A filial connection, medical ailments and ribald humour are just a few of the things that bond brothers-in-law Barry Hennessey and Chris Donkin.

Another is their shared passion for cycling - but this is where their preferences diverge. When considering a two-person team for the Motu 160 Cycle Challenge - a 65km mountainbike leg and 90km road bike section - the two had no need to toss a coin. Barry made his preference for the mountainbike clear, while Chris said, "bugger that, it's too bumpy" and gladly opted for the road leg despite a stiff climb to 750m over Traffords Hill.

The Motu 160 was introduced as a sister event to the Motu Challenge in 2008 and has rocketed to prominence, with riders coming from all over New Zealand to participate.

Stage one competitors join the multisporters on a tough but not technical 65km mountainbike along the Old Motu Coach Road, one of New Zealand's top mountainbiking trails.


The stage two road bike begins at Motu Village, continues on to Matawai and follows State Highway 2 back to Opotiki, negotiating the big climb and fast descent over Traffords Hill. The Waioeka Gorge delivers dramatic scenery with an unexpected twist - Motu 160 cyclists will peddle alongside multisporters completing the kayak leg on the spectacular Waioeka River.

Real estate agent and volunteer firefighter Hennessey recently had surgery to remove skin cancer from his head, and Donkin is a type 2 diabetes sufferer, yet both men are pragmatic about their pre-event training. Hennessey believes a messy house and section are a sure barometer of the length of time spent training, and Donkin quips: "My wife enjoys me being out of the house."

New for 2015, a four-person schools category allows for each stage to be split in half, and race director Marty Madsen hopes the shorter distances will attract younger competitors.

"The distances in this category are much more achievable - secondary school youngsters are capable of riding these distances," he said.

Motu 160


160km mountainbike and road bike


Saturday, October 10



Opotiki, Bay of Plenty

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