Crankworx Rotorua is an amazing vehicle for showcasing mountain biking to the world and more specifically the valuable North American market, says Rotorua Lakes Council deputy mayor Dave Donaldson.
Speaking on day two of the second annual Crankworx event Mr Donaldson, who chairs Mountain Bike Events Ltd which brought the event to Rotorua, said Crankworx generated $3.7 million to the local economy last year.
An estimated 8000 people turned up on day one yesterday, which included hundreds of locals who got free entry.
"It was awesome, a really positive vibe," Mr Donaldson said.
He said the involvement of 300 local volunteers was also significant.
"The volunteers are superb. They put in long hours in hot conditions for a t-shirt and a thank you function at the finish. They are part of the buzz of the event, out there meeting people who are out for a good time. Pretty much everyone going to Crankworx is out for a good time and comes away with a smile on their face, including the volunteers."
The Crankworx expo zone has been completely redesigned from 2015 with more exhibitors while the trails have been tweaked and changed.
The Whip Off, when a rider on his bike leaps into the air, turns the bike to a 45-degree angle and raise the tyres to greet the horizon, was amazing to see, he said.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick was also buzzing about Crankworx.
"There was a huge vibe on the day, it was a great way to start five days of action," she said.
The free for locals' initiative was a big success.
"School children came during the day with their schools and later on we were overwhelmed by families and children. It was an international event on a scale they've never seen."
She said the village and trail area was even better than last year and was very professional.
"I was very proud of what I saw. It couldn't be in a better vantage point to showcase Rotorua," she said.
Mr Donaldson said the reason the council, through Destination Rotorua, was a key partner in delivering Crankworx was because Rotorua's mountain biking product was a "key strength of our visitor economy and has a hugely positive impact on the number of visitors coming to Rotorua both domestic and international".
"It's not just Rotorua Lakes Council getting behind it but the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and key local funders such as the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust and gaming trusts.
"All of those entities see the value. The Crankworx riders, international media and everyone associated with the event just think we are the luckiest mountain bikers on the planet living in Rotorua."
The riders particularly love the "hero dirt".
"They just love riding our trails. There is the occasional rock out there in the forest but not many. They're used to riding in rocky, unforgiving terrain. Here in Rotorua you can relax and enjoy the experience. That can lead to a false sense of security but trees don't budge much if you go off the trail and hit one.
"The other thing they can't believe and find it amazing how blessed we are of lack of predators. In British Columbia, you've got bears and mountain lions; in Australia you have snakes. Here you can focus in on the moment and enjoy the experience."
Mountain Bike Events Ltd has a contract to deliver Crankworx for three years.
"We are in negotiations to tack on an Enduro World Series in Crankworx 2017. Hopefully that will come together," Mr Donaldson said.