New Zealand will have an even greater contingent of Kiwi mountain bikers on the world stage in next year’s Giant Toa Enduro Rotorua, with the announcement of extra wildcard entries.

Altogether 34 of the very best Enduro riders from New Zealand are now guaranteed a spot to represent the nation, thanks to an increase in the number of entries awarded by Enduro World Series (EWS).

“It’s important to have a strong New Zealand presence in this race as it’s a sport we want to grow. These wildcard entries will help to propel local riders onto the world circuit, which will be huge for New Zealand mountain biking,” says Neil Gellatly, race manager.

To be held on March 28, 2015, the Giant Toa Enduro Rotorua is round one of the EWS season as part of Crankworx Rotorua and will mark the start of the professional mountain bike racing calendar.

According to Gellatly, 15 Kiwi elite racer place holdings were announced in November, and five additional wildcards were expected, but the EWS increased it to 10 to accommodate intense interest.

A panel assisted in rider selection for the remaining spots, which were awarded based on overall event performance, with results at high-profile events among competitive fields receiving higher recognition.

Two of the initial 15 riders were unable to accept their invitation, leaving two extra spots up for grabs. The 12 final wildcards for the 2015 Crankworx Rotorua Enduro are: Sam Shaw (Rotorua), Sam Blenkinsop (Christchurch), Wyn Masters (New Plymouth), Cameron Cole (Christchurch), Reon Boe (Queenstown), Matt Scoles (Alexandra), Tom Skillicorn (Queenstown), Carl Jones (Rotorua), Lisa Horlor (Rotorua), Annika Smail (Rotorua), Leighton Kirk (Dunedin) and Ethan Glover (Nelson).

Wildcard entrant Lisa Horlor says it’s great that more top Kiwi riders get an opportunity to be involved and she is proud to be on the list.

“Getting a wildcard entry is also a fantastic training motivator. There are some really good girls out there and tough competition – it drives me to be the best I can be,” says Horlor.

Enduro is the fastest growing competitive mountain biking discipline in the world, so the limited 400 spots are expected to be in demand.

Between 200 and 250 spots will become available to the public at 9 a.m. New Zealand time on Thursday, January 22, with an entry fee of 85 Euro (approx. NZ$135).

The Enduro World Series uncovers the world’s best trails and unites the world’s best mountain biking communities. In 2015, it is increasing to eight rounds with five new venues and three new countries. The rounds of EWS will visit (in order): New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, France, America, Canada, Spain, and Italy.

Wildcards – Round Two announcement

1.     Sam Shaw                  Rotorua
2.     Sam Blenkinsop          Christchurch
3.     Wyn Masters               New Plymouth
4.     Cameron Cole             Christchurch
5.     Reon Boe                    Queenstown
6.     Matt Scoles                 Alexandra
7.     Tom Skillicorn              Queenstown
8.     Carl Jones                   Rotorua
9.     Lisa Horlor                   Rotorua
10.  Annika Smail                Rotorua
11.  Leighton Kirk                Dunedin
12.  Ethan Glover                Nelson

NZ MTB Crown Wildcards

1.     Matt Walker                 Kawerau
2.     Byron Scott                 Auckland
3.     Connor Macfarlane     Queenstown
4.     Hayden Lee                Tauranga
5.     Ed Kerly                      Nelson
6.     Karl Paterson              Palmerston North
7.     Reuben Miller              Nelson
8.     Jimmy Pollard             Queenstown
9.     Ben Robson                Rotorua
10.  Tom Lamb                    Queenstown
11.  Raewyn Morrison         Nelson
12.  Anja McDonald            Dunedin
13.  Sasha Smith                Wellington

EWS ranked Kiwi riders

1.     Justin Leov                  Blenheim
2.     Jamie Nicoll                 Nelson
3.     Joseph Nation             Christchurch
4.     James Hampton          Christchurch
5.     Kurt Lancaster             Nelson
6.     Rosara Joseph            Wellington
7.     Meg Bichard                Nelson
8.     Gabby Molloy              Rotorua
9.     Anka Martin                 Nelson

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