Tussock Buster, the biggest participant motorsport event in Australasia, is gearing up for another huge turnout.
The trail bike ride will be held at the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) training ground at Waiouru on March 23-25. It is run by the Offlimits Trust which supports NZDF personnel, education and sports individuals and teams. This financial year the trust has assisted people or other trusts to the tune of $108,000.
Operations manager Warrick Funnell, of Whanganui, said 894 riders had completed online registrations, which closed on March 14, and more entries would be received on the day, with a record attendance anticipated.
Last year the event had 800 riders registered online and 1400 in total after registrations on the day.
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"Running such an extensive and comprehensive event like Tussock Buster takes months of preparation and around 70 volunteers, a helicopter and four registered paramedics to cover the Tussock Buster part of the 63,000ha that make up the Waiouru training area and to actually man and run the event," Mr Funnell said.
"There are six trails and just on 300km of tussock excitement that make up Tussock Buster."
Offlimits is an audited provider of adventure tourism. In addition to motorcycle events, it also runs mountain bike, horse trek, 4x4 and quad bike (side by side) events. The trust was officially formed in 2012 but started life as "The Linton Multi Sport Club" 12 years ago.
"Its original goals were to raise funds for the activities of the Linton Multi Sport Club," Mr Funnell said.
"In its infancy it ran motorcycle trail bike rides in the Santoft Forest. Twelve years ago it ran its first trail bike ride at Waiouru. That first year we had just 40 riders. The next year 70; for the last three years to date we have had just under 1500 participants each year.
"Offlimits is extremely fortunate to have permission from NZDF to run events on its unique training area in the Central North Island. The trust is grateful that it can share some of the unique beauty of this area with other New Zealanders."
The first 50 riders will start at 1pm on Fridayand the last riders will finish at 3pm on Sunday. The event caters for all levels of competency, from children and novices to expert riders.