From the bike festival organisers... Wanaka's Dougal Allen made it look easy as he crossed the finish line when he won the Tour de Wakatipu title on Saturday (April 7) setting a new record of 1.31.40. Six hundred and ninety people entered the race which was held for the fourth consecutive year and featured as a key event in the annual Queenstown Bike Festival. The event which caters for elite, sport and recreational mountain bikers starts at Millbrook Resort and follows tracks across public and private land to finish at Chard Farm. Race Director Geoff Hunt says it is the only time of the year people have access through Coneburn Station along the Kawarau River which is part of the appeal of the event. "It was a stunning day and the feedback from the competitors was fantastic. It is always good to see new competitors and everyone, whatever level, can take part without any pressure." The elite and sports competitors include a loop of Lake Hayes to ride 45km while the recreational ride covers 36km. In the elite section Allan very much dominated the race throughout. "I felt pretty relaxed the whole race," he says," but I still managed to take a wrong turn on a single track after the bridge." Matt Randall (Invercargill) took second place with more than a minute behind Allan in 1.32.47, very closely followed by a second by Brent Miller (Christchurch) in third place in 1.32.48. Allan says while he found the course relatively easy, he could see why it attracted such a wide spread field of athletes and recreational bikers. "The course is actually very varied with riding on flats, single tracks, crossing creeks, and along the river. And I loved the great atmosphere at the finish with the live music ." National women's mountain biking champion Kate Fluker (Dunedin) was on fire to win the elite women's open title in 1.48.05, and was comfortably in front of her next competition Harriet Miller (Queenstown) who claimed second place in 1.54.03. In the Elite Veteran Male division Geoff Keogh (Dunedin) and Phil Wood (Wanaka) fought for the win with Keogh snatching the title in 1.37.04 and Wood taking second place in 1.37.16. Rob Soothil (Christchurch) took third place in 1.39.03. The fastest junior elite competitor was Bria Noble (Dunedin) who clocked 2.22.56. The elite women's veteran female section was won by Jacky Toepfer (Wanaka) in 1.56.23 while the women's masters' title went to Ann Scanlan (Wanaka) in 2.00.10. Craig Bates (Dunedin) took the men's masters' title in a fast 1.38.39 while the masters plus section winner was Graeme Johnson (Alexandra) in 2.19.31. The fastest man in the sports category was Tom Kaminszky (Dunedin) in 1.47.01 while the open women's title was won by Laura Ferguson (Wanaka) in 1.55.09. The fastest male and female junior sport competitors were Jack Synnott (Auckland) in 1.51.15 and Sophie Thompson (Queenstown) who clocked 2.49.08 respectively. Tony Bennett (Christchurch) rode a quick race to win the sports veteran men's category in 1.48.50 while Nicola McAra (Invercargill) clocked 2.00.32 to win the women's veteran title. The sports masters' section saw Janet Reeves (Christchurch) win in 2.00.20 and Paul Clark (Invercargill) won the men's title in 1.51.26. Justin Calder (Queenstown) clocked a very creditable 1.54.18 to win the men's master plus. The recreational open female race was comfortably won by Amanda Senior crossing the line in 1.48.30 in front of Charlotte Gavin who g=finished second in 1.52.53. The men's race was fought and won by Bradley McPherson (Invercargill) taking line honours in 1.32.12 followed by Andrew Blay in 1.37.42 Women's junior winner was Phoebe Young (Wanaka) who recorded 1.57.52 while Nico Hay (Queenstown) won the junior men's title in 1.33.19. In the veteran section Julie Findley (Invercargill) clocked 1.42.17 to win the women's title and Trevor Bungard (Invercargill) took the men's title in 1.29.17. The masters' titles were won by Caroline Stewart (Winton) in 1.53.10 and Peter Kennedy (Invercargill) who finished in 1.38.32. The fastest woman in the masters plus section was Anne Ryder (Christchurch) in 2.13.23 and Sean O'Neill (Geraldine) won the men's title in 1.42.20. New World owner John Thompson who competed in the race for the fourth time in the sports section says the Tour de Wakatipu has become a highlight on the Queenstown mountain biking calendar and that he is very pleased to be behind this successful event. "It is the sort of event that appeals to such a range of people who can compete at their own level. Being able to cross such spectacular private tracks is also a major plus and the weather this year was just perfect." Nevada Sport Managing Director Hamish Cochran who sponsors the event with Merrell products says the Tour de Wakatipu has good synergy with his brand because it caters for both elite and recreational riders. "It is inspiring to see all the mixed age groups and particularly some of the older competitors. Everyone who enjoys biking can give it a go and the finish at Chard Farm has such a great atmosphere it is well worth getting there." The Tour de Wakatipu raised $3,300 for Cure Kids which funds research into children's life threatening illnesses and approximately $2000 will be donated to the Wakatipu Trails Trust through the sale of beverages at the finish line.