Downhill course a challenge

By Zac Yates


They ranged in occupation from doctors to aircraft engineers, and the oldest was a 68 year-old heart transplant survivor. But they all enjoyed the competition in yesterday's Masters Games downhill mountain bike race.

Twenty riders from around the North Island took part in the event, each having two runs on the Hylton Park track.

A handful of riders were unable to make their second run due to problems with their bike or coming off along the way, and one barely even finished his first run after failing to make a jump just seconds short of the finish line. He only suffered minor grazes and was able to walk away.

Timekeeper and co-ordinator Jean Craddock said numbers were well down on previous Masters Games, with 61 mountain bike entries compared to more than 100 at the 2011 games. Especially noticeable was the lack of female entrants.

"It's at the stage were I could just walk the course and I'd win something," she said.

Another woman rider present was heard to remark she would compete in two years' time, but yesterday it was up to her boyfriend to ride her somewhat customised bike in the event.

"It's a lot different to my current bike. She works in a bike shop which means she gets to pick the best ones.

"This one has these plastic sunflowers all over it which, of course, make it go faster," he said.

Rotorua rider Peter Calnan had the fastest time of 1:37.85, winning the gold medal.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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