Sky-high thumbs up for track

By Greg Taipari,

Rotorua's newest mountain biking track has received the thumbs up from competitive and non-competitive riders.

More than 200 riders line up to experience the temporary purpose-built downhill mountain biking track set up on Mount Ngongotaha underneath one of Rotorua's most popular tourist attractions, Skyline Rotorua.

With rock music pumping and riders taking in the beautiful vista of Rotorua as well as the added injection of adrenaline-pumping luge rides, it was hard to contain the enthusiasm from those registering for the Skyline Sprint Warrior. The event was so popular organisers had to turn away riders as numbers were capped at 200.

Rotorua mountain bike enthusiast Melissa Craig, along with two of her friends from another popular tourist attraction Ogo Rotorua, had taken the day off work to take part in the event.

"We're all keen mountain bikers and we know the organisers so we wanted to come a support them and an awesome opportunity to sneak out of work for the afternoon and go riding," she said.

Craig who was impressed with the course said her boss had joked to her she was allowed to have the time off to take part in the event, providing she fell off at the first jump.

"It's pretty cool so far, there is nothing like being able to chuck your bike on a gondola, ride down hill and put no effort in riding up it."

It was not just the thrillseekers who were happy with the course. New Zealand downhill representative, Kawerau Matt Walker said it had been a great way to pass the time while waiting to compete in tomorrow's downhill championships.

"It's a real fun track. It's fast flowing and a bit dusty but it's real good fun.

"I'm pretty impressed with what they've done with the size of the hill really.

"It's a bit of a novelty to be able to ride under the gondola, it has attracted a lot of people, it's not something you get to do very often."

Mountain Bike Rotorua's Tak Mutu is the man behind the new trail which brings mountain biking back to the slopes of Mt Ngongotaha for the first time since the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships.

The Daily Post talked with Sprint Warrior trail designer/builder Chris Martin yesterday, who said he was happy with the final outcome of the track.

The Skyline Sprint Warrior is one of a number of different biking events being held in the city as part of the inaugural Rotorua Bike Festival.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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