Two Commonwealth Games athletes dominated this year’s edition of the Emerson’s Whaka 100 showing a clean set of heels to arguably one of the best fields ever assembled for the Southern Hemisphere’s toughest one day mountain bike race.
In the men’s race Ben Oliver of Christchurch powered away at the halfway mark to take a solo win. Rounding out the men’s podium was defending champ Tim Rush in second and local Xterra pro Sam Osbourne in third after the two contested a thigh searing sprint finish that saw them finish within a fraction of a second of each other.
Ben’s win completed a perfect weekend for the World Cup mountain biker where he also took wins in the ABUS Fat Tyre Crit on Friday night and the Isuzu Rotorua Shootout Time Trial on Saturday to take out the inaugural Triple Crown.
“That topped off a great few days racing, this is obviously how the North Island puts on an event. It’s pretty epic to see all the people out here enjoying the event, the (event) village, and to watch everyone come is wicked.”
In the women’s elite race Wellingtonian Kate McIlroy took an emphatic win after years of racking up victories in mountain running, triathlon, and road cycling. Fellow multisporters Samantha Kingsford and Alison Wilson showed that they’re just as comfortable on single track as they are on the water taking out second and third respectively.
For Kate the Whaka 100 was a challenge that she relished:
“I’ve done the Pioneer a few times which is more four wheel drive tracks, this is way more technical than I would like and completely out of my comfort zone so I’m very very happy with how it went.”
All up over 1,800 riders turned out on the day to push their limits on some of the worlds best trails.
Kate McIlroy 05:37:43
Samantha Kingsford 05:44:11
Alison Wilson 05:57:04
Ben Oliver 04:35:59
Tim Rush 04:43:50
Sam Osbourne 04:43:50