GEOFF HUNT + SKYLINE GONDOLA = BEN LOMOND DOWNHILL RACE

Expert mountain bikers will debut a challenging world class downhill track in the Ben Lomond forest above Queenstown, and raise the profile of mountain biking in the resort, in a new three day event to be staged at Easter 2011. The Ben Lomond downhill is the brainchild of Southern Traverse guru Geoff Hunt who considers there is a strong demand for an event at this level in Queenstown.

“The track is still to be defined but there is huge potential in the forest and with the support of Skyline Queenstown who will provide access for the event I believe we have a great formula. The local mountain bike fraternity spends considerable time in this area riding the already formed tracks established by the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club and bikers are upbeat about the opportunity for a real adrenalin rush that the new event offers.” The technically demanding course which will start at the top of Skyline Queenstown will be about 3km long finishing in Brecon Street where there will be a full on party atmosphere.

“There will be a lot of input into the development of the course from internationally renowned bikers and from local Queenstown experts and it certainly won’t be for the fainthearted,” says Hunt.

Qualifying rounds will be held on Friday April 22 and Saturday April 23. The final is scheduled for Easter Sunday April 24. The final will be limited to the top 100 competitors and with good prize money on offer is expected to attract competitors from all over the country as well as local hotshots.

“Queenstown is recognised as a world class destination for mountain biking and its reputation will undoubtedly continue to grow just as Whistler in Canada has done,” says Hunt. “This new downhill event which will become an annual Easter fixture can only help reinforce Queenstown’s international mountain biking status.”

Skyline Queenstown’s Mountain Biking project Co-ordinator Brad Rowe says the company is excited to be linked with the Ben Lomond Downhill. “It will be fantastic to see an event like this with top level riders racing through the Ben Lomond forest during Easter. Having already witnessed the likes of Justin Leov here in action this really is an exciting time to be a mountain biker in Queenstown."