Like the rest of the country, Nelson was suffering an extremely dry summer and Wairoa Gorge which normally attracts its fair share of rain was exceptionally dry. Spirits though were high as riders from all over the country descended onto this garden of paradise. But in true Dodzy fashion the heavens opened and Thursday night saw torrential rain and near freezing temperatures, but all this managed to do was turn the dust-blown trails into a biker's nirvana. Yes, they were perfect conditions that greeted the Dodzy Memorial Enduro entrants as they tumbled out of their cars and rolled across the swing bridge into the waiting transport for the excitement of the first run down the trail of your choice, and boy are there so many incredible trails to savour here.
You could put all riders here into two categories: those who were here to race and those who just wanted to enjoy some of the finest trails this planet has to offer. After some consternation from last year over tough trails that were frightening in the wet (which Dodzy himself would have loved!), Brendon Morton and the gorge trail crew chose a great selection of trails that offered everything from super tight, technical and steep rooty loam to high speed pumping drifty rocky runs with drops and gaps everywhere. Throw into that a few ladders, bridges, stream crossings and almost no uphill at all and everyone was pumped and grinning from ear to ear. There was however still fear aplenty as consequences were high if you missed your line or clipped a pedal. But apart from a few minor scrapes there was only one damaged shoulder and hardly any battered egos.
At the pointy end of things the pro-elite field was tight and the waiting crowd was wowed with Blenki chasing down Justin Leov on the final zigzag to the finish. Rosara Joseph once again showed the International Enduro scene that they dropped the ball and let her slip out of international racing and into retirement way too early.
The whole event ran perfectly and was a huge credit to all those involved, the countless volunteers, Scottish Dave and the cooks, the sponsors and Nick Crocker for somehow not getting fazed during the entire weekend. Let's keep our fingers crossed that nothing ever gets in the way of the DME continuing for many years to come and the chance to remember James "Dodzy" Dodds and his legacy in a place that we know he loved to ride!
Full masters men's results here.
For a full list of results you can head here.