Brotherly rivalry proved prosperous in the Giant Enduro Challenger race today.

Rotorua brothers Louis and Connor Hamilton took out the first and second spots in the opening event of this year's Crankworx Rotorua.

The inaugural race had a relaxed format the main Enduro World Series race tomorrow - only a selection of the stages being used.

Louis, 22, took first place finishing in 21m 44.72s while brother Connor, 20, was second after cycling a time of 22m 07.46s.

Louis said he was surprised to beat his brother.

"I thought he would have me - he's been riding really well for the last three or four weeks," the older sibling said. "We've definitely kept the brotherly rivalry thing going - I did give him a chance today, but it didn't happen for him."

Connor said he rode with Louis and then had his head down the whole day trying to beat him for once.

"It was awesome, I had a few little mistakes here and there with a crash on Kung Fu Walrus, it's as close as I've been to him a race."

Louis said he considered entering the Giant Toa Enduro, part of the Enduro World Series, but after riding a similar six stage enduro recently, admitted it was too difficult.

"It was still a big and physical day on the bike today the toughest stage for me was probably the first one," he said.

"The weather was perfect, the tracks were awesome and the rain held off for us."

Winner of the open women category, Canadian Micayla Gatto finished in 27m 18.30s, while Rotorua's Sarah Fox was third after clocking a time of 29m 17.57s.


Gatto said it was a challenging experience.

"It was hard work - there was a lot of climbing," she said. "It's my first real enduro and I only decided last minute to test it out because the Enduro World Series is something I've been thinking about, but have been too scared to try, so this was a good intro.

"The tracks were running amazing and the conditions were perfect. I can't wait to come back next year and maybe try the full EWS [Enduro World Series] race."

The four stages the trails covered a diverse mix of New Zealand native forest with plenty of roots and some steep sections through the plantation pine forest.

And fast flow man made sections finished off the race and kept the spectators happy after they provided a touch of airtime.

Chris Ball, managing director of the Enduro World Series, said he was delighted with how the local mountain bike community embraced the new event.

"We're blown away by the enthusiasm shown for the EWS Enduro Challenger here in Rotorua and we really appreciate the support," he said.

"The trails here are world class and the local organising committee have done an exceptional job in selecting such an amazing course for our debut Challenger race."

Tomorrow the Giant Toa Enduro, the first round of the 2017 Enduro World Series and this year's curtain-raiser to the Crankworx season, starts at 7am in the Whakarewarewa Forest.

All the Giant Enduro Challenger results here:
2017 Giant Toa Enduro

Where: Whakarewarewa Forest, Rotorua.

When: Sunday, 7.00am-5pm / Awards: 6.15pm-6.30pm Eat St, Rotorua.

2017 Giant Toa Enduro course:
Stage One - Te Rua
Distance: 1.29km / Elevation drop: 262m

Stage Two - Tihi O Tawa, Billy T
Distance: 2km / Elevation drop: 176m

Stage Three - Hatu Patu, Dammit Janet
Distance: 1.67km / Elevation drop: 194m

Stage Four - Kung Fu Walrus (including extension)
Distance: 2.43km / Elevation drop: 247m

Stage Five - Frankenfurter, Riff Raff, Rocky Horror
Distance: 2.07km / Elevation drop: 334m

Stage Six - DH Mushroom line, Whaki
Distance: 1.9km / Elevation drop: 257m

Stage Seven - Corridor, Eastern Spice, Turkish, New Exit, Old Exit
Distance: 2.42km / Elevation drop: 203m