There is a common theme developing in this year's Giant 2W Gravity Enduro series - remarkably close finishes.

In the main race, riders take on six separate stages trying to achieve the fastest accumulative time. That leaves a lot of room for variation, but so consistent and technically skilled are today's riders that the first two men's races of the series have been decided by one second or less.

In round two on Saturday it was Rotorua's Connor Johnston who prevailed, finishing in 25 minutes 7 seconds, just one second ahead of Connor McCormick and Daniel Self, who both finished in 25m 8s.

Johnston is better known for his cross-country exploits and was part of the Subway Mountain Bike National Performance Hub, Cycling New Zealand's high-performance programme, this year.


He said he was a regular participant in the enduro series as it was an opportunity to work on his downhill and technical skills in a fun environment.

"It was pretty cool [to get the win], I was a bit surprised. There were some good riders there. I just rode pretty good throughout the day and rode fairly consistently, just tried to ride each stage as good as possible," Johnston said.

"I'm normally an XC rider so I enjoy pushing myself on the downhills in this series, it's good technical training for speed."

The women's race was a little more clearcut with Auckland's Kate Weatherly taking first in 29m 41s, ahead of Jenna Makgill (29m 55s) and Frances James (31m 4s).

Similarly to Johnston, enduro is not Weatherly's go-to racing style. More accustomed to downhill racing, she rode in Europe during the year and was also crowned national downhill champion in Wanaka earlier this year.

"It was such a cool day, the weather was amazing and I was absolutely chuffed. I'm more of a downhiller, so it was cool to dabble in something a bit different and still be all right at it.

"Having done a lot of downhill training helped a lot and the tracks weren't super 'pedally' which suited me. There were a couple of lines for the six-stage that were quite technical so that suited me as well."

It was her first time racing in the series and she had a blast.


"It was really well organised, the start time was well done and it all ran smoothly. The trails were clearly labelled and it was super easy to figure out where to go.

"The whole intention was to get training in for racing downhill in Europe again next year. Over there the tracks are quite a lot longer so my intention is to do more enduro to be able to ride at that intensity over a longer period of time," she said.

Giant 2W Gravity Enduro Six Stage Results - Round Two

1st Connor Johnston 25m 7s
2nd Connor McCormick 25m 8s
3rd Daniel Self 25m 8s

1st Kate Weatherly 29m 41s
2nd Jenna Makgill 29m 55s
3rd Frances James 31m 4s