A 40-year-old man had to be airlifted to hospital after falling from a mountainbike.

The Taupo-based Youthtown Rescue Helicopter was called to the 42nd Traverse mountainbike track at Ruapehu to rescue the man who had landed on his head.

Helicopter pilot Nat Every said the man was riding as part of  a group when he fell down a bank and landed on his head.

Mr Every said night vision equipment was used and enabled the helicopter to land in a small clearing on the track.

The man was flown to Taumarunui Hospital with neck and back pain.