NZ Enduro Day 1 - Photo Recap & Results

Mar 9, 2018
by Cameron Mackenzie  

At the tip of the South Island of New Zealand, In the middle of nowhere, 8km north of Blenheim, lays the venue for the Start of the 2018 NZ Enduro; Whites Bay. Early Friday morning, 140 riders from 10 countries descended on the secluded campsite ready to do battle for three days on some of the toughest trails in the Tasman.

Now in its fourth year, NZ Enduro has quickly developed a reputation as New Zealand's most physical enduro race. With the Malborough regions top-shelf trails on offer, riders aren't going to have an easy time. With a week of foul weather leading into the event also, Mother Nature made sure the difficulty was to be turned up to 11.

Ahead of them lay two very opposite trails. Stage 1 was a 10-ish minute behemoth, littered with unrelenting clusters of beech tree roots, jagged rocks, and steep chutes, whilst Stage 2 was a short and not so sweet slippery concoction of off-chamber, fresh native sections and tight, twisting turns.

Day one in numbers: 18km - 1162m Climbing - 1162m Descending.

An early start meant riders had plenty of time to get ready, register, and socialize before heading into the hills. And knock back a few free coffees

One of the many goodies riders get is a very swag, swag bag. A Crank Brothers Multi-Tool, Bontrager Tyres, Squirt Lube. The list goes one.

Mons Royale once again brought a solid crew of riders with them. Equal parts racer and rowdy.
One of the many fast locals, Kurt Lancaster, getting and understand for what lay ahead.
Conor Macfarlane took a break from hucking to come out and race some enduro.
Mitch Currie, aka Fast Mitch, had all eyes on him this morning. Racing open men, the pinned local boy was sure of doing good things today.

Surrounded by big hills, riders had stiff words handed to them before being let loose.

While others were racing around getting ready, Jamie was operating on his own agenda and took plenty of time to relax and fuel up before a hard day of big climbs. Jamie Nicoll knows these trails well, so spent plenty of time getting geared up accordingly.

Sam Shaw is one of the not-so-pro Pro riders down here and is one to watch and the race kicks into gear. As the saying goes, When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Sam is that tough guy who will do just that.

800 meters of climbing out the gate was a rude wake up for many.

Stylie Mike wasn't the only rider dropping pressures after seeing the trail slickness first hand.

Matt Miller

Keegan Wright was out riding all the stages completely blind today and put six seconds into 2nd place Joe Nation.

Back in the 3rd though, some seven seconds back was Jerome Clementz.

Adam Curry navigating one of the many tight climbing corners on stage 1.

Let's hope riders brought dual ply tyres, because the rocks up here are sharp!

Fresh off the back of winning TransNZ last weekend, Emily Slaco had a point to prove and placed 2nd to local lady shredder Harriet Harper.

Mel Blomfield excels on tough tracks and rode so well today that her time would have landed her 3rd in Elite Women.

Kieran Bennett looked to be riding strong today, but several crashes pushed the pinner back to 9th.

More than few feet were out today, especially when riding the high lines.

The back wheel trying to get in front was a common sight today. Let's hope things dry up a little more come day 2

Caleb Smith facial expressions said it all. Today was hard.
And Hot.

Stage 2 looked back across to Rarangi Beach, but riders need not get distracted by the views as things got well out of control in the following few corners.

Max Hides found time to tweak those bars, whilst others were sprinting.

Fast Mitch didn't live up to his plate today. Mid-Pack Mitch may have been more appropriate after today's 11th. Not to worry though, look for him to come out swinging tomorrow.

Kyle Lockwood has come out this weekend to race his first big enduro, but a snapped chain earlier into Stage 1 wopuld not have been the way he was looking to startv things off.

Conor Macfarlane made a much tidier job of this tricky corner than the likes of Keegan.

Keegan Wright was in full race mode today. He's come down to Nelson to do one thing: Win

Emily Slaco on her way to winning stage 2.

Mitch Ropelato was out getting some time between the tape in pre EWS, but a crash on stage 1 saw him mending an injured ankle for the rest of the day.

Kurt Lancaster looked to be riding a little too out of control today.

The great thing about the NZ Enduro is that the focus isn't on the elite riders, but more about the bragging rights and stories told. Come the end of two grueling stages, the NZ Enduro crew were on hand to hand out hot BBQ'd goods and cold beer.

Expect a few cold ones to go down well tonight, but not too many. Riders have a 35km day ahead of them tomorrow.


Overall - After day 1

1st - Keegan Wright ( 0:14:11.00 )
2nd - Joe Nation ( 0:14:17.00 )
3rd - Jerome Clementz ( 0:14:19.00 )
4th - Charlie Murray ( 0:14:44.00 )
5th - Samuel Shaw ( 0:14:48.00 )

1st - Harriet Harper ( 0:18:12.00 )
2nd - Emily Slaco ( 0:18:32.00 )
3rd - Uriell Carlson ( 0:20:02.00 )
4th - Ronja Hill-Wright ( 0:20:16.00 )
5th - Cati Pearson ( 0:21:07.00 )

Full Results

Mentions: @cameronmackenzie


  • + 15
 Mike Kazimer, middle the pack, AM Men.
  • + 2
 How about this Cowboy McGinnity guy, top of the pack, AM Men
  • + 3
 @phalley: The dude's a mad dog. Rides proper fast
  • + 9
 Love the colour of Ropelato's nomad.
  • + 4
 His Nomad looks awesome!
  • + 8
 Anyone else notice the red Blackbox lowers on both Keegan and Mitch's bikes?
  • + 2
 25th anniversary refresh with throwback colorway
  • + 8
 Mitch climbing 800+ meters in pants...?
  • + 3
 Point: “An early start meant riders had plenty of time to get ready, register, and socialize before heading into the hills. And knock back a few free coffees.”

Counterpoint: A late start would give me more time to nurse my Dale’s and whiskey hangover by means of an Imperial Coffee Stout and therefore is better than your early start.
  • + 6
 Semi retirement is the best thing to happen to Jerome Clementz. How bout Nate Hills with a top 10 day 1!
  • + 7
 "Kurt Lancaster". That kid has some funny parents.
  • + 4
 I've known him for years and never thought of that. Might have to call him Ernie.
  • + 6
 *ctrl+f "Sam Hill"* *0/0 results*

oh well
  • + 2
 Probably kid wrangling...
  • + 6
 Umm proof read?
  • + 2
 Rough day at the keyboard apparently...
  • + 1
 I’d rather have the results and images fast...pretty great for a same day post
  • + 1
 @AaGro: Sick pictures! Great coverage but this is supposed to be a world class event/website. No excuse for not proof reading. We are indeed spoiled by the instantaneous media flow...
  • + 1
 I think it's kindof funny that the top AM rider in each mens and womens would've been mid top ten for the men, and top 3 or 4 for women? was it a different course for AM? or just AM riders faster than they think they are?
  • + 4
 Injured angles need to be tenderly looked after
  • + 3
 Thanks for the catch! Fixed now.
  • + 3
 Ropelato riding with dh style mate lml
  • + 3
 so that new 29er is up front?
  • + 0
 uhm...keegan is an animal no matter what he shreds...but yeah
  • + 3
 But the vans!
  • + 1
 Awesome recap Cam. Looking forward to day 2 results and recap - a day that will challenge a lot of riders!
  • + 1
 those red lyriks tho and keegan wright finally gettting a result he deserves
  • + 1
 Mitch r still running his 7 speed DH cassette?
  • + 1
 Harriet Harper- full time medic at Christchurch Hospital- legend!
  • + 1
 Lovely recap @cameronmackenzie ! Can't wait to see the second day recap!
  • + 1
 Mike vs Mike should do a video settle that pedal score.

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