A matching set of Enduro World Champions will be in Rotorua for the Bike Festival in February. Tracy Moseley from the United Kingdom won the Enduro World Series in 2014 after a season long battle with another mountain biking legend, Anne Caroline Chausson of France.
Moseley will arrive in Rotorua during the Festival and Men’s Enduro World Champion, Australia’s Jared Graves, is hoping to join her. “I first visited New Zealand in 2000 after I finished university, just before I started my career in downhill racing,” she said, from the north of England, where she’s spent Christmas and New Year “visiting family, surviving the grim weather and riding bikes.”
She has fond memories of her visits to New Zealand. “I love your country, the landscape, the way of life and have some great friends there, so I’m excited to have an excuse to come back and visit,” she continued. “The UCI 2006 Mountain Bike Worlds in Rotorua was a good one for me, but it was the start of a run of 2nd places at World Downhill Champs, so it’s nice to come back having finally got those rainbow stripes, after winning in 2010 in Canada.”
In late March, she’ll begin the defense of her Enduro world title at Giant Toa Enduro, the first round of the third annual Enduro World Series in Rotorua. “Winning in 2014 was a huge relief, an amazing sense of satisfaction and a big goal achieved,” she said. She’ll be looking for a three-peat after winning the inaugural EWS in 2013.
While she is best known for downhill racing, she also raced cross-country and sees multi-stage Enduros as a perfect combination of mountain racing disciplines. “You need the skills and technical ability of downhill, just not to such a high level, and the fitness and ability to suffer like in cross-country, but, again, not at that level, too,” she added. “For me, it’s a great mix of those two disciplines and having experienced both helps a lot.”
She loves the Enduro format. “It’s just a competitive form of the mountain bike riding I’ve been doing for fun for the last 20 years,” Tracy continued. “I think that’s why many riders of my generation are getting into Enduro – it’s just going back to how things were when we first started racing downhill on cross-country bikes.”
She’s also a fan of the Rotorua trails. “The Whakarewarewa Forest has always been one of my favourite places to ride and I’m excited to see how the trails have developed,” she said. She’s also looking forward to catching up with friends all over New Zealand, like Rotorua’s Alden Ardern (who designed the course for the 2006 World Championships downhill) and his wife, Wendy. “We’ll pay them a visit in February and I am also looking forward to catching up with Vanessa Quin [2004 Downhill World Champion] who I‘ve not seen in ages,” she added. “It’ll also be nice to visit my Trek teammate Justin Leov in his hometown, too.”
Moseley will ride for Trek Factory Racing again in 2015. “It’s my 7th year with them,” she continued. “It’s a pretty low key set up at the moment, but we have great riders, with Justin and Rene Wildhaber, and some great team support with my partner, James [Richards], working with Ray Waxham from Trek doing the mechanics, so its a fun team to be in.”
She’ll get a good preview of the Rotorua trails by racing the 2W Gravity Enduro on the last weekend of the Bike Festival.
“Then we’ll have some time in the South Island, race the NZ Enduro, in Marlborough, in March and then back up to Rotorua for the round one of the Enduro World Series,” she said. “I can’t wait for great riding and some sunshine.”
2015 Rotorua Bike Festival www.rotoruabikefestival.com
Words: Graeme Simpson