NZ Downhill National Cup Finals - Dunedin

Feb 19, 2017 at 4:30
by Cameron Mackenzie  



Here we are, at the finish of what has been an incredible series. We have traveled the length of New Zealand in pursuit of the countries best racing and best race tracks. Last weekend saw a wide selection of the countries fastest and famous talent meet atop a fresh new track, in a fresh new park, ready to go to war in the axle deep dust.

This weekend saw racers converge on the student / party mecca of Dunedin, New Zealand for the last round of the New Zealand National Downhill Series. Riders were greeted with dry conditions, which isn't normal for Dunedin, a track which many have raced on before and a one of the biggest fields of the series at 129 riders.

Morning prep before a big day of warfare
Morning prep before a big day of warfare.
NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Sam Robbie and the young Queenstown rippers rolled into town feeling comfortable with having knowledge of the track.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Start gates with views.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Ben Karalus got on the charge early.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Rupert Chapman stomped the high line huck into the first rock garden while Kurt MacDonald sets up low.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Matt Walker keeping things high. He later in the day went on to have a silly crash in the same section and wasn't feeling 100% come race runs.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Shania Rawson and Ashley Bond spent the morning riding together and sharing lines. It will be exciting to see how much of Shania's knowledge will rub off on Ash.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Wyn Masters got to work on putting a fresh test mule through its paces.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Laurie Greenland was a welcome appearance at this weekend's race. He got amongst the practise from the outset and said he couldn't stop riding the track, it was that good.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Ben Karalus stomped the massive rock garden in early morning practise. As the day went on he progressively felt more ill, and after the race was done, went to hospital and got his appendix removed. A man with solid priorities - Bike first, everything else including health second.

Lines for Africa through one of the many savage rock gardens.
Lines for Africa through one of the many savage rock gardens.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Kieran Bennett has been a regular at all of the South Island rounds this season and has been incredibly consistent. 6th place overall today behind a field of World Cup top 20 riders is nothing to be ashamed of!

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
George making short work of the massive step down.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
A common sight as the day progressed. Come offline in one of the many rock gardens and your tyres would get sliced or a tube cut open.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Alanna Columb wasn't feeling brave enough to send the new road gap.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Eddie Masters pulling up in an attempt to avoid further rocks.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
With the course closed until the injured rider was evacuated 75 off the elite riders got to have themselves a part train for lunch
With the course closed until the injured rider was evacuated, 75% of the elite riders got to have themselves a part train for lunch.

As the afternoon kicked into gear and the first of the Elite Men started to roll through for seeding, a rider crashed up high on course and closed the track until he was evacuated. The course was closed for over an hour while everyone waited in chilly pits as a stormy front started to roll in. With the weather looking set to pack in riders finally got the all clear to head back up the hill but only for race runs. The top 3/4 of the elite field had to skip their seeding run and jump in the deep end for race runs.

Signal Hill had a bush fire rip through near on 2 years ago but thankfully didn t destroy to many of the cities iconic trails
Signal Hill had a bush fire rip through near on 2 years ago but thankfully didn't destroy too many of the cities iconic trails.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Ash in attack mode.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Blake Ross keeping things low in morning practise and trying to hide from the brutal sideways gusts in the open.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Sam Robbie must not have got the memo on the winds and sent it for onlooker Eddie.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Billy Meaclem loves a good pull up for the cameras.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
The only result Jack Humphries cares about is winning practise, and he went about doing just that.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
The new road gap offered great spectating opportunities if you didn t mind the sound of bottoming out bikes
The new road gap offered great spectating opportunities if you didn't mind the sound of bikes bottoming out!

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Finn Hawkesby-Browne quietly got down to business today and slid into 3rd in the U17's.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Isaac Ewen rode a strong race today, but finished up just 0.17sec behind fellow Aucklander, Blake Ross, in the hotly contested U17 field. Second on the day and fourth overall in the series.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Blake Ross fought hard to keep the strong rider at bay today but had what it took and came away with the U17 win and 2nd in the U17 series overall.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Sam Robbie in high spirits after a solid second place seeding. He couldn't better his time in his finals run but took out 2nd behind the local boy Callum Booth.

Josh Oxenham had a tragic front flat in seeding.
Josh Oxenham had a tragic front flat in seeding but got things sorted and took 3rd in U19 during his race run.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
It was great to see Joel 'Runga' Tunbridge out there racing today. He wasn't as tapped as the big boys, but showed off plenty of style!


Callum Booth the local boy and the man behind several of the course s new features kept things under control all day and took out the top step in U19 s
Callum Booth, the local boy and the man behind several of the course's new features kept things under control all day and took out the top step in U19's

bigquotesI was super stoked to win on my local trail and happy to have built something gnarly a few days before the race to keep things fresh for everyone racing. - Callum Booth

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Local boy Jake Paddon rode the steeps better than half the Pro Elite field, and he was only on an enduro bike.

Old team mates and good friends Joe and Rupert talking crap trying to kill time.
Old teammates and good friends, Joe and Rupert talking crap trying to kill time.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Ashley Bond closed out a strong season on a track she herself said she wouldn't have been able to ride 12 months ago.

bigquotesI think the series has been great, and has been a fantastic example of how strong our community is and how willing people are to get in behind something like this new series when they believe in it. Although I wasn't around to experience the old series, I without a doubt feel this new series has been awesome. I've loved the racing, the tracks and places we have travelled to but most of all have just be stoked on riding my bike and pushing my own limits - Ashley Bond

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Shania came into the last round swinging, now having a series of wins under her belt she looked to be dominating all day today. Alanna Columb proved to have the pace on the day but only finished 5 seconds up on Shania.

bigquotesIt was no surprise to see Dunedin's sick track bring in so many Elite riders. I had good practice runs all day and managed to seed first in Elite Women. A few mistakes in my race run put me into second place but I'm stoked to win the overall series in Elite women as a junior. Looking forward to National Champs next weekend, I want to give it my all and get my first NZ sleeve! - Shania Rawson

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Alanna closed out the season by backing up last weekend's win in Christchurch with another here in Dunedin.

Carson Rayner on the charge into the finish
Carson Rayner on the charge into the finish.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Anton Weatherly kept things low across the finish line table.

Kim Newton was quietly just doing his own thing today and slide into 7th in Open Men
Kim Newton was quietly just doing his own thing today and slide into 7th in Open Men.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Joe Nation was seen out and about today watching the DH'ers throw down. Between riders he and his mate got on course and threw down!

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Matt Walker sent the road gap and almost landed on top of another rider during his race run. Not wanting to loose time he swiftly changed lanes to the wrong side of the tape and rapidly cut back in after causing a right old stir for the spectators there.

Mr Consistant Louis Hamilton had yet another strong day on the bike but didn t have the pace required to mix it up with the internationals this time around. 8th on the day.
Mr consistent Louis Hamilton had yet another strong day on the bike but didn't have the pace required to mix it up with the internationals this time around. 8th on the day.

bigquotesThe 'club organised' national series has been an absolute blast! 6 rounds of different tracks and terrain in different regions has made for a great series. Super grateful there are people in our sport who don't give up that easily on providing a 6 round series for the up and coming racers and the future of New Zealand downhill! One day events are just as good, a format that works well and everybody is happy with. To the people who pulled this series together, Thank you all! - Louis Hamilton

The Bulldog destroyed morning practise aboard something raw but he and team mate Wyn left early for more Team Camp training back in Queenstown later that afternoon
The Bulldog destroyed morning practise aboard something raw but he and teammate Wyn left early for more Team Camp training back in Queenstown later that afternoon.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Rupert Chapman looked to be getting comfortable on his new Pivot but his time didn't say so. Down the ladder in 16th.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Cole Lucas didn't have the pace to keep the fire burning with solid results like he had up north. 15th amongst a stacked field.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Phil Atwill looked to be at home the flat out, loose track and smashed it for 3rd.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Kenta Gallagher rode his way into 2nd place for the day behind George.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
George Brannigan wasn't going to let a full host of Brits win a local NZ race. George dominated all day and put 1.26sec into second place, Kenta Gallager.

NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
Post race celebrations in full swing, a whole team affair on some sides of the pit.
The pride of the South
The pride of the south.
NZ Downhill National Cup - Round 6 - Dunedin
All Terrain adventure crocs got the job done out there for post race heckling duties.

Elite Men s Podium
Elite Men's podium.
Elite Women s Podium
Elite Women's podium.
Elite Men
1st - George Brannigan
2nd - Kenta Gallagher
3rd - Phil Atwill
4th - Laurie Greenland
5th -Jimi Ramsay
Elite Womens
1st - Alanna Columb
2nd - Shania Rawson
3rd - Agata Bulska
4th - Sam Hope
5th - Ashley Bond


SERIES OVERALL


With the new series taking over from what the official series, riders still needed a way of accumulating an overall result in order gain any points. With this series having had 6 rounds, riders top 4 results would count towards their overall standings.

Elite Men
1st - Keegan Wright
2nd - Brook MacDonald
3rd - Peter Bethell
4th - Louis Hamilton
5th - Cole Lucas
Elite Womens
1st - Shania Rawson
2nd - Agata Bulska
3rd - Ashley Bond
4th - Alanna Columb
5th - Sarah Fox


MENTIONS: @cameronmackenzie




22 Comments

  • + 53
 @Pinkbike: thanks for the quality coverage. Would be awesome to see reporting like this about more national series this year.
  • + 26
 If you come to new zealand to ride some crazy ruff tracks to spice things up from all the bike parks groomed trails give signal hill a try. Dunedin had fire on boxing day 2016 the fire fighters got stuck in and saved all but one track that was a top effort by them considering it was holidays.
  • + 19
 glove hating Kiwis
  • + 16
 U.K. Reparazentin
  • + 7
 Well done Kenta. Good to see you so high up on the podium.
  • + 2
 Curious what he'll do at the WC..
  • + 3
 @cameronmackenzie with the goods again - nice coverage man!
  • + 2
 More great coverage of the series, thanks heaps!
  • + 2
 I didn't see the "idrive" on Wyn's raw mule....interesting.
  • + 2
 Shouldn't give dogs beer, they prefer bitter
  • + 1
 Yeah Cam! Solid coverage bud! Hope to see the same qualtity for the Trans NZ. Gutted I can't make it down this year.
  • + 2
 Beautiful pictures, thanks for the quality coverage.
  • + 3
 Great work as always Cam
  • + 1
 The fire was only a few weeks ago - couple of days after Christmas
  • + 1
 Cam! Those are some banger photos! Im impressed bud!
  • + 2
 kenta! yassss!
  • + 1
 when a photo of you comes up but then they call you sam robbie Frown
  • + 1
 Damn George.
  • + 1
 Yees Brannigan!!
  • + 0
 Love those podium shots! No awkward supermans there
  • + 1
 Nice dog
  • + 1
 Wow..Glory Kenta!!

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