The Rotorua Mountain Bike Club First Response Unit has taken a $20,000 step towards survival. But the uphill battle is not yet over.
The unit costs $140,000 annually to run. Over the past three years, ACC has provided $252,600 of financial support which equates to 60 per cent of the $420,000 needed in that time.
This support ended in December when ACC announced it would not renew the unit's funding for this year.
A spokesperson told Rotorua Daily Post ACC had committed an additional $52,000 in short-term funding to cover the busy summer period to April 30.
"This was to allow time for RMBC to explore other funding support," the ACC spokesperson said.
The decision was a disappointing blow for what club secretary Barbara Jenks said, "has become such an essential service".
Since the announcement, the unit has made multiple funding applications and last weekend the Giant 2W Enduro event donated $20,000 to the service.
The event, regarded as the largest of its kind in the world, saw 600 riders race from the hub at Te Pūtake o Tawa for prizes, pride, and fun.
Jenks said it was a "fantastic" contribution.
"It will be put to very good use."
Jenks was there when the unit was set up in 2015, starting with gear and a borrowed vehicle.
Now the service contracts Peak Safety to deliver a first response unit that can reach emergency victims within 10 minutes and has helped an estimated 1000 riders in strife.
"Prior to this starting, there was no rescue service in the forest and if people wanted help they'd have to find their own way out or wait for an ambulance," Jenks said.
"They make a difference. They save lives. This has to be a permanent service in the forest."
Since ACC's announcement to pull the funding, Jenks has made about 20 funding applications.
"People see it as so important. So it's been easy to explain how the unit can benefit the community."
Rotorua Mountain Bike Club president Clair Coker said the money counted for a lot.
"This is the club, and mountain bike community contributing directly towards the service.
Club member Erin Eggleston said the money given to the response unit was a great way for the mountain biking community to show its support.
"These are people who are out riding regularly from all over the North Island," Eggleston said.
"They're thanking the service, and the service is there for them when they need it."
So far, three other sponsors have come forward to support the unit. Together, they've pledged about $40,000, Eggleston said. He wouldn't go into detail about the sponsors.
"We're on the verge," Eggleston said.
"But we're looking for another one or two major sponsors."