So I've attempted to do this race once, and now with the 2010 event in the bag I've piked on it once as well. Even though it was a few weeks ago now, I'm still regretting not going...next year for sure. I mean honestly, the Triple Crown is as close to a real all-mountain event New Zealand currently has; all it needs now is timed climbs and we will have ourselves our own Downieville, except this one has a limit of 50 people. Bryon Scott won the men's and Alice Kevern won the women's. Race organiser (and 3rd place finisher ) Stefan Bennett's race report and a bunch of photos below.
Well, who would win this year's Triple Crown was as up in the air as the weather forecast (which like the previous two days was for thunderstorms and heavy rain). Without last year's winner Nick Lambert and with a top class field consisting of pro elite downhillers, the reigning New Zealand Singlespeed Champ, some very sharp all-rounders and a couple of XC whippets, any one of a dozen riders could have taken the crown this year.
The first casualty of the slippery conditions was Tom Adams (the number 1 seed); three minutes into the first run and a spectacular crash resulted in a broken arm. Thankfully other than some broken ribs and general bruises, they were the only injuries of the day. There were the two competitors who were chased (and whipped) by horse riders, which didn’t do horsey /MTB relations any good, but that’s another story.
It turned out to be the day of the downhillers, with out-of-towner Byron Scott taking the men's crown from locals Des Curry and Stefan Bennett. Only 11 seconds separated the top three riders after 24 minutes of racing. Of special note has to be Garth Weinberg taking 5th place in the slippery conditions on his late 90s Gary Fisher hardtail with V brakes. Alice Kevern retained her crown, narrowly beating fellow local Simone McGreggor. In the Juniors, Sam West took the win for Rotorua.
A big thanks to the starters and the timers for their help, and a big thanks to whoever or whatever determines the weather–it would have been pretty miserable had it rained all day. I doubt that even the hot chips at the finish line would have compensated for rain.
Also a big thanks to Southstar shuttles, Agroventures, Okere Falls Store, Bike Culture, Spoke, Kaituna Kayaks, Mtb skills clinics and Offroad NZ for their generous support with prizes.