In the first two rounds of the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro Series, one name has dominated the women's division.
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At just 15, Rotorua's Jenna Hastings has shown maturity and ability beyond her years to win the first two races and has her eyes set firmly on the top step in race three tomorrow. The John Paul College student will have her work cut out for her as race three, being held at the Waipa Mountain Bike Park, has Enduro World Series qualifying points on offer.
She puts her success in the series, run by the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club, so far on a more relaxed approach to her riding.
"I'm hoping to get another overall win. I've been not stressing about it too much and trying to ride smooth but fast. I'm not trying to go fast because I know if I concentrate on being smooth the speed will come whereas if I try to be fast and sprint everywhere it often doesn't work for me.
"I definitely enjoy it more too because I'm not worrying about losing my energy sprinting."
The Hastings family are synonymous with BMX in Rotorua and it was on the track that Jenna first honed her skills on two wheels. She won national BMX titles in the 8-year-old girls and 14-year-old girls' divisions and in 2013 she finished third in the 8-year-old girls' at the World Championships.
Those experiences laid the foundations for what is quickly becoming an impressive mountain bike career.
"I started BMXing when I was 7 and then three or four years ago I transitioned into mountain biking more. It kind of just caught my attention a bit more. I've been doing a lot of downhill biking lately because I quite enjoy that and I did a bit of XC but I've lost interest in those a little bit."
"The BMX definitely helped and I still go to the track and ride my jump bike a little bit because the skills carry over so well into mountain biking."
Shortly after this weekend's race she will be in action again, with a full schedule of racing planned at Crankworx Rotorua which starts on March 1.
"I'm doing everything and I managed to score a wild card entry into the Pump Track race so I'm looking to try to make the live event for that - that should be pretty cool."
Giant 2W Gravity Enduro event director Craig Murray said this year's series had been the most popular yet.
"We've always got a pretty talented crew of riders and this third race creates an opportunity for both local and international riders to get global ranking points so they can potentially ride in the EWS series."
While Hastings has dominated the women's races so far, another local rider Sam Shaw is unbeaten in the men's. However, Murray said it was hard to pick a winner this weekend.
"It could be anyone's race. It's looking like it will be really good conditions because there's a couple of days of rain which will get that dust away and create perfect conditions to ride on. There's a lot of riders who could take the win on Saturday in both the men and women.
"Sometimes it does come down to milliseconds but Jenna has been pretty dominant this year. If it's the same riders who have been in the last few races they will have to really up their game to try to catch her."
How to Enduro Episode 3 - Power & Braking
#howtoenduro - ever thought about how to carry speed out of corners on fast flowy trails? Do you know how much water you need during a Giant 2W? How about when to brake into corners ?🤔 No stress, we are here to help and hopefully increase your skill level to attack those faster lines at the next 2W, or just when you are riding with your crew. The Giant 2W Gravity Enduro 2019-20 Season Race 3 is only a few days away 🤟🤟🤟 here are some tips to bring your times down.... With the support from Giant Bicycles New Zealand and Out House check out episode 3 of our #howdtoenduro video series to help shred this seasons 2W with more flow and speed. Local Shredder Janine Kav has broken down cornering, safety and hydration to help you go that little bit faster with more confidence in the upcoming 🚵♂️. #mountainbiking #enduro #rotoruanz #enduroworldseries Rotorua Mountain Bike Club Harris Tate Lawyers Goodyear Tyres NZ SMITH NZ POCSports SPOKE magazine Mountain Bike Rotorua CamelBakMotomuck Leatt Protectives ADU Industries Secret Spot Hot Tubs NDuro Events RockShox Wide Open Distributors POCSportsPosted by Giant 2W Gravity Enduro on Friday, 14 February 2020
While the series caters for top level riders, one of its core objectives is to encourage participation. The trails used for each race get gradually more difficult and organisers have been posting 'How to Enduro' videos with local rider Janine Kavanagh on the event's Facebook page. There are also four-stage and shuttled options as well as the six-stage.
During prizegiving on Saturday, the $10,000 Mark Dunlop Memorial Scholarship will be awarded.
Before last year's series began, event owners Heather Logie and Shane Spicer, of HeroDirt Limited, decided to gift the event to the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club. As a condition, HeroDirt specified that the club establish the Mark Dunlop Memorial Scholarship to be awarded each year to a rider to support their international racing dreams. Dunlop, a bright light in the enduro riding community, committed suicide in 2016 at the age of 31.