We're here at the second round of the 2019 MTBNZ Downhill National Cup series - hosted by Gravity Canterbury at the Christchurch Adventure Park.
It's been months of sunshine, moondust & brake bumps, but of course a few days out from the race tropical cyclone(hurricane) Oma forms off the coast of Australia and it's headed our way too - Murphy's law. Luckily in the last hour, it steers clear, but in doing so draws a cold wet front from Antartica taking the country from a balmy 25~ to an expected wet & chilly 9 degrees. To put things in perspective 50cm of fresh powder is forecast to fall at Mt Hutt only an hours drive away - that's more than any ski area in the Northern Hemisphere this weekend!
Everyone's well prepared though, we all know the weather changes like the flick of the switch on these islands, so the forecast didn't hold back 115 frothing racers ready to tackle, the now infamous, 'GC' track for its third race in three weeks following on from the NZ Open and Phoenix Continental EWS.
Coming into the weekend North Islanders, Charlie Makea and Kate Weatherly, are at the top of the Men & Women's Elite standings respectively, after winning the first round at Dome Valley, Auckland. Can the locals spice things up?Agata & Rose handle the rego - While Yaz keeps the bikes running smoothlySurprinsly calm for practice and everyone's pumped to get racingAnother one bites the dustFrom dusty to uber slippery in 30 minutesElite Women
1. Kate Weatherly 4:30.01
2. Agata Bulska 5:08.7 +38.6
3. Kathy Morris 5:22.2 +52.1Elite Men
1. Guy Gibbs 3:25.1
2. George Brannigan 3:27.9 +2.9
3. Boaz Hebblethwaite 3:28.9 +3.0
4. Sam Blenkinsop 3:30.2 +5.2
5. Simon Read 3:337.0 +12.0
The overall will be decided this Saturday at Cardrona Bike Park, not the planned location but thankfully their team stepped up after a wildfire closed the original venue of Nelson. Kate Weatherly has all but received the trophy, while the Men's is open to Charlie Makea or George Brannigan as the rules state you need to have raced all three rounds to take the title.
Full race results at MTBNZ
Photography & Words by: The Perfect Line