To cancel a day of racing is a tough decision to make but ultimately not a hard decision. At the end of the day rider safety always comes first. With the valley floor shrouded in heavy cloud and rain limiting our medi-evac options we had to call the racing off for the day. The NZ Enduro is a wild backcountry point to point enduro race, today riders would have been some kilometres from any vehicle accessible road and above 1000m in wet and near freezing conditions. We simply could not take the risk. Then there are the secondary but almost equally important things like trail degradation and marshal safety (they would have been doing a full day in near zero wet and windy conditions with no shelter).
When the call was made and relayed to the racers we were worried about how the riders would react but after some spontaneous happy cheers we knew we had made the right call. It was a long wet day yesterday, but at much lower altitudes, with multiple evacuation access points and a sheltered lunch spot where riders were able to dry off, eat and warm up before moving on. In other words a very different situation from what we would have experienced today.
With a truckload of prizes (literally) to award to the winners in each class we took over the the Canvastown Town Hall and begun the festivities.
In Master men, Nick Sutcliff bested Michael Broderick and Jonny Waghorn for top honours.
In Open women, it was Mel Blomfield over Renee Wilson and Anja Macdonald.
In Open Men Byron Scott ahead of Charles Jones and Tristan Rawlance.
After two days of racing, Ines Thoma held off Claire Hassenfratz by less than two seconds with Bex Baraona in third. Damien Oton kept late charging Mark Scott at bay with Joe Nation surprising a few by just managing to pip Jerome Clementz by a second and a half for third place.
We wrapped up with a fun raffle and raised $2500 for Marlborough MTB club ending on a positive note with a great lunch some Moa beers to finish. Hold thumbs for better weather next year.
Some Facts and Info:
New Zealand’s wildest multi-day enduro stage race. Natural single-track in native forests on the magical Marlborough Sounds with helicopter shuttles. Sweet As!When:
10, 11th & 12th March 2017 Where:
The top of the South Island, New Zealand in the beautiful Marlborough region. This area is known for its spectacular scenery, great riding, wine, beer, food and lots of sunshine (normally). How many people:
140 sold out racers from 17 countries. (50 pros and 90 amateurs) Plus crew/volunteers, doctors, medics, and media.
The top of the South Island is beautiful but also wild and rugged, some of the best trails are point-to-point in nature and hard to access without logistical support that we offer within the race. The race route takes in the very best of NZ’s native sacred and sensitive Beech forest riding. This is not your usual race on your usual local trails.
Day one starts and ends at the beach in White’s Bay. Then we move on to the spectacular Nydia Track, linking three bays along the Pelorus Sounds’ coastline over four timed stages for day two’s point to point adventure. We finish in style on the final day, helicopter shuttled to the top of the infamous fern-clad Wakamarina track, the crown jewel of NZ native bush track riding for the final three race stages.
The liaisons are untimed, there is no rigid start order to adhere to and no scheduled practice. Just good old fashioned fun on the bike with your friends; a race within a social setting. We are thinking globally and acting locally, partnering with local providers whenever possible, food and refreshments sourced locally and giving back directly to MTB trail advocacy programs targeting the trails we are using through the Marlborough MTB club and trailfund.org.nz with a raffleResults
Images: Duncan Philpott, Gary Perkin, Boris Beyer, Digby Shaw.