After Dunedin experienced the wettest November in recorded history, the sky cleared for the first weekend of December and the seventh annual Emerson’s 3 Peaks Enduro. 280 riders descended on the city to enjoy riding, tasty beers and big yarns. The race took place over two days with the first day racing through loamy pine forest and then down from the skyline of the city through dense native forest. The second day was held in hero dirt conditions at Signal Hill, the easily accessible bike park in the city.
Day one featured three new stages with some raw slippery loam and roots for riders to negotiate. The conditions were very moist with the dirt almost at saturation point. It is fair to say that many riders struggled with the combination of slippery clay, roots, and rocks. Despite the wet trails, spirits were not dampened and all riders were grinning ear to ear after having their skills tested all day long.With a stacked women's field competition was fierce. Slick moss covered rocks proved too tricky for some.
After a big first day riding tracks that were slipperier than the onions on a Bunning's snag, most riders tripoding their way down. The end goal was a sausage from the BBQ and some crafty tins from the boys at the local Emersons’s brewery. To wind up the first days racing for the men: Matt Lombardi put in a solid effort over 5 stages for a time of 23.46; Charlie Murray in second 10 seconds back (23.56); and Jonas Meir in third (24.11). The fastest women on day one was ex-courier bike world champ, Jenna Makgill with a time of 31.22 closely followed by Melanie Bloomfield (32.22) and then Phoebe Coers (32.29).Day 2
The second day was based at the newly built carpark at the bottom of Signal Hill with a selection of the downhill trails to race. Once again the sun was out at the trail conditions had benefited from a windy evening and were running fast and grippy with the occasional mud patch to keep riders on guard. The tracks were in high contrast to the mud and creek like tracks from day one.
After the first day of racing with dirt that often resembled racing in porridge, day two was filled with hero dirt, slippery roots, rock gardens, and few nasty pinch climbs set by ex-cross country Olympian Kashi Leuchs. The three laps of the 300-metre high hill were seeded based on the results from day one which allowed a solid crowd to build up. The tracks are great for spectating with features and sections to test the best riders and entice the best local heckling squads.
Once again the day finished with burgers and light tinned refreshments from Emerson’s brewery.
Local Josh McCombie made an impressive return after a long hiatus from gravity racing. He stepped up to take the overall win for the race with a time of 35.56 and beating second place rider Charlie Murray by 13 seconds. In the women's race, Jenna MakGill put in some solid riding on what she described as a very challenging course with a total time of 46.59 and was followed by Phoebe Coers with a 48.51.Overall results
1 - Josh McCombie 35.56
2 - Charlie Murray 36.09
3 - Matt Lombardi 36.22
4 - Jonas Meier 36.46
5= Sam Shaw 36.57
5= Loui Harvey 36.57
1 - Jenna MakGill 46.59
2 - Phoebe Coers . 48.51
3 - Melanie Blomfeild 49.42
4 - Melissa Newell 50.11
5 - Cindy Chantreux 52.30