The Giant 2W Gravity Enduro Mountain Biking Series race two took place in Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest on Saturday, with the event hub in a new and unique location, at Te Puia.
Connor Hamilton took the top step and finished first with an overall time of 17m 22s and Jenna Hastings was the first female with a time of 19m 47s, Hastings backing up her win in race one in October.
Hamilton was ahead of Daniel Self (17m 28s) and Louis Hamilton (17m 29s). Hastings was ahead of Robin Goomes (20m 29s) and Kate Weatherly (20m 36s).
Hamilton finished third in race one of the series in October and said he didn't expect to top the podium in race two.
“It was really good to take the win and I definitely didn't expect it so I’m happy, pretty stoked with that.”
He said the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro is always a “big hit”.
“It’s a solid race for Rotorua. It's a good day out and tests the fitness.”
Jenna Hastings said she felt good taking her second win of the 2020/21 series.
“I do all these races thinking I won't win and that Robin or Kate will beat me. I'm always prepared for it but managed to hold it together and take the win.”
Hastings said everything went to plan.
“I had a good first run and then it kind of just snowballed from there.”
“It's such a cool atmosphere, it's so social and everyone is so supportive. You meet up with a whole bunch of friends and just go around and have a fun time on the stages.”
Hastings was the overall female champion for the 2019/20 season and will be back for race three with the goal to back up her overall title.
Event Director Craig Murray said the weather leading up to the race was perfect with rain at the start of the week followed by warm and dry days leading into the event and perfect riding conditions on event day.
Murray said one of the main goals for event two was to put a spotlight on the volunteers.
“Volunteers are the beating heart of the Giant 2W, we are always humbled and really appreciate our awesome team of volunteers donating their time.
Without our volunteers we wouldn't be able to deliver the event. The Giant 2W has close to 600 competitors with 500 participants who travel from outside of Rotorua, with many staying overnight.
This event is a huge economic contributor to Rotorua.” He said the event preparation went well and it was great to be in a venue where there was infrastructure already there.
“Te Puia was a fantastic location for the event hub, it is one of the most picturesque venues on the globe.”
“We are grateful we were able to collaborate with Te Puia and had a beautiful welcome from their team last week. We thank them and hopefully more mountain bikers now know how epic Te Puia is.”
The revenue generated from the event helps pay for a seven day a week first response unit in the forest.
The Rotorua Mountain Bike Club owns and operates the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro Series each year with a primary goal of facilitating the Mark Dunlop Memorial Scholarship.
The scholarship is set up to foster and develop role models in our community by supporting the racing ambitions of the scholarship recipient and enabling international experience with a grant of up to $10,000.
The scholarship will be awarded at race threes prizegiving.
The Giant 2W Gravity Enduro series comprises three races, with race three taking place on 20th February 2021. All three races sold out in four days with over 550 competitors in each race.Full Results