Astronauts have been using shuttles to overcome earth’s pull for years but organisers of the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro in Rotorua have taken it one step further.
The brand new mountain biking event is set to debut in Rotorua on February 17, as a key component of the inaugural ten-day Rotorua Bike Festival.
The gravity enduro format is booming overseas, with riders racing a series of timed downhill trails in a set period of time.
Now Giant 2W Gravity Enduro event director Neil Gellatly has introduced unlimited shuttle passes in the Whakarewarewa Forest on race day, with four purpose-built buses operating throughout the event for competitors.
“This has opened up a real strategic element to the race,” Gellatly, of Dare 2 Sweat Events, explained. “It also means the earlier you enter, the sooner you’re going to be in the forest on the day taking advantage of the shuttle buses.
“The strategy will also come into play with what runs you choose to do and in which order and, lastly, you’ll probably need a bit of luck as well, to hit the bottom of the runs in time for the next shuttle bus leaving.”
The other big news from the event is the confirmation of naming rights sponsor Giant Bicycles, with Giant NZ Branch Manager Rob Paul delighted to be joining the 2W family.
“Neil and his team have been a dream to work with and we are excited about the prospects of this great event over the next three years of sponsorship,” Paul said. “The entire weekend will not be one to miss, with the culmination of the cross country and downhill nationals at the same time. Alongside that will be a large range of Giant bikes and products to view and ride with our extensive demo fleet.“
Gellatly compares the race format with car rallying, with riders blasting down a series of timed downhill trails, then cruising to the top of the next stage. There are two entry options, with a short version over 3hrs comprising two special stages and a longer 5hr version with four stages.
All competitors will start and finish at Eat St in the heart of Rotorua's restaurant district, with riders rolling out in groups of five every 15secs, heading along off-road trails into the forest.
Entries have built steadily over the last month, with a large contingent already signing up from across the Tasman.
Rotorua has staged two world mountain bike championships and numerous Oceania and national events over the last decade, with the inaugural Rotorua Bike Festival aiming to build on those experiences.
The festival will open with the Cateye Moon Ride (6hr, 12hr and 24hr options) on February 8 and culminate 10 days later with the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro.