Spoke Magazine

#southcentral – Wide Open hits Central Otago’s Southern Lakes

Posted by Caleb Smith on Tuesday March 18 2014

Every year Matt “Baggage” Whittaker from Wide Open Distributors assembles his team of riders (those that aren’t overseas competing) for a short, sharp team trip. The intended goal is a bit of a combination of just hanging out and drinking beers with his entirely South Island-based team, as well as amassing a bunch of editorial content for the web, for advertising and for Spoke.

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Conor Macfarlane, Lismore, Wanaka. Photo Caleb Smith

So in late January this year we piled into an assortment of cars and headed out for Part 2 of Wide Open’s attack on lesser known Central Otago gems. Alexandra and Naseby were our last stopping points so we chose to kick things off in Wanaka, and what better meeting place than the recently loved-up Lismore dirt jumps. Guest Wide Open rider Wyn Masters and Conor Macfarlane set to work quickly shredding the place like it was their local set.

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JK, Kelly and Conor discuss line choice at the Valley Trails compound. Photo Caleb Smith

With the rest of the boys all arrived and dirt jumping being the flavour of the evening, a quick sojourn up the Cardrona Valley to JK’s Valley Trails was in order, complete with BBQ essentials: Hellers gourmet snarlers, bread and beer. The evening wrapped up with a solid session on the technical four pack and some very happy riders.

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That epic light in the background wasn’t to be despite our early wake-up but the spot and riders delivered. Photo Caleb Smith

The following morning we tried desperately to catch some early morning light at a classic Wanaka spot we’d revitalised the night before. Typically low Wanaka cloud came into play, but for Team Wide Open, greybird skies are perfectly fine. Any fear that there would be enough speed to make the landing was quickly put to rest as mellow guinea lines saw Conor and Matt Scoles more than clear the rather long hilltop.

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Conor Macfarlane and Matt Scoles on a gem of a trail overlooking Lake Wanaka. Photo Caleb Smith

All round shredder and trip filmer Rosco took us to a bit of a secret Wanaka spot where some serious nug mining ensued. In fact the session got so heated that we had to head to the Albert Town bridge for a midday dip. Conor would have swam laps across the river all day had we not already planned to hit up the dark as hell Sticky Forest trails where a night light during the day wouldn’t go amiss.

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Matt Scoles and Conor Macfarlane get their huck on. Photo Caleb Smith

The boys shut things down as usual, using up every last bit of the non-existent light and almost all of Baggage’s phone credit with his constant calls making sure we were actually getting the goods.

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Seriously Sticky Forest , so fricken dark it’s not even funny. Matt Scoles wasn’t laughing. Photo Caleb Smith

We figured it was probably worth spending a little time at that other lake over the hill and if that was the case it would have been rude not to smash out at least one lap up on Skyline, before we hit up one of Queenstown’s most recent additions—the Coronet to Arrowtown trail, affectionately known as Corotown.

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Smashing laps in Queenstown’s Bike Park. Photo Caleb Smith

In three days the crew amassed some solid photos and video, stoked and rekindled some longtime friendships and consumed copious amounts of  CC and Dry. All that indicates that another Wide Open team trip is now successfully in the books.

You’ll be able to check out the full story in Spoke 56 due out May 5th.

Categories: Exclusives

  • Rodfather

    that last pic is a goody Caleb. But i don’t see any pics of your top columnist Rod Bardsley. Was he busy filming elsewhere?
    p.s. has DogBoy changed
    his name to Baggage by deed poll?