Mountain skills, fitness and tactics will be put to the test during the first round of the Rotorua Giant 2W Gravity Enduro Series this weekend.
Riders are given a map and once inside the forest they can select their own route to complete either four or six special "race stages" in any order. Each stage has electronically timed runs on a specific marked linked trail. The winner is the rider with the quickest time accumulated on the timed stages.
There is a maximum time allowed for each race and riders who return outside of that time limit are penalised.
The event was founded by Neil Gellatly and earlier this year was purchased by Heather Logie and Shane Spicer, of HeroDirt Limited, who decided to gift the event to the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club.
The club has teamed up with the Crankworx Rotorua Management Team MDA Experiences, MTB Rotorua and Nduro Events to run this year's series. Profits from the event will be channelled back to riders and trails. The current club activities of Rotorua Mountain Bike Club First Response Unit, Rotorua Mountain Bike Club Rider Development Programme, events and donations to the Rotorua Trails Trust will all get a significant boost in funding from the series.
Race manager Tim Farmer, of Nduro Events, said this weekend's race was about 30 entries short of its 500 rider capacity, which was on par with previous years.
Enduro races attract a wide range of riders including cross-country machines, enduro enthusiasts, downhill riders and the weekend warriors.
"Having the four stage race gives people who may not have the fitness or the handling skills an opportunity to have a go, without feeling like they have to be in an elite race.
"You definitely get a mixture, there's an E-bike category as well. It's probably about a quarter local - the rest are from out of town and there's a couple of overseas riders as well."
Event director Ariki Tibble said the events was always popular and attracted some of the best riders.
"We've always got top class riders, we had [Enduro World Series riders] Wyn Masters and Sam Shaw enter just yesterday. There's always a contingent of world class riders - there's prizes up for grabs and the quality of our trails and our team, I think, makes it pretty attractive.
"No event goes without its bumps along the way, but it's all going pretty smoothly. We're pulling in a lot of our Crankworx team, so it's an opportunity to work with them again and sort of dovetail into what's happening with Crankworx next year.
"The operations on the day are being led by Tim and his team at Nduro Events. It's great to have the polish and expertise they bring to make it a top quality event," Tibble said.
Rotorua Giant 2W Gravity Enduro Series
Race 1: October 27, 2018
Race 2: December 8, 2018
Race 3: February 9, 2019
Four Stage Shuttled
Four Stage Non-shuttled
Four Stage Non-shuttled e-bike
Six Stage Shuttled
Six Stage Non-shuttled
More information at www.enduronz.com