First Ride the Runway was a sucess

By Shane Hurndell

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Competitors in the Ride the Runway event at Hawke's Bay Airport on Sunday. Photo/Duncan Brown
Competitors in the Ride the Runway event at Hawke's Bay Airport on Sunday. Photo/Duncan Brown

The first Ride the Runway in Napier on Sunday was a great success, with about 500 people taking part.

"We had brilliant weather and people just kept arriving, event manager Ivan Aplin said.

"A slight head wind made it a bit of challenge for the Ramblers Cycling Club's speed dash which was won by Doug McIntosh."

More than 50 riders lined up in grades to complete the 3km race.

The fun ride was the main focus of the event, with more than 400 riders there just for the enjoyment; taking their time and not having to worry about cars or, in this case, planes. There were lots of families.

"Seeing young kids riding their bike along the smooth tarmac is what really gave me the buzz," Mr Aplin said.

"With no pre-registration required, we had no idea how many would turn up. After Saturday when we had well over 1500 people riding the Big Easy, we were expecting a good turnout.

"We appreciated it very much that this could happen and thanks must go to the team of Wayne Wootton, commercial manager of Hawke's Bay Airport; Olivia Pierre, Air NZ Napier airport manager, and the Hawke's Bay Airport rescue fire team to be able to make this possible.

"Logistically we had a few challenges and had to plan for eventualities, eg if there was an emergency ambulance flight required then we had to evacuate the runway.

"Communication on the day was most important and fortunately all went well and people could ride for just over an hour," Mr Aplin said.

"Everyone completed the course and still had plenty of time left over for some to do it twice.

"We had one lady who just wanted to walk the width of the runway which is 45m. The runway had to be carefully inspected after the event before planes could land, to make sure nothing was left behind."

The Big Easy was the main weekend drawcard but there were some not-so-easy events, starting with a criterium (closed circuit race) on Friday on Marine Parade.

"We were lucky the weather came right," Mr Aplin, who co-ordinated the events, said. "It is a rare opportunity to have a race circuit in town and thanks must go to the Napier City Council to allow this to happen and to be able to showcase cycle racing.

"Small children were also able to have a race and all got an Easter egg."

Other events included a BMX competition at Sk8Zone, a bike polo demonstration at the Sound Shell and Super D on Te Mata Peak.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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