With New Zealand Cycling cancelling the National Downhill Race series, citing lack of interest from clubs and lack of sponsors NZ downhill was dead in the water.
Jono Drew reports in from NZ …
With New Zealand Cycling cancelling the National Downhill Race series, citing lack of interest from clubs and lack of sponsors NZ downhill was dead in the water. However you can’t keep a community so passionate about the development about the sport down and the NZ Downhill Inc was formed.
In a very short amount of time a new 6 stop series was set up. 3 Rounds in the North Island, 3 in the South. Prize money was added to the event thanks to the kind sponsors at Banshee Bikes NZ.
440 Mountain Bike Park in Auckland would be the first to host the new 1-day event. A location like no other set just back from the amazing KawaKawa Bay 440 is a purpose-built gravity park,the first of its kind in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.
With over 120 Competitors on course practice was a patchy event. Lots of traffic kicking up the dust from the bone dry course kept practice stop-start for most riders. With only 6 hours to practice the course and a long queue for the shuttle most riders would only get a quick look at the two and a half minute course.
With a few of NZs fastest exports in attendance everyone knew the pace would be high. Seeding ended up forcing people to show their cards early with Wyn Masters of GT Factory Racing laying down a fast time. With the pace set 2nd run was where it all counted. The Elite podium ended up being a mix of tourists, local heroes and factory supported athletes.
5th was Welshman Emyr Davies on his Orange trail bike. 4th was Rotorua legend and long time racer (although still young) Louis Hamilton. 3rd was Petrol Station Poster boy Peter Bethell. 2nd Keegan Wright, one to watch as a future fast export, Keegan has the loose style that Kiwis are getting known for.
Finally taking the win was Taranaki local and 440 local coach, Wyn Masters of GT Factory Racing, thanking his experience coaching on the course a few days earlier for his first win of the 2017 series.