Sammie Maxwell & Ben Oliver Win New Zealand National Marathon Mountain Bike Championships

Oct 27, 2022
by Paul Gunn  
Sammie Maxwell makes an early move at the Whaka 100

Sammie Maxwell (Taupo) has shown a clean pair of heels to her competitors to win the Elite Women’s PermaPine Whaka 100km to and take out the UCI NZ Marathon National Mountain Bike Championships. The win gives Maxwell an unprecedented three national titles across in one session.

Maxwell, who has been campaigning on the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup over the New Zealand winter, set the pace from the gun and shone on technical trails of the Whakarewarewa Forest to build up a formidable lead to ultimately take the win from Samara Sheppard, and Matilda Raynolds. Sheppard, a three times New Zealand and two times Oceania Cross Country champion, flew up the final climb just after the 80km mark to close the gap but was too far back to challenge for the win.

At the finish line Maxwell was exhausted, bloody, and understandably elated:

“That was so hard, I was stopping at water fill stations and shoving my mouth under the taps like, arrrrrggggh! But it was so good, I don’t quite believe it.”

In the Elite Men’s event defending Champion Ben Oliver (Christchurch) once again showed his class to take the win but in a completely different fashion to Maxwell, chasing down early leader Cameron Jones with Aussie Sam Fox and then attacking on the last big climb to build a gap that he managed to hold to the finish.

After a strong season, winning the silver medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and achieving a peak season ranking of 29 in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, the win today was surprisingly Ben’s his first Elite New Zealand title.

Ben Oliver riding high on his way to the NZ Marathon MTB title

“It’s wicked, I was so stoked that after a few years without the event that everything managed to run smoothly as today. It was a wicked turn out and to add the national marathon title to it made it an even bigger event - it was great to win”, said Oliver.

Nearly 700 riders, a capacity field, took on the tough and technical PermaPine Whaka 100km course that was 107 kilometres long, consisted of 85% ‘single track’ trail, and had over 3,000 vertical metres of climbing.

Elite Women

1. SAMMIE MAXWELL (NZ) 05:49:25
2. SAMARA SHEPPARD (NZ) 05:59:21

Elite Menl

1 BEN OLIVER (NZ) 04:53:46
2 CAMERON JONES (NZ) 04:55:11
3 SAM FOX (AUS) 04:59:27

Author Info:
GunnieMTB avatar

Member since Nov 3, 2020
2 articles

  • 9 1
 "That was so hard" is a massive understatement! As the roadies say "Chapeau" to the pros at the top of the field, they're incredible. However, I'll still take my 9 hour time and proudly display it on the wall, because even finishing this race is an achievement I'll never forget!
  • 1 0
 Hell yeah you should. That course is rad but super testing - nice work
  • 2 0
 My favourite race, but I did finish pretty damn empty this year. But you can't have better track selection in a 100km XCM
  • 1 0
 No mention of the WhakaMiler 162 km race that took place on the same day, with more difficult tracks and 4200m of climbing!
  • 1 0
 This article is just about the marathon nationals, there is a separate miler article
  • 1 0
 What happened to Anton Cooper I thought he was down to race this?
  • 1 0
 Anton became ill after the Eliminator Nationals and had to withdraw. He's keen to come back and add the XCM title to his list

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