Racers in the New World Tour de Wakatipu around Lakes Hayes last year. Photo by Patrick Fallon.
Queenstown multisport athlete Jim Hawkridge will join the
field of competitors in the annual New World Tour de Wakatipu
mountain bike race from Millbrook to Chard Farm for the first
Back for its sixth consecutive year, the race will take place
on Sunday, April 19.
Hawkridge said in a statement he was looking forward to the
challenge of trying to beat last year's fastest time of 1hr
29min, achieved by Matthew Lees in the elite open men's
''My current training has been designed to maintain a high
threshold level for some time,'' Hawkridge said.
With a recent King of the Mountain title in the Milford
Classic, he will provide a real challenge to other elite
''I'm really looking forward to it, the race is in my home
patch with part of the trail going right past my backdoor and
the exclusive access that the race gives will be fantastic.
My thanks go to the farmer for allowing the Tour de Wakatipu
this once-a-year access.''
The Tour de Wakatipu starts at Millbrook Resort and finishes
at Chard Farm Winery.
The course makes use of the majority of tracks prepared by
the Queenstown Trails Trust and the event provides the
opportunity to ride them all in one go.
Race director Geoff Hunt said what was good about the race
was anyone, at any level, could participate and make it as
challenging as they wanted.
Wakatipu residents registered so far include Alastair
McIlwrick and Arvid Petersen, plus Sonia and Terry
''We are getting a lot of feedback from people who will be
competing in their first-ever event, to elite riders and
bikers who are making a comeback to competition,'' Hunt said.
Last year, the race attracted more than 600 competitors and
he was expecting similar numbers this year, he said.
''The interest we have had already this year is huge - the
versatility of the event caters to cyclists of all abilities.
''At one end we get the serious competitors and at the other
we get families interested in a scenic ride around the most
beautiful track in the country.''
Last year, the last to finish the event were Jean and Roger
Parks from Stourbridge in the United Kingdom, who were
visiting their son and his wife here.
Mrs Parks took up mountain biking five years ago at the age
of 70 and her husband is 79.
Mr Parks said, ''I have never been on a course like this.
It's just so incredible.''
Mrs Parks said she ''found the scenery absolutely stunning''
and that everyone they met was very friendly.