Rotorua athlete Sam Osborne has taken home the title for the Xterra pro-male race, making him the first athlete to be the reigning champion for the fourth consecutive time.
The triathlete took advantage of the course being on home soil, with the event held at Tikitapu (Blue Lake) on Saturday.
Osborne produced the fastest times in the 26km mountain bike and 11km trail run to finish in 1h 59m 01s, shaving four minutes and 35 seconds off his winning time in 2019.
The 2020 race was cancelled due to lockdown restrictions.
Beating Osborne out of the water by 17 seconds in the 1km swim, and close on his tail the rest of the way, was Kyle Smith with an overall time of 2h 1m 40s.
Jack Moody grasped onto third place with a time of 2h 6m 50s - both Moody and Smith finished fourth and third respectively at the Taupō Iron Man event two weeks prior.
On the female start line were 2016 winner Lizzie Orchard, reigning Xterra Pan-American Tour champion Samantha Kingsford and 2021 Xterra Wellington winner Maeve Kennedy-Birdsall.
It was Kingsford who took out first place with 2h 21m 53s cutting a whopping 17 minutes and 52 seconds off her 2019 race where she placed third.
It was Kingsford's fifth world title but her first Rotorua Festival win.
Kennedy-Birdsall was close behind with 2h 24m 21s and Orchard placing third with 2h 31m 6s.
Rain was a feature of the day but Xterra spokesman Ben Eitelberg said it only made the event better.
"Xterra is notorious for being tough and challenging so a little bit of rain is only adding to the adventure of the event.
"In the main event, a tree did fall over, but it happened before any of the athletes got to it so at the point in the mountain bike course they had to carry their bikes over it as there wasn't enough time to get people in to cut it up."
About 50 per cent of athletes were female making it a greatly balanced race, Eitelberg said. Roughly 150 athletes were from Rotorua.
"With the main race we were really fortunate to have such a talented and deep professional field and that is despite the lack of international competitors.
"It just added to that excitement and showcasing of talent in New Zealand."
Eitelberg said not one athlete crossed the finish line clean, and many could have said they slid down the track at one stage in the race.
"It was successful in the sense that it went ahead, big numbers and fantastic racing."
Race director Frank Clarke said it was a great day with trails that were awesome, as per usual.
"I think it helps when it's a cool day, you don't get many people with issues which is good.
"It was a highlight to see Sam and his partner Samantha win and it's good to see everybody come home safe and sound."
Xterra Rotorua Results:
Top 3 Pro Men:
1. Sam Osborne 1h 59m 01s
2. Kyle Smith 2h 01m 40s
3. Jack Moody 2h 06m 50s
Top 3 Pro Women:
1. Samantha Kingsford 2h21m 53s
2. Maeve Kennedy-Birsall 2h 24m 21s
3. Lizzie Orchard 2h 31m 06s