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If you’re a mountain biker it’s a good time to be living in the Hawkes Bay! Two months ago we featured a story on the opening of a new trail called Mint, you can read that story here. Now we have another fresh new trail video – Grand Traverse.

As a part of the trail development of the “Mill Block” forest, the Hawkes Bay Mountain Bike Club contracted Southstar Trails to design and construct both of these landmark trails. MTB Access to the Panpac forest requires a three-week permit or annual membership, available from the club website here. The annual memberships run from 1st July to 30th June, so now is a good time to get one and sample these sweet new trails.

Ross Mepham from the Hawkes Bay MTB Club had this to say: “With Mint we wanted a flowy bermy trail with small jumps that would excite all the pilots out there. With Grand Traverse we selected a narrower trail tread design from Southstar’s trail menu, that would be more in keeping with the historically hand built singletracks we have at the Eskdale park. Grand Traverse is specified to be a long traversing top to bottom trail, minimal switchbacks, and making the most of the elevation we have. I think the trail designer Jeff Carter and the construction team Casey King and Emil de Vries from Southstar Trails have nailed this spec, there’s only a couple of short climbs around old slip-faces in the hillside, in general the trail consistently descends from the ridgeline to the valley. The feedback we are getting from locals and visitors with these new trails is incredible, the weekend after the Mint video was released the car-park was packed with riders!”

While this clip was being filmed on sunny Sunday afternoon, it was inspiring to see the steady stream of riders coming past, a few were even lapping it out, climbing back up the road and hitting Grand Traverse again and again.

One of the cool trail features on Grand Traverse is the technical rock sections. While Casey was constructing the trail with the digger he saved as many of the big rocks as he could and then Emil used them to create trail features – shaping rock rollers, bump jumps and armoured transitions. This has added a technical skills dimension to an otherwise dirt based trail. The fourth rider in the video wearing the orange helmet is local Glenn Richards, the Hawkes Bay based instructor for MTB Skills Clinics. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in people booking clinics, riders want to develop their balance and technical skills to get the most out of these two new trails.”

Funding for these HBMTC trail developments has been provided via grants from the New Zealand Community Trust and the Southern Trust. It’s awesome that these trusts are consistently backing MTB clubs around New Zealand to develop their trail networks. This funding is enabling a new generation of riders to get outdoors and enjoy the thrill of mountain biking. Combining the new trails Mint and Grand Traverse with existing classics like Mr Whippy, Tinker and Stingray makes for a compelling reason to visit the Hawkes Bay. When are you going?

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