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Bike fun to close runway

By Roger Moroney

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Hawke's Bay Main runway will be closed to air traffic while "ride the runway" takes place. Photo/Thinkstock
Hawke's Bay Main runway will be closed to air traffic while "ride the runway" takes place. Photo/Thinkstock

Hawke's Bay Airport's main runway will be closed to air traffic for a short time over Easter weekend.

During the hour-long closure wings will be replaced by wheels as a "Ride the Runway" outing will be staged as part of Hawke's Bay's The Big Easy cycle event.

It will be the first time in New Zealand a major airport runway has been shut down to allow cyclists to "take off" on a fast, flat, wide straight and long road ... with not a car in sight.

After being approached about the idea Hawke's Bay Airport commercial manager Wayne Wootten said he was happy to oblige and plans were put in place.

"We are grateful to the staff at Air New Zealand for working hard to ensure their scheduled aircraft will depart on time for this event and we can't wait to see all the cyclists out there on the runway having fun."

The event will take place on April 19 when the runway is closed from 10-11am. Riders can either take part in the Sprint Dash or the Fun Ride.

The Sprint Dash will be staged in association with the Ramblers cycling club and riders will have the opportunity to race as fast as they can along the full length of the runway and then the return leg - 3km in total.

The Fun Ride will be for those who prefer the unique chance to ride the otherwise restricted access runway at a more leisurely pace, with entry to both events being a gold-coin donation.

Sprint Dash riders must register in advance at www.ramblers.co.nz while Fun Ride cyclists can turn up on the day for registration which begins at 9am.

Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said the Big Easy series of events were developed to attract visitors to the Bay over Easter.

Part of the overall weekend was a series of diverse "not so easy" events and unique outings like the runway run.

"By adding the 'not so easy' element we hope to encourage visitors to stay longer and do more while they are here."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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