Early drizzle and a chilly southerly wind did not dampen the spirits of more than 150 hardy competitors in today’s Vertigo Bikes Super D Enduro, the first event of this year’s Queenstown Bike Festival.
After six punishing hours racing down a purpose-built track in Queenstown Bike Park with only a brief respite in the Skyline Gondola that took riders back up to the start, the men’s and women’s crowns were eventually taken by Ethan Glover from Nelson (completing 16 laps in the six hour limit) and Queenstown’s own Mary Jowett (13 laps) respectively.
Although Vertigo Huck Squad was the quickest all-male team, they included an extra rider so they could keep their workshop open. Lone Star Blokes (Fraser Gordon, Blair Christmas and Dave Fahey) scooped the official three-man team title (16 laps) with Two Goons (Mikey Northcott and Lewis Hart) the first two-man team home (also 16 laps). Dirt Town Queens (Indri Clendon, Harriet ‘Bob’ Latchem and Rosie Smith) completed 13 laps to win the women’s team crown with the mixed team title going to Greene Eggs & Lamb (Thomas Lamb and Erin Greene). No team completed more laps than Glover riding solo, making his achievement all the greater.
Final results were kept a surprise until prizegiving during the after-party at Surreal Bar. Place-getters scored qualifying points towards the New Zealand MTB Crown.
The marathon event is New Zealand’s only gondola-assisted Super D competition. The seven-kilometre trail was specially designed by local rider and bike mechanic Jarna MacKenzie and event manager Jimmy Carling.
Descending from the top of Hammy’s Track to the old Queenstown campground with a few uphill sections, the track was variously described by competitors as ‘mint’, ‘demon’ and ‘more jazz than rock ‘n roll’, none of whom had ridden it before details were unveiled yesterday apart from Jarna who competed in a mixed team.
Event manager Jimmy Carling said it was probably the best Super D track he’d ever been involved with, achieving its aim to present an equal challenge for downhillers and cross-country riders alike.
“We tried to find a balance between making the lap a good length to spread the large field and also making it technical enough to demand concentration with some pedalling to test the downhill specialists. We had a national-level field for today’s event and everything ran smooth. The Super D is now established as one of the Bike Fest’s core events,” he said.