February 10-19, 2017

Festival gets Rude

US rider on the start line at the Festival this weekend.

Another world-class mountain biker will race at the Rotorua Bike Festival this weekend.

Richie Rude was the 2013 UCI Junior Men’s World Downhill Champion. The man with one of the best names in international mountain biking was the first American to take that title. 

He will join his Yeti team mate and current Enduro World Series champion, Jared Graves, from Australia, at the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro on Saturday.

 

Richie Rude in action, 2014 Enduro World Series, Whistler in Canada. (Dave Trumpore)

 

The event sold out on Monday, reflecting the robust good health of the festival.

“There were over 1700 entries to events in the first three days,” said Festival event coordinator, Martin Croft. “Over 800 took the unique opportunity to ride the Rotorua Airport runway on Friday evening, which exceeded our expectations…by quite a bit.”

The feature events of the weekend were the New Zealand Cross Country Championships in the Whakarewarewa Forest on Saturday followed by the Downhill Championships on Sunday. These were on a brand new course at Skyline Rotorua on the slopes of Mount Ngongotaha. The same venue will host Crankworx in late March.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Anton Cooper won the Elite Men’s Cross Country with Kate Fluker winning the women’s event.

 

Anton Cooper nails Boulderdash on a technical and demanding Cross Country course (Mead Norton).

 

Trek World Racing’s George Brannigan retained his Men’s Downhill title. He was the only rider to break the 3-minute barrier on a challenging and physically sapping course.

Alannah Columb won the Elite Women’s title.

 

George Brannigan on his way to a sub 3 minute time and an other New Zealand title (Alick Saunders).

 With the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro a sell out at 400 entries and two other second weekend events, the XRACE and Bike the Lake Rotorua, accounting for another 900 entries so far, the Festival is already up on last year’s numbers.

“It really demonstrates the strength of the biking community in Rotorua,” Croft added.

 

The Festival continues till Sunday February 22.