What a day on Saturday at the second event of the Queenstown Bike Festival.
Thee first event was Kelly jumping off the Ledge at Skyline. Here is the take on the day from Susie Todd
The 3rd Outside Sports Juoce Lubes Super D was once again a success this year, with almost 200 entrants doing as many laps as possible on the fantastic and challenging course in Queenstown Bike Park set by local Jarna McKenzie. The diverse field today presented a great mix of pros and social riders from all over New Zealand and the world, with France particularly well represented! As well as top NZ riders Sam Blenkinsop, Cameron Cole, Matt Scoles and Rosara Joseph to name a few, we had the Commencal Super Team as well as the Hutchinson UR / Polygon team from France. The female contingent was supported by the fantastic and lovely all women’s biking organisation Revolve who sent quite a few crews from Wellington (nice costumes Cowgirls).
Ethan Glover nailed the Open Male Category with the fastest time, closely followed by Jamie Nicol and Rupert Chapman – they all beat out an impressive 14 laps on the course today and were ranked on the time taken overall. The Vet Males showed that age is not of consequence with Jonny Waghorn managing 13 laps and locals Tim O’Leary and Neil Proctor coming 2nd and 3rd. The local bike store teams battled it out fiercely in the Mixed team of threes, with headline sponsor Outside Sports winning and Vertigo Bikes a close second and The Babolink Trio (which really is a mouthful) placing third). The mixed teams of two were led by the Santa Cruz mixups, followed by 77 Coupe.
The all male team of three was won with 14 laps by the Hutchinson UR team from France, but what else would you expect with a team containing World Cup Downhiller Fabien Cousinie, 2nd place went to Production Privee and 3rd to Team Alta. The all male team of two had the highest number of laps with Majordebt sitting on 15, B team who ironically came 2nd and Team Byron Scott coming 3rd place both sitting on 14 laps each.
Now for the ladies; the female team of two was won by NZ Trail Friend at 13 laps, with the 2nd spot on the podium being taken by Team 1.5 and then Team Gap with 3rd pllace. The local lasses Dirt Town Queens wore their flannel shirts with pride, nailing it in first place with Far from Faavae coming second. Last but not least, the chicks that braved the solo event both won their categories with Vet Female Ilse Vermeulen and Jess Fenwick in the open Female.
The Super D certainly made its stamp on the Queenstown campground – rocking it out with some great tunes, the sofas and tents were out in force, the beer coolers were cold and it was a day of awesomeness with a great vibe! The last couple of years the village has been setup in the Skyline car park, so the grass campground was a huge improvement for a great atmosphere. There were only a couple of minor spills and the people involved were present at the prize giving, bandages and all.
The course was successfully kept secret until the race day and the amazing Jarna trail design was well very received. Uphills on trails that you usually go downhill on and a good tour of the Bike Park starting on Original and winding its way over to the native beech forest tracks of the Fernhill loop. A few new lines were cut in meaning that even the local riders would have not ridden all parts of the course before. The first lap took a few by surprise with a sweet downhill on Original abruptly taking you to a sharp uphill climb on vertigo. Thingymajig was part of the course and the infamous turd sandwich track again turned up like a bad smell! It took a couple of laps for competitors to smoothly plan their gear change and seat height on the tight corner turning into the uphill, but such is the nature of Enduro! One enthusiastic rider overshot the corner and smashed through the course tape causing a few dramas in the early stages, however the timing team were on to it with a plan for the minority that went the wrong way and the tape was promptly replaced by our wonderful marshals without whom we could not hold this race.
Today Bobby McMullen impressed everyone – In the midst of the whooping and the sound of tires shredding on the loam and the clash of chains against a frame you could hear ‘left left left, pull up, pull up, roll over, right, right, right’ from the trails around you. A rider goes past who is calling instructions out to the guy following him. Bobby Mcmullen then shreds past me and its only then that you would notice the sign on his back ‘Blind Rider’. Yep, you read right, Bobby is blind and competes in downhill. It was really awe inspiring to watch this man in action and his achievements are seriously amazing!
From Enduro to Polo, the first day of the Queenstown Bike Festival also saw a half day bike polo tournament take place at Remarkables Park in Frankton. Teams were just giving us a demo after doing a bit of a tour following the Australasian Champs that has just been held in Timaru. 42 teams competed in the champs with riders from the UK and the US competing for the prize. The game consists of 3 riders in each team, and goes on until either 5 goals have been scored by one team or an allotted time has passed. The Bike polo team are as a relaxed and friendly bunch with a penchant for some heavy bike customisation and an emphasis on fun. As well as being a game of skill and dexterity that involves trying to hit the plastic ball in between the goal posts with a polo stick that usually consists of a ski pole with PVC pipe attached , there is much focus on taking care of your beer. One bike was customised with a beer holder mounted on the handlebars and another had a top tube cover that also doubled as a beer cooler!
The program for Sunday includes the Kids Mini X mountain bike event in Arrowtown and a social ride up the Crown Range. In the evening is the World Bar 16inch World Championship – one of the social events not to miss.
Check out the shots of Kelly on the Ledge yesterday – in the Gallery – http://www.queenstownbikefestival.com/gallery/kelly-can-fly/