February 10-19, 2017

2W Gravity Enduro - brand new event to debut at Rotorua Bike Festival

words: Jamie Trougton

Fancy yourself as a downhill demon, a weekend warrior or just a keen bike rider eager to sample some of the best trails in the world?

A brand new mountain biking event set to debut in Rotorua on February 17 could be just the ticket, with organisers announcing the creation of the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro.

A key component of the inaugural ten-day Rotorua Bike Festival, the 2W Gravity Enduro follows a format booming overseas, with riders racing a series of timed downhill trails in a set period of time.

"It's got the same concept as car rallying, with competitors cruising between special stages and then nailing it on timed runs down some of the best and most well-known trails in the majestic Whakarewarewa Forest," event director Neil Gellatly, of Dare 2 Sweat Events, explained.  "The reason the concept is exploding overseas, however, is that it's so accessible to so many riders - part-timers have the chance to pit themselves against top cross-country riders and champion downhillers, all on their own terms."

Gellatly has introduced two entry options - a short version over 3hrs with two or three special stages and a longer 5hr version with four or five stages.  All competitors will start and finish at Eat St in the heart of Rotorua's restaurant district, with riders rolling out in groups of five every 15secs, heading along off-road trails into the forest.  Groups of mates are encouraged to enter together, keeping the social theme of the event in the forefront, while the entry includes a shuttle pass so riders can be transported to the top of one of their stage starts.  Additional shuttle passes can also be purchased.

“The Rotorua Bike Festival is a celebration of cycling in our city and we’re delighted to have the 2W Gravity Enduro included,” Rotorua Event and Venues manager Martin Croft said. “Having the start/finish in the middle of the city is a masterstroke, as it showcases just how accessible our world-class trails are.”

Rotorua has staged two world mountain bike championships and numerous Oceania and national events over the last decade, with the inaugural festival aiming to build on those experiences.

The festival will open with the Cateye Moon Ride (6hr, 12hr and 24hr options) on February 8 and culminate 10 days later with the Mountain Bike National Championships.

Gellatly’s family-friendly, athlete-focused formula has proved a hit with other ventures, including the 3D Multisport Festival in June, which featured the Australasian Multisport championships.  Entries for that event doubled this year.

“People love to test themselves against elite athletes and the reason the 2W Gravity Enduro is so exciting is that fitness, skills and a little bit of strategy will even the playing field for so many riders,” Gellatly said.