Queenstown legend Mark Williams is hoping to become the first local to win the Motatapu mountain bike men's title in the event's history.
"Willy" has finished inside the top 10 every year for the past five years and has been training hard for the Cape Epic race in South Africa. Recent races show he is peaking for Motatapu, Central Otago, on March 10. "With his experience on the course we are picking him for a win, especially with the Oceania Mountain Bike championships clashing with the Motatapu this year," said race director Gemma Boyle.
Williams says that while he'd like to race the Oceania Championships, he loves Motatapu, which he considers as being the same level of competition as the Oceania race.
"With some of the boys being away at the Oceania, it leaves a few podium spots," he says. "I should have a good shot at one of those podium positions."
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
He sees Brent Miller from Christchurch as his main competition. Miller finished just over a minute ahead of Williams at the event last year. As an incentive, Boyle said there was a special prize for anyone who broke the course record this year.
"With the track hard and fast this year with the dry weather we've been having, we should have a crack at the record time," says Williams.
"While it will be hard to beat Anton [Cooper's] time [1:48:43], with a hard track and favourable winds we should be in with a shot."
"The women's race looks wide open as well," said Boyle, with her pick being Kate Fluker from Dunedin, who will face stern competition from former Coast to Coast champion Emily Miazga.