Video: Sam Blenkinsop Recollects New Zealand's Gold Rush History in 'Hidden Claim'

Mar 2, 2021 at 10:48
by Norco Bicycles  

Since the world locked down last year, we’ve all been searching for whatever nugget of joy we can find to cope with the weight of our Covid reality.

When New Zealand shut down, they took it to the next level, and Sam Blenkinsop holed up with his family and reveled in the opportunity he was given to spend time with his young daughter.

As the year progressed, the 10-year World Cup DH veteran found himself at home for his first winter in over a decade. As the lockdown eased, he jumped at the opportunity to explore the untapped trails of the Central Otago, just beyond the Remarkables Mountain Range.

The high desert topography and harsh landscape was once home to the South Island’s gold rush, and its trails were blazed by courageous miners who hiked their way in for days, taking respite in hillside caves in the glacial rock fields along the way.

Once he struck paydirt, he made arrangements with Hunt Cinema, and together they created Hidden Claim, capturing Sam’s unmistakable style aboard his Sight as he traces a path from cave to cabin in the 150-year-old footsteps of the intrepid explorers in search of the earth’s hidden treasures.

The exposed heat of the winter sun is usually too oppressive in the Central Otago, but Blenki and Hunt Cinema captured the nuanced gold backdrop of the perfect day that allowed this journey through a pivotal era in New Zealand’s history.


Photo by Cam Mackenzie
Photo by Cam Mackenzie

Photo by Cam Mackenzie

Photo by Cam Mackenzie

Photo by Cam Mackenzie

Photo by Cam Mackenzie

Photo by Cam Mackenzie

Photo by Cam Mackenzie
Photo by Cam Mackenzie

Photo by Cam Mackenzie

Credits:
Concept and Execution: Hunt Cinema
Athlete: Sam Blenkinsop
Director/DOP/Editor: Scott Robb
Producer/Director: Nick Stevenson
Guide: Phil Oliver
Soundtrack: Space Above - Laniakea
Audio Mix: Scott Robb

Photography: Cam Mackenzie

Special Thanks: Helen & Brett Sanders - Matangi Station

Locations:
Matangi Station, Alexandra
Flat Top Hill, Alexandra


49 Comments

  • 40 0
 The riding was great, but that trail and scenery are some of the best I've seen. Great video.
  • 7 0
 Alexandra, NZ. About an hour from Queenstown. And yes, it is amazing riding. Another aspect of its beauty that the video can't show is the aroma of all the wild thyme that grows there also :-)
  • 22 0
 Music was perfect too; added some energy to the video without being distracting.
  • 17 0
 Probably the most stylish rider in the world. His movement on the bike, and what he can make the bike do is something to behold.
  • 1 0
 @Waldon83: Knees out, flat out
  • 1 4
 Why has the world forgotten the original flat pedal/no gloves ripper, Dave Cullinan?

Blenkinsop has heaps of style, but let's respect our elders.
  • 1 0
 Seraches 'How to ride like Cullinan Loic Bruni' 'No results available'
  • 16 0
 Can we talk about how he didn’t close the door on his way out ?
  • 17 1
 "We don't pay to heat the outside!"
  • 1 0
 @rrolly: we're just coming into autumn down here, that part of the country gets crazy hot.
  • 14 1
 This is NZ, we have no insulation, and it's always somewhat warmer outside than inside our homes.
  • 1 0
 @dirtologist: I was surprised the first time I heard that. And I thought the Aussies were savages. Wink
  • 10 0
 Pure gold! such a nice place to ride, such a cool rider to shred the trails
  • 8 0
 Damn Blenki's style is timeless
  • 7 0
 Was that a real Hobbit hole?!
  • 4 0
 History is after hard days of work New Zealand gold diggers went out for a rip. Already back then they had bikes equipped with 29" wagon wheels.
  • 3 0
 As he is going down that rock staircase he just smiling, having a blast. Nice video!
  • 3 0
 Any one ells disappointed in the lack of in air pedaling in this vid? (in all fairness great vid?)
  • 4 0
 Mint, Blenki is class...
  • 3 0
 I've not seen a trail I want to ride that much for a long time
  • 2 0
 Not only does Blenki rips but dude lives in a mine and or shack as well? Hero status
  • 2 0
 Favorite rider to watch race...ever. I missed him at the world cup last year.
  • 1 0
 Riding, video, and trails look excellent. Where exactly are those trails? Can't find it on google maps.
  • 3 0
 The trails are just out of Alexandra, in Central Otago. Some of the best and most underrated riding in New Zealand.
  • 3 0
 NZ's best kept secret
  • 2 0
 You wont find Matarangi station but at least part of the video was from Black and Blue (www.trailforks.com/trails/black-and-blue-118926) and/or doom link (www.trailforks.com/trails/doom-link-131487) trails on flat top hill.
  • 1 0
 @juliancox: Great. Thanks for the info. NZ is definitely on my short list to ride.
  • 1 0
 @halfwhip: something tells me not gonna be so secret for so long. Pinkbike is a great resource for people who want to blast out trail names and location on the internet.
  • 1 0
 Alot of those trails have been ‘secret’ for about 25 years as they are on private land but the good news is Matangimtbpark.com should be launching soon!.
  • 1 0
 @Trudeez:
Alexandra has a lot of locals only trails. They aren’t mapped and tend to be invited only.
The local riders work hard with the owners of the Matangi station to retain their access and are very protective of the trails on stations land.
It is great to see it becoming formalised with the bike park being launched.
  • 2 0
 @Farmnz: That's great news and I hope the moon dust holds up to more traffic! @Trudeez yes true, although they really are more off the beaten path rather than secret (there's a bunch of events held in that area every year). I still get lost up there after 20 years of dabbling!
  • 1 0
 @Trudeez: It is so far off the beaten path, not a lot of people are going to make it there, let alone foreigners.
  • 1 0
 @Herb1234: they’re the closest trails to my house and favourite place to ride. I wouldn’t say they’re invite only but as there is no signs whatsoever you do need someone who knows them to show you around the first few times.
  • 1 0
 @CMonkey: I agree as a local they are all fair game, but you need a local to show you the good stuff is if you are not a local. No maps not Strava just a local telling to to follow the pink dots
So much good stuff in those hills, I’m really not sure why I moved away.
  • 1 0
 @Herb1234: I rode linger and die once.
The pink dots are great when you learn to trust them. I need to go back....
  • 2 0
 That was f*cking beautiful.
  • 1 0
 I don't undesrtand how he can not ride the Aurum in a video called gold rush
  • 1 0
 When did Sam move to POC helmets?
  • 1 0
 Wondering the same thing.....he’s sponsored by Bluegrass, and they have their new half shell out. Maybe supply issues getting him a new one??
  • 1 0
 Great riding and great song too!
  • 1 0
 Great riding, superb composition!
  • 1 0
 But did he find any nugs?
  • 1 3
 When i see "new zealand" i expect to see a zerode frame ripping it up!
  • 5 0
 and peter jackson riding it
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