Graeme Simpson: Race in honour of James Dodds

By Graeme Simpson


This is going to be a bit vague on details because it happened awhile ago.

One morning many years ago, a few of us were sitting in Zippy Central. The subject under discussion was just how quick you could get down the first section of Be Rude Not To.

Mark Smith's lovely little creation was relatively new and had become a firm favourite.

The weather was perfect so the word went out: be up at the intersection of Red Tank and Direct Roads after work.

Bragging rights were at stake.



I rode down the trail to the first skid site with a stopwatch and my cellphone.


Another  of the crew rang from the start line when everyone was ready and then let riders go at one-minute intervals.

Some of Rotorua's most talented riders were on the start line. Singlespeed hero Garth Weinberg clipped a pedal on a stump on the exit and somersaulted over the finish line about half-way across the clearing. He was third.

I remember who was fastest: James "Dodzy'' Dodds, an absolutely supernatural talent on a bike.

There's another time trial being run, tomorrow night, although Dodzy will only be there in spirit. The Yeah Boi Sick Race will feature timed runs up Nursery Rd and down the Exit Trail.

Jo Price and Budgie Woods have put the event together as a fundraiser for the James Dodds Memorial Fund.

Dodzy's long-time partner, Gabby Molloy, and the Rotorua-based Geyser Community Foundation set up this

endowment fund to "create a lasting gift in his memory''. An endowment fund is a sum invested so the capital sum isn't spent, but generates an annual income stream. To start with, fund income  will be used to maintain a mountain bike skills park the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club is building in Dodzy's memory.

The Yeah Boi Sick Race is for a serious reason. For  Woods, it's also about fun. "Yeah boy, sick was a real Dodzyism and we want people to turn out and enjoy themselves, maybe dress up _ or down,'' he  laughs. ``Dodzy  loved life and we think he'd approve of this race.''

The entry fee is a donation to the  fund. "Riders can choose what to give, with a minimum of $10,''  Woods continues, "and we'll also be running an auction to raise more money.''

Registration is at 5pm at the Nursery Rd end of Long Mile Rd. Racing starts at 6pm, so get along and support a great cause. If you can't make it, you can donate through the  foundation website: There'll

also be an auction of one of Dodzy's race suits and some swag from generous local businesses, chipping in for a good cause.

There are plans to make YBS an annual event, so make sure you can say you were at the first.

And if buying Christmas presents for the bikers in the family is hard work, then make a donation to the fund in their


One of the remarkable statistics about Rotorua is the number of bike shops in town.

Most are open through the Christmas and New Year break, apart from the statutory holidays. Shop local and support these guys.

Happy trails and Merry Christmas.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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