The first episode of Drop In New Zealand has hit YouTube. It all kicked off almost nine years ago today on the 2nd of March 2005.

I’ll do a post for each episode and talk a bit about what’s in the episode, and a bit of going on behind the scenes.

In this episode riders Shawn Denny, Darren Berrecloth and Randy Spangler land in Christchurch along with the crew Mike Johansen (ringleader), Toni Mundel (director), Ambrose Weingart (camera), Jarrett Craig (16mm camera) and Derek Frankowski (stills). The Canadians had their flights delayed after some nutjob started ranting about having chemicals on board so we kicked off a day later than expected.

This meant Randy and I had a day to kill in Christchurch so we did a bit of a tiki-tour and turned up to H-Bomb’s birthday party for some curry, beverages and dodgy riding.

Episode One combines action in Vic Park (with Scottie Sheldon) and Castle Rock on the Port Hills of Christchurch along with riding Scott’s Saddle and scree slopes off Mount Hutt. Scott’s Saddle still has to count as one of my all time favourite rides.

The last section of this episode ended up being a bit controversial. On the way up to ride Craigieburn we stopped off at Castle Hill so Shawn could go bouldering. Darren and Derek couldn’t pass up the landscape and disappeared into the crags to do a shoot. Shawn got excited by trials possibilities and busted out his bike too. One of the photos Derek took of Darren won Bike Magazine Photo of the Year – check it out here in Derek’s photo gallery (3rd down, 3rd across).

Bikes being a no-no at Castle Hill, the show understandably got some flack for the footage. All I can really say is “sorry” to those who got upset; it was supposed to be a rock climbing segment.

A bit about the vehicles—we had two campervans as part of a sponsorship deal with Maui and my ex-Hearse. The Hearse was towing a massive box trailer that was especially (over)built for the trip out of steel and wood. It was so heavy duty I needed to buy stronger tyres on the first day to keep the weight from warping the sidewalls.

The Hearse kept on overheating over the first couple of weeks as the radiator was on its last legs. Which was pretty frustrating after spending wedges of dosh getting it ready for the trip and having my mechanics swear the radiator was good.

We’ve only just begun.

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