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NZ’s mountain biking elite dominate Speight's race

NZ’s mountain biking elite dominate Speight's Summit Mountain bike race

New Zealand’s best mountain bikers dominated the Speight's Summit Mountain bike race at the 10th annual Motatapu Off-Road Adventure Race held in Wanaka and Queenstown today (March 8 2014).

In the women’s elite open category, course record holder and local Queenstown favourite Kate Fluker took first place once again with a time of 2hr 8min 31sec to beat her own course record by just under a minute.

The current New Zealand mountain bike champion said she was “absolutely stuffed” but “feeling good”.

“The course was great but it was pretty hot through the middle there and going through the mud was really heavy and slow, but hey that’s the same for everyone.
“Motatapu was my very first race and I love it; it’s just such a great race. I’ve been back for the last four years and it helps me remember my roots I suppose,” she said.

“I’m a local girl too so it’s pretty easy to fit into my schedule and I never get tired of the amazing scenery.”

Fluker was 22 minutes ahead of second place female Haley van Leeuwen from Dunedin who competed in the Elite Master category (30-39) and came in at 2:30:13.

“I’m feeling much more human than I did this time last year,” said van Leeuwen.
“As usual the course was tough but the river crossings were better than last year,” she said.

Seventeen-year-old NZXC young gun Amber Johnston from Rotorua won the Elite Junior category with a time of 2:34:12.

First over the line for the men was Olympian Peter Burling with a time of 1hr 28min 56sec in the recreational category, followed by Kris Ingle 1:41:56 and Rick Armstrong 1:42:21 also in the recreational categories.

It was a closely contested race in the men’s elite category with last year’s winner and course record holder Dirk Peters working hard riding neck and neck with Elite Junior winner Sam Gaze.

Peters said the pair kept a steady pace together until the Summit when he said he “just felt a bit tired and let Sam pass”.

“I enjoyed it though and yeah I’m disappointed I didn’t win or break my course record but it was great out there. Weather was awesome and I’ll certainly be back next year,” he said.

Peters came in at 1 hour 52 minutes 11 seconds as the first Elite Open Male.
Young Cambridge biker Sam Gaze took out first place in the Junior Elite category beating course record holder and last year’s winner Dirk Peters.
The current national under 23, and Oceania under 19 champion, was competing in the Motatapu for the first time.

“I found the course super fun, so enjoyable. It was awesome,” he said.

“I worked together with Dirk. He was doing more work than me and we rode into the last 14km together before I found my own tempo, though I left it a bit late to get the course record,” said Gaze.

“We both had some sketchy moments and it was very hairy watching Dirk go around some of the corners.”

This year’s bike event sold out in record time and attracted a number of elite and professional athletes including the NZXC Mountain Biking team and Olympians.
Sarah Ulmer, Hamish Carter, Nathan Cohen and Mahe Drysdale also competed in the 47km race which takes in fantastic scenery throughout the Motatapu Station and surrounding valleys.

People came from across the globe to compete and this year’s event attracted people from Australia, Ethiopia, Canada, Austria, USA, Finland, Ireland, UK, French Polynesia, Denmark, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Japan, Philippines, Latvia, Singapore, Switzerland and Sweden.

ENDS

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