Oh my goodness! I think I speak for everyone that attended the first annual Dodzy Memorial Enduro that it was perhaps the single best MTB event ever. If you were thinking about entering and didn't, well you blew it.
For those that had never worked for NZ Trail Solutions and weren't too sure exactly what to expect from the trails and the event at Wairoa Gorge, our expectations were shattered. Honestly the trail network is, in my opinion, the single best in the world. Halfway down our first 30 minute descent on Saturday, I was confident it was the best trail I'd ever ridden and they just got better. Given that in my time there I rode probably only 1/4 or maybe even 1/5 of the trails, well you get the picture.
Here's the official press release from today.
"Nelson turned on an amazing weekend of weather for the first annual Dodzy Memorial Enduro Mountain Bike race, held in the Wairoa Gorge over the weekend. Mountain Bikers travelled from as far afield as the USA, UK, Jamaica and Wakefield to sample what some riders were calling the best riding of their lives. Event organiser Nick Crocker commented “That’s a big call, coming from people who have been riding bikes all around the world. I’m so stoked that everyone is having a great time.”
Saturday was spent riding the trails in guided groups allowing riders to get a feel for the challenging terrain. Today, Sunday, was Enduro race day, and with heavy hitting downhill racers Justin Leov (Trek World Racing), Cam Cole (Yeti), Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre) in attendance, many armchair pundits expected these three to sweep the podium. However it wasn’t to be, with Wairoa Gorge trail crew making good use of their local trail knowledge to take the tops spots, first place overall Dominic Stulen, second place Jamie Nicoll, third place Sam Dale.
Dominic commented “Dodzy taught me to ride when I was 13 or 14 in Rotorua, and it’s awesome to win this event in his memory.” Dominic worked on the Wairoa Gorge trail construction crew until recently moving to Canterbury to attend university. “It’s a big surprise for me to be on the top step of the podium today alongside Jamie and Sam. There’s not much opportunity to train for riding at uni, but I just kept it pinned today and hoped my old bike held together.”
Open Women’s winner and partner of the recently killed James “Dodzy” Dodds, Gabby Molloy was emotional on the podium. “I knew I had to win this today for Dodzy, I really wanted to and I was sooooo nervous sitting there waiting for the results to come in. In my last race run my helmet came loose and I had to stop a couple of times, so I didn’t expect to win, there are some amazing ladies riding this weekend, so I’m relieved and excited to win.”
This was a great first event for the Wairoa Gorge trails, and event organisers hope that next year's event will be even bigger and better!"