Mountain bike orienteering champs heading to Rotorua

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TOP CONTENDER: Angus Robinson from Australia will take part in the championships. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
TOP CONTENDER: Angus Robinson from Australia will take part in the championships. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Top racers from around the world are heading to Rotorua for the New Zealand Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships next week.

The event will be held at various Rotorua locations from Friday, November 18 to Sunday, November 20.

Camilla Sogaard from Denmark has multiple world championship medals to her credit - middle distance bronze, Portugal, 2016; long distance bronze, Poland, 2014 and relay silver, Estonia, 2013.

She is currently travelling through New Zealand and there was no way she would miss three days of top quality mountain bike orienteering in Rotorua.

"I'm looking forward to some fun and challenging courses in the best MTB area in New Zealand," Sogaard said.

Sogaard will give some of the other top New Zealand mountain bike orienteers some great competition.

New Zealand's top female mountain bike orienteering racer is Marquita Gelderman, who has dominated the women's elite competition over the last few years. Gelderman has competed in numerous MTB Orienteering World Champs and is relishing the opportunity to pit her physical and mental prowess against the other competitors.

Angus Robinson from Australia won the Under-21 World Mountain Bike Championship Sprint Distance event in Liberic, Czech Republic, in 2015 - the first medal for an Australasian junior in the sport.

He is looking forward to coming to Rotorua.

"These races offer some of the most diverse and complex terrain around which should make for challenging and intense racing that would be hard to miss."

Overall event organiser, Pete Swanson from Orienteering Bay of Plenty, is excited about the calibre of competitors and number of people who have entered.

"We have over 125 people entered now. It's going to be a great weekend of racing in lots of new and interesting areas. The events also qualify as part of the World Masters Mountain Bike Orienteering Series and we will be using a new contactless punching system for timing. This is the first time SPORTident Air+ has been used for MTBO in New Zealand."

The championships consists of four events starting with a warm-up event on the Friday evening in Whakarewarewa Forest.

The sprint distance is in Tihiotonga-Centennial Park, Waiariki Campus and the Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park on the Saturday morning.

The middle distance is at Tui Ridge Park on the Saturday afternoon and the long distance is at Cougar MTB Park, Tokoroa, on the Sunday.

Orienteering Bay of Plenty is grateful for all the support they have received from landowners and managers, as well as the Tokoroa MTB Club, in running these events.

Members of the public are welcome to enter or go along and watch. There will be a limited number of on-the-day entries available.

* For more information go to www.mtbochamps.nz.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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