Digby Shaw, Jemma Wells and Kane FleuryVideo:
Matt Wood and Jason Beacham
Spring in Dunedin this year has been moister than an oyster but the week leading up the 8th annual Emerson’s 3 Peaks Enduro was filled with warm, dry wind. A fine start to the first weekend of summer in the south. Dunedin, usually world-renowned for wet slippery clay, sniper roots and steep hills put on a race with dry hard trails and dust. The race took place over two days with the first-day racing through loamy pine forest and then down from the ridges 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 center of city.Day 1
The day started at the Woohaugh gardens in the city at the event village for the first day. Riders had a casual start to the weekend with coffee and a shuttle to the start of Stage 1 on the other side of the local hills to begin what would be a long day of 6 stages and total race times of between 22 and 40 minutes.
After a massive day of racing and tracks that were much dustier than locals were used to, the riders all made their way down to the BBQ in the gardens and for a few tasty crafty boiz thanks to the legends at the local Emersons Brewery. Concluding the first day of race Charlie Murray was leading the pack with a race time of 21.52 followed by his brother and freeride ski world tour athlete Craig Muray (+1.15) and last years winner, the local lad Josh McCombie (+1.32). For the ladies, Rae Morrison took out the day with a blistering time of 26.44 minutes across the six stages. Louise Kelly was behind by 2.59 and in third overall was Cati Pearson (+2.89).
The second day of racing was held at the local bike park of Signal Hill and with a forecast of light cloud and mid-20-degree temperatures riders awoke to mist and a light drizzle that looked like it might unleash and give the locals what they wanted. A wet race. To the local’s disappointment, the mist lifted to a thin high cloud and things got hot and the tracks stayed dusty and dry. The riders had 3 laps of the 320m high hill to complete in reverse seeded order. The tracks were running fast and rough, the perfect challenge for riders to pump in some hot times.
The courses set for the second day of racing were rooty, rocky and rough. The course selection included the nuggety best bits of the hill with some solid pinch climbs to link them all together as set by ex xc olympian turned race director Kashi Leuchs. There was a mix of native bush, pine trees and volcanic rocks. With the riders dropping in reverse seeded order it meant that for final techy chute of the final stage had a solid crowd built up with riders and hecklers fueled by fresh tins to cheer the fastest crew down the hill. The fastest riders certainly put on a show with sketchy hucks off of rooty corners into a rocky landing proving all the excitement needed down the steepest track of the day.
Charlie Murray kept up his consistency of the first day and put down a solid effort to finish as the overall fastest man down the hill with a time of 33.21 followed by the local lad and last years champ Josh McCombie (+1.31) who made up a significant amount of time on his local hill and beating Craig Murray (+1.83) to wind up a big weekend of racing.
Rae Morrison took out the win for the women with a time of 40.25. She comfortably caught Louise Kelly (+3.27) in the final parts of the final stage. Local lass Sam Hope slide into 3rd place 4.16 minutes behind Rae.Final overall fastest were:
40.25 Rae Morrison
43.52 Louise Kelly
44.41 Sam Hope
44.47 Cati Pearson
45.26 Emma Bateup
33.21 Charlie Murray
34.52 Josh McCombie
35.04 Craig Murray
35.11 Shannon Hewetson
35.22 Bradley Harris
Full Results on the 3 Peaks Enduro facebook page.