Festival to continue in 2014...
Media release: February 8
The 1st Rotorua Bike Festival, February 2013 – the future of the festival confirmed…
On the eve of the 1st Rotorua Bike Festival clicking into high gear, the event has financial backing for 2014.
“It’s great to know that the Festival has the green light for another year,” says Martin Croft from Rotorua Events & Venues. “This week we got confirmation that the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust will continue their support of the Festival.”
The Rotorua Trust is a major supporter of the first festival and has also backed some of the biggest cycling events in Rotorua over the past decade.
“We see this as a good way to support quality events in our community, particularly where local athletes can compete with top national and international competitors on the world stage,” says Grahame Hall, chairman of the Trust. “Rotorua has some of the best mountain biking trails in the southern hemisphere and a reputation and proven history of organising and staging cycling events on an international scale.”
The Trust was a key supporter of the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships and the 2010 Singlespeed World Championships.
“The Rotorua Trust are always very proud to be associated with professionally run events like these,” continues Hall. “The 2013 Bike Festival will further enhance our city’s reputation as part of the New Zealand Centre of Excellence for Cycling and encourage the growth of the sport in our region.”
The Rotorua District Council has matched the contribution of the Rotorua Trust and this means Festival organizers have already started planning for 2014.
“Cycling is such an important part of the health of our community,” says mountain biking Mayor, Kevin Winters. “It's also a very big part of the local economy. With the wonderful trails in the Whakarewarewa Forest, the new National Cycleway section, Te Ara Ahi, lots of annual events and now the festival, it’s a pretty big earner.”
Rotorua hosts thousands of cycling visitors every year from all round New Zealand and overseas.
“Australia is a particularly important market for us and with Air New Zealand direct flights to and from Sydney we are getting lots of Aussies coming over for a long weekend to ride,” The Mayor continues. “There are some big groups coming for the Festival.
Sometimes this Summer it’s seemed the only language spoken in the Forest is Australian,” he adds with a laugh.
Local support for the 2013 Festival is excellent.
Event organisers and cycling clubs have stepped up and are putting on a varied range of events – something for everyone.
“It really is a great experience to be involved in this,” says Croft. “We’ve all been very impressed with how organizers and businesses have combined to make it work.”
And media interest in the Festival is high.
“We’ve been fielding calls all week,” continues Croft, with a smile. “Now we just want to see our International visitors, people from around New Zealand and locals all getting out and having a go or turning up to spectate and make some noise.”
The 2013 Festival gets under way this weekend.
The Agroventures Shweeb World Champs featuring pedal-powered pods only found in Rotorua is on Saturday.
The Novotel Rotorua City Street Criterium and Bike Parade is on Sunday with exciting road race action, right in the heart of Rotorua.
The BMX Rotorua National Qualifiers are on Saturday February 16.
It is an important year for BMX in New Zealand with the UCI World Championships in Auckland in July.
BikeNZ's high performance Olympic squad of London silver medalist, Sarah Walker, Marc Willers and Kurt Pickard will all be at the Rotorua track.
Also on the final weekend of the festival, out in Rotorua's world-renowned trail network in the Whakarewarewa Forest, New Zealand's elite cross-country and downhill racers will compete for 2013 titles at the Mountain Bike National Championship.
Junior World Cross-Country Champion, Anton Cooper and London Olympian, Karen Hanlen will race the cross-country on Saturday February 16, alongside other top Kiwi riders like Dirk Peters, Carl Jones and Samara Sheppard.
The Men's competition will be a knock down, head-to-head battle with New Zealand's best riders like Sam Blenkinsop, Brook McDonald and local favourites like Louis Hamilton, all competing.