After 6 months of preparation, Christchurch Adventure Park was ready to play host for the 2021 New Zealand Downhill National Championship.
We are in a relatively fortunate position here in New Zealand, for the most part, we are COIVD free - so we have been able to run public events, almost like normal.
All the NZ World Cup big hitters Sam Blenkinsop, Brook MacDonald, Ed Masters, George Branigan, Bryn Dickerson and up-comers of the New Zealand Downhill scene were in for a treat with a brand new trail, "Community Transmission".
After a successful day of practice on Saturday, the tables turned on New Zealand at 9 pm. That night an emergency announcement was made over COVID community transmission being detected in our largest city, Auckland. This resulted in our four-tier alert system being elevated from level 1 to 3 for Auckland and level 2 for regions outside that area. This meant an effective lockdown for Auckland and elsewhere that gatherings over 100 people were no longer allowed, among other restrictions, this presented a set of issues for the race with 150 riders entered, but Cycling New Zealand quickly put into action a preplanned script of dropping seeding runs, shorting practice and splitting the event into two parts - Junior categories in the morning and Elite in the afternoon.
"This was not ideal but it was workable and enabled us to at least run the event which was way better than canceling it! Thanks to CAP and CNZ for making it happen and thanks to the riders for being so understanding." - Jeremy Christmas, UCI Commissaire
"What a great weekend to see CAP come alive with the best riders in the country " - Anne Newman, General Manager - Christchurch Adventure Park
Thomas Clark in two-wheel drive
Rory Meek & Alexander Gilchrist coming in hot!
Local Mountain Bike club Gravity Canterbury was tasked by Cycling New Zealand to organise and run the DH event. Volunteers from the club built the new track especially for the race with assistance from the team at CAP. Volunteers make the world go round!
Jack Collins 13 years old, your fastest U15 and 11th place overall in a stacked field. Elite riders, watch out the next generation is coming for you!
Oli Clark, another young gun - 13 years old and an absolute weapon on two wheels. Unfortunately, a high-speed OTB put him out of contention with a broken wrist.
Sacha Earnest showing there is no shortage of upcoming female talent in NZ - 1st U17
The fastest dad in Downhill
"It felt like I was overseas racing again, the track was great, it just feels good to be back on a bike, racing!" - Sam Blenkinsop
Full event results here
Words, Photos, and Video: The Perfect Line