Graeme Simpson: Festival shows it has big future

By Graeme Simpson


 


The first Rotorua Bike Festival is on.


 


The North Island Bike Polo Championships got the festival under way on Saturday morning and all the photographers helping get images out to the world were unanimous; this was an entertaining event with real talent and skill on display.


No Compromise won the golden egg cup (seriously) and the event was run in great spirits, leaving the organisers glowing in their praise of the festival.


Plans are already under way for 2014, hopefully, in a more public place. Government Gardens?


Saturday evening local favourites Sarah Pitcher Campbell and Garth Weinberg won the Inaugural World Shweeb champs at Agroventures. Only in Rotorua.


On Sunday, MTB Adventure Quest organised by Orienteering BOP attracted a big crowd of riders of all ages and so did the fun ride along Te Ara Ahi National Cycleway.


The festival also came to town with the Adventure Quest ending on the Village Green and bikes were pimped in Government Gardens.


Mid-afternoon, it was the roadies (and some mountain bikers) turn at the Inner City Street Criterium, with exciting, fast-paced action right in the heart of town, outside the Novotel and arrow-straight down Eat Streat. Big unit Clinton Avery took out the A grade in a sprint to the line.


The Bike Parade concluded festivities in a riot of colour and it was a wrap for the weekend.


I'm writing this on Monday afternoon with a deadline rapidly approaching. It's the Redwoods Coast this evening, when gravity will prevail on Nursery Hill.


The rest of the week is packed. It's not 100 per cent confirmed but it looks like Crowd Goes Wild will be at the Bike Speedway at BMX Rotorua on Thursday evening. This was going to be a wonderful event, anyway. Add a bit of TV coverage and it will go boom.


The final weekend of the festival is also stacked.


The MoreFM Bike Expo opens at midday on Friday at the Rotorua Convention Centre with bike memorabilia, historical bikes and innovative local bike builders on display.


On Friday evening, mountain biking returns to Mount Ngongotaha for the first time since the 2006 world champs with the Skyline Sprint Warrior at 5pm.


On Saturday, BMX Rotorua will host the National Qualifiers with places up for grabs for the national championships.


It is a big year for BMX with the 2013 UCI world champs in Auckland in July.


The BikeNZ Olympic squad of Marc Willers, Kurt Pickard and London silver medallist Sarah Walker will all be at the track.


The Rotovegas Jumps Jam will continue the action into the twilight.


In the Whakarewarewa Forest, it's a head-to-head clash between local favourite Dirk Peters and junior world champion Anton Cooper in the Mountain Bike National Cross-Country Championships.


On Sunday, the newest form of mountain bike racing makes its Rotorua debut. The 2W Gravity Enduro will be raced over four stages on the sort of fast and undulating trails the Whakarewarewa MTB network is famous for.


Meanwhile, 2013 national downhill titles are on the line on The Taniwha in the forest.


Two-times world champion Emmeline Ragot, of France, isn't eligible for the New Zealand title, but will be racing in a field full of Kiwi and international stars.


The full schedule is on the festival website- www.rotoruabikefestival.com.

 

- Rotorua Daily Post

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