Mountain biking: No nationals in city this year

German rider Carolin Friese competes in the New Zealand downhill series at Dunedin's Signal Hill...
German rider Carolin Friese competes in the New Zealand downhill series at Dunedin's Signal Hill earlier this year. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Dunedin will not host any races in the 2013 New Zealand mountain bike series this summer.

"We thought we'd have a break from it this year. We'd run ourselves a little bit ragged hosting events," Mountain Bike Otago president Hamish Seaton said.

"Traditionally we've hosted a national level event every second year, but lately we've run five of them on the trot.

"We just needed a rest from running national events and decided to have a year off."

Dunedin has hosted the national series, the New Zealand championships and the Oceania championships over the past five years and the small band of helpers felt they needed a break.

But they will stage the South Island secondary schools championships in Dunedin on March 23-24 in both downhill and cross-country.

They will also be involved in running mountain bike events for the Otago Peninsula Challenge on Sunday, May 12.

Bluff has replaced Dunedin for the New Zealand series with a cross-country and downhill event.

It will not be a complete rest for the Mountain Bike Otago committee because work on the tracks in Dunedin will continue.

"We are still busy on that and have corrections workers helping us," Seaton said.

"We are still working with the Dunedin City Council to get a road and car park behind Logan Park High School."

Mountain Bike Otago members will be spending time developing the downhill track on Signal Hill and and easy grade track up the hill.

"We are maintaining our old tracks at Ross Creek and still have plans to build more tracks there,"

Seaton said.

This year's New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup will consist of five downhill and four cross-country events, starting in Bluff on January 4 and concluding at Hunua, Auckland, on February 8-10.

The 2013 national championships, for both downhill and cross-country, will be held in Rotorua from February 15-17, as part of the Rotorua Bike Festival. Only New Zealand residents are eligible to compete for national titles.

The star of the series will be 18-year old Anton Cooper (Canterbury), who won the junior world title in Austria in September. He is the first New Zealand mountain biker to win a rainbow jersey in the Olympic discipline of cross-country.

The national championships is the beginning of a big year for Cooper, who will race a world cup campaign as a full-time professional next year.

There will still be a programme of five events held in Otago. They are: November 25, Haggis Hunter 6hr race at Forrester Park; December 1-2, Otago mountain bike championships and single speed championships in Naseby; December 15, Three-Peaks Enduro; April 6, Naseby 12hr race; May 12, Otago Peninsula Challenge.



Mountain biking
NZ series


January 4-6, cross-country and downhill, Bluff; January 12-13, downhill, Mount Hutt; January 18-20, cross-country and downhill, Nelson; February 2-3, downhill, Levin; February 3, cross-country, Mount Victoria, Wellington; February 8-10, downhill and cross-country, Hunua, Auckland; February 15-17, NZ championships downhill and cross-country, Rotorua.



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