Dodzy Memorial Enduro 2020
Photos// Matt Wood, Digby Shaw, Jason Beacham
While the rest of the world is focused on the global pandemic and the reality tv show that is the US election, down in Nelson New Zealand they are focused on more important things, mountain bike racing. This was the 9th edition of the Dodzy Memorial Enduro and the 8th held at the Wairoa Gorge Bike Park. DME is a bit of a pilgrimage for New Zealand mountain bikers. Even though the standard of racing is extremely high, with both Downhill World Cup and EWS racers in the field, the racing always takes a back seat to the real reason everyone is there, to catch up with your mates, enjoy a few sports lagers and ride on some of New Zealand’s very best, and longest purpose-built trails.
The event is held in the memory of New Zealand mountain bike legend James "Dodzy" Dodds who was tragically killed in an accident in 2012. As well as being a keen racer, he co-owned NZ Trail Solutions, the company which built over 70 kilometers of some of the world's best hand-crafted trails at the Wairoa Gorge Park. Originally the DME was the only opportunity for the general public to access the once privately owned bike park before the land was generously handed over to the Department Of Conservation with Nelson Mountainbike Club running a regular shuttle service.
If you have ever had a conversation with a Nelson resident, the first thing they will talk about, even before they bring up their food allergies or cross-fit, will be how good the weather is in Nelson. "We only ever get one day of rain at a time" is a quote I overheard on Saturday, followed by "It has been pissing down for a solid week and is forecast to get worse."
With the event in jeopardy due to high river levels at Wairoa Gorge, the call was made on Thursday to adjust the usual 2-day event schedule down to a single day event as there was a heavy rain warning in place for Sunday. This resulted in one big wet day on the horse for the 280 competitors.
The stoke and punishing chat levels were not dampened by the rain and a quality day out was had by all.
The mud resembled any supermarket selection of peanut butter, your choice of smooth or chunky.
The moist mist in the upper mountain made for moody scenes
Although cornflakes are normally on the menu here in the native beech forest, they were masked by the slop covered roots and greasy rocks.
Today's champions Harriet Harper & Sam Blenkinsop
All bikes matter here at DME, but some more than others, hence the need for the hardtail hard-on award.
No kiwi celebration of life, love and bikes would be complete without a sender of a party, courtesy of NZ's resident bike frother of a DJ and Shapeshifter frontman, P-Diggs. Results:
1st. Rae Morrison: 17:39.66
2nd. Louise Kelly: +1:07.72
3rd. Fiona Murray: +2:10.03
1st. Sam Blenkinsop: 14:26.01
2nd. Charlie Murray: +0:06.16
3rd. Connor Hamilton: +0:31.44
4th. Samuel Shaw: +0:36.29
5th. Shannon Hewetson: +0:41.72
Full results can be found here