jones,

New Zealand No 1 Elite rider Dirk Peters, No 1 under-19 rider Amber Johnson, and NZ No 3 elite rider Katie O'Neill.

O'Neill will face stiff competition in the women's elite field from Motatapu record holder Kate Fluker and pro adventure racer Elina Ussher.

Braden Currie, the XTERRA Motatapu triathlon record holder, will try to defend his title and record from Richard Ussher, whom he beat at the 2012 XTERRA World Championships.

The triathlon elite field also includes New Zealand Olympic triathlete Nicky Samuels, who is looking to use the race to qualify for both the New Zealand elite team to the ITU Cross Triathlon in the Netherlands in July, as well as the 2013 XTERRA World Championships in Hawaii. The women's field also includes last year's XTERRA World Championship bronze medallist Elisabeth Hoefler, from Austria.

The Austrian was inspired to take up the discipline after last year's Motatapu where she worked as a volunteer, Miss Boyle said.

''She didn't even know what a triathlon was until coming to New Zealand.''