Queenstown's Jarna MacKenzie competes in the Super D Enduro
at the Queenstown Bike Park on Saturday, part of the 2014
Queenstown Bike Festival. Photo by riverleaphotography.com
More than 150 hardy competitors toughed it out in the
Queenstown Bike Park on Saturday, at the Super D Enduro, the
opening event on the 2014 Queenstown Bike Festival calendar.
Early drizzle and a chilly southerly did not dampen the
spirits of the competitors, who raced for six hours down the
Ethan Glover, of Nelson, and Queenstown's Mary Jowett took
top honours in the men's and women's events, completing 16
and 13 laps respectively.
Lone Star Blokes, Fraser Gordon, Blair Christmas and Dave
Fahey, won the official three-man team title (16 laps).
Two Goons, Mikey Northcott and Lewis Hart, also completed 16
laps to win the two-man title.
Dirt Town Queens - Indri Clendon, Harriet Latchem and Rosie
Smith - completed 13 laps to win the women's team crown and
the mixed team title went to Greene Eggs & Lamb (Thomas
Lamb and Erin Greene).
Place-getters scored qualifying points towards the New
Zealand MTB Crown.
The marathon event is New Zealand's only gondola-assisted
Super D competition on a 7km trail specially designed by
Queenstown rider and bike mechanic Jarna MacKenzie and event
manager Jimmy Carling.
Descending from the top of Hammy's Track to the old
Queenstown camping ground, with a few uphill sections, the
track was variously described by competitors as ''mint'',
''demon'' and ''more jazz than rock 'n' roll''.
Carling said it was probably the best Super D track he had
ever been involved with, achieving its aim to present an
equal challenge for downhill and cross-country riders.
''We tried to find a balance between making the lap a good
length, to spread the large field, and also making it
technical enough to demand concentration, with some pedalling
to test the downhill specialists.
''We had a national-level field for [the] event and
everything ran smooth.
''The Super D is now established as one of the Bike Fest's
core events,'' he said.
On Sunday more than 200 junior riders, aged between 3 and 12,
took over the Arrowtown Reserve in the Kids Mini X event.
Three courses were set up to cater for different abilities -
a short course for the youngest and a medium and long course,
both of which included crossings of Bush Creek.
The short race was won by 6-year-old Katie Mathieson, Joshua
Bonnar (9) won the medium race and Finn Cartman (10) took top
honours in the long course.
Before the prizegiving the entrants and their families were
treated to a demonstration ride by 19-year-old Mitch Barnett,
invited to the festival by director Geoff Hunt after a chance
encounter last year.
He pulled off a series of stunning tricks on pallets, barrels
and a picnic table, specially arranged on Butler's Green, but
said he was nervous about performing in front of a crowd for
the first time.
''It was crazy to have people watching me but amazing to hear
them cheering when I landed my tricks.
''This has already been such a great experience and one that
will definitely spur me on to take things to the next
level,'' he said.
Hunt said it was amazing to see so many youngsters clearly
enjoying themselves on their bikes.
''We had everything from tricycles and balance bikes all the
way up to some great-looking machines that made our parent
volunteer guide work hard to lead the chasing pack.
''There was a great atmosphere with record entries and
cheering parents who all stuck around to watch Mitch's
''It's sometimes easy to focus on the extreme adventure
events, like the Dirtmasters Downhill and Mega Avalanche, but
the festival is all about participation and we like to start
them young round here.''
The 2014 Queenstown Bike Festival continues this week.
Highlights include the Slopestyle event in the Ballarat St
car park on Thursday night and the Tour de Wakatipu on