Avalanche of mountain bikers

Nearly 100 mountain bikers  competed in the fourth annual Cardrona Mega Avalanche race on Sunday....
Nearly 100 mountain bikers competed in the fourth annual Cardrona Mega Avalanche race on Sunday. PHOTO: JAMES MULCAHY
There was a record turnout at the fourth annual Cardrona Mega Avalanche downhill mountain bike race on Sunday as 96 riders of all ages descended the mountain at breakneck speed.

The number of participants was a record for the event and a well up on last year's 79.

Cardrona communications executive Jen Houltham said the event was the only one of its kind in New Zealand and easily had the biggest downhill drop of any mountain bike race in the country.

The 12km course extended from the top of Cardrona skifield all the way down to the Cardrona Domain in the valley, a vertical drop of about 1800m.

The track included several switchbacks and jumps and the overall course described as a ``mix of bike park trails and big mountain riding'', by GoldX Events manager Graeme Dunbar.

There were three different divisions for riders to compete in, with male and female categories.

The ``Hares'' raced to the bottom as fast as possible, the ``Turtles'' looked for gold-painted rocks they could exchange for spot prizes at the finish, and there were also categories for riders under 16.

Queenstown and New Zealand mountain biking ace Conor MacFarlane was first to the bottom, in a blistering time of 14min 20sec.

The win gave him bragging rights over fellow Queenstown riders Reece Potter (second) and Pete Robinson (third).

Wanaka rider Melissa Newell won the female title in a time of 16min 21sec, more than a minute faster than any of her competitors.

sean.nugent@odt.co.nz

 

 

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