Hawke's Bay gears up to showcase carnival

By Kaysha Brownlie

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Napier City Council event manager Kevin Murphy (left) and race director Ivan Aplin hold race shirts that have just arrived ahead of the Summer Cycling Carnival which starts on Thursday. Photo / Paul Taylor
Napier City Council event manager Kevin Murphy (left) and race director Ivan Aplin hold race shirts that have just arrived ahead of the Summer Cycling Carnival which starts on Thursday. Photo / Paul Taylor

Hawke's Bay will become a cycling hot-spot when supporters and competitors flood in on Thursday for the Summer Cycling Carnival.

The festival runs from January 7-17 with Thursday marking the arrival of some key players.

Napier City Council event manager Kevin Murphy said it was difficult to gauge the actual number of people that would arrive but a surge was expected.

Final preparations were underway as race one on Friday loomed closer.

First up were the time trials which signalled the first of three days of intense racing.

Littered throughout were family activities which included bike dress-ups, music, and food.

Takaro Trails founder Jenny Ryan said cycling was "really up-and-coming" in Hawke's Bay and the carnival would "showcase what we've got".

Ms Ryan had owned the local business for six years but this year she said the popularity in cycling had "exploded".

She likened the landscape to the south of France with its vineyards, but said Hawke's Bay had "some of the best tracks in the world".

"The Tukituki Loop is a classic New Zealand road ride."

The cycling enthusiast said she was looking forward to watching her nephew, elite cyclist Sam Bewley, compete but, it was great to see kids who were getting into it too.

"Especially those coming out of Central Hawke's Bay, they're producing some amazing cyclists."

The cyclists do not steal the whole show however, Mr Murphy said a great deal of planning had gone into the event including a 100-page traffic management plan.

Competitors would dart up and over hills and around residential streets so locals could get in on the action.

A number of local sponsors had also come to the party as well as an 80-strong group of volunteers to help pull the event together.

"The reason why the council was motivated to get the event here was to have the best cycling race here, and because we wanted to promote the new cycling trails," he said.

Part of the Napier City Council's effort to advertise the event was to place brightly spray painted bikes about the city reminding locals of the excitement to come.

For people who could not make it track side all races would be live-streamed. Screens would be set up along the different routes.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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