Words by Kashi Leuchs and photos by Cameron MacKenzie
After an amazing and brutal five days of racing, Stu Dickson and Raewyn Morrison have become the champions of the inaugural Yeti Trans NZ Enduro.
It has been a mammoth test for all riders, pushing all limits and challenging every sense right until the end. The riders have experienced unpredictable weather, a hugely diverse mix of trails, a punishing schedule with five to seven hours on the bike per day and super fast competition. But it seems we humans are suckers for punishment and there was a resoundingly positive mood at the finish line today.
The final day of racing saw riders return to Queenstown and this time the event was held on the Queenstown Bike Park and surrounding hills. The world renowned Queenstown Bike Park has everything from intermediate to advanced trails and has a labyrinth of options perfectly suited to enduro style events. Race organiser Megan Rose had this to say:
"Today was the most challenging day to mark out due to all the trails intercepting, so we were very happy when everyone got down all right. Many riders told me it was their favourite day. I'm just so glad it's gone so well and proud of everyone here."
Raewyn Morrison (New Zealand) completed a clean sweep with five consecutive victories to win the overall title. Amy Pryse-Phillips (Canada) came in second place and had this to say:
"I'm super stoked. It's just awesome to be on the podium here. Raewyn was just amazing and I really enjoyed riding and sharing the trails with her. I loved the whole race, but my favourite was some of the tougher days like Mount Hutt, which was so hard to ride, just slippery as and I could hardly stay on the bike. Then Coronet with its views and letting it rip in Alex. What a week!" offered Amy.
In the men's competition it was Deon Baker once again sneaking in just six seconds ahead of Stu Dickson to take the final day honours. Then Mark Dunlop proved he still has some of his old cross-country endurance to come through and take his first podium of the week.
"When we were told there would be a full minute climb in the first stage I got pretty excited and I was really aiming for a stage win," said Mark. "In the end I was second on the stage, just two seconds behind Deon, but I was happy with that. It was such a cool and fun day of racing today."
Stu Dickson retained his lead in the overall to take out the inaugural Yeti Trans NZ Enduro ahead of Zac Williams and Deon Baker. "I really was not expecting to win here, so I'm totally over the moon about it. Each day was so fun and I really loved the social side of the race too. It was a great bunch out there," raved Stu.
The Yeti Trans NZ Enduro was the first event of its kind to be held in New Zealand, however the 'Trans' format has been well established around the world and has become extremely popular way to blend gravity racing and wilderness biking adventures. After this year's success it is likely that the New Zealand event will join others such as Trans Provence and Trans Savoie as must do's for elite and amateur riders alike.
Mark Dunlop also added, "I think this event will definitely become a success. This really is the best riding and tracks in the South Island, if not New Zealand. The only thing lacking was getting the big name riders; that would be really cool to see happen in the future."
"I just can't believe how thankful everyone has been. The energy has been so overwhelmingly positive and one rider just bought me a big bunch of flowers! I am already planning for next year," shared race organiser Megan Rose.
Stage 5 Results
- Deon Baker 19:45
- Stu Dixon 19:51
- Mark Dunlop 20:07
- Zac Williams 20:12
- Chris Patton 20:58
- Raewyn Morrion 22:46
- Amy Pryse-Phillips 25:13
- Rachel Gurney 25:35
- April Bedford 27:00
- Leona Kadir 29:44
Overall Results (After all 5 days of racing)
- Stu Dixon 2:01:54
- Zac Williams 2:04:15
- Deon Baker 2:06:13
- Mark Dunlop 2:07:17
- Jeremiah Newman 2:12:56
- Raewyn Morrion 2:18:24
- Amy Pryse-Phillips 2:37:24
- Rachel Gurney 2:47:28
- April Bedford 3:05:59
- Leona Kadir 3:27:29