Champion Keen for Karapoti
Champion Keen for Karapoti
Defending champion Kim Hurst was among the first riders to sign up for Wellington’s prestigious Scott Karapoti Classic, and she’s keen to encourage other women to get on their bikes too.
Kim Hurst created Karapoti history last year when she became the first Upper Hutt resident to win their own race. She became the fourth fastest female in the history of New Zealand’s premier mountain bike event and was also the fourth person to sign up for the 2014 race on March 1st.
Originally from Wales, the former British junior rep only got back to serious mountain bike racing when she moved to New Zealand five years ago. Her first race was a back of the pack finish at the 2011 Karapoti Classic, followed by an age group win in 2012, then runner up in the feature pro/elite category in 2012. But in 2013 she surprised even herself to beat London Olympian Karen Hanlen.
Hurst enjoyed her best ever year in 2013, winning the Karapoti Classic, finishing second in Canada's BC Bike Race and the 24hr mountain bike world champs in Australia, and then winning the 200 mile world road title in Taupo in November. But her main focus is on retaining her Karapoti title.
Organisers hope to see another match-up between Hanlen, Hurst and three-time winner Fiona Macdermid for the 2014 Scott Karapoti Classic. But Hurst, who mixes endurance riding with her full-time career as a doctor, is also keen to foster more female participation.
For the 2014 Scott Karapoti Classic, Hurst is sponsoring a prize draw where five lucky women will get their entry refunded. To be in the draw women must enter the 2014 Scott Karapoti Classic prior to February 1st, and can enter the 50k Classic or 20k Challenge.
“There are certain events that really grip you and inspire you to get the best out of yourself and my very first Karapoti certainly did that for me,” says Hurst.
“As the defending women's champion, I'd love to encourage more women to take on the challenge – either setting a goal to ride a bit faster than you did last year, or taking on one of the great Karapoti events for the first time.”
Indeed, first and foremost the Scott Karapoti Classic is a people's race catering for all age, ability, gender and walks of life. As well as the feature 50k Classic, the 20k Challenge and 5k Kids’ Klassic provide an intro to the Karapoti culture for off road rookies, supporters, kids and active families.
Karapoti’s history and stature as the Southern Hemisphere’s longest running mountain bike event combines with a scenic and challenging tour around the Akatarawa Ranges to create a unique atmosphere that has become mountain biking’s unofficial annual gathering.
The feature 50k is an uncompromising, some say cruel, 50km of wall to wall wilderness. Amongst a mix of 4WD trails, single track, river crossings and bogs, key elements such as "The Rock Garden," "Devil's Staircase," and "Big Ring Boulevard," are spoken in hushed tones of nervous anticipation and misty, sometimes bloody, memories.
Fittingly the Life Flight air ambulance service is the official charity partner.
Limited to 1000 riders, the Scott Karapoti Classic is always held on the first Saturday in March and often sells out by February.
Kim Hurst says women should enter soon to make sure they have a chance to win their entry fee back.
“Right now we have around 300 entries,” says race organiser Michael Jacques. Visit www.karapoti.co.nz for information and online entry.