It’s beautiful here in New Zealand and this first round of the EWS is going to prove interesting. It rained early in the week here in Rotarua and the tracks are all running slick. Afternoon showers are keeping them from drying out, and the exposed roots will make things even more difficult. Jared Graves has decided not to race due to an injury two weeks ago. There is a large number of Downhillers racing in this EWS round, many of whom are Kiwi’s and could have an advantage. Practice so far has been a test of who can stay on the bike, and for the pros, who can get a clean run as there are no seperate practice times. It is supposed to rain heavily on race day, but the weather here in New Zealand changes so quickly it is anyone’s guess what it will do.
Trail maps printed on cloth are one of the best ways to navigate, you never have to worry about the map wrinkling and fading.
The Opening Maori welcome ceremony was a spine tingling event.
Early Starts insure the cleanest practice runs.
Up on the open hills the there is plenty of light, but when you dive into the jungle you may find you self temporarily blind.
Eagle VS Shark is a great trail to ride, but it wont be a race stage.
The jungle is thick, and the tracks are wet, this will be a test of who ca stay upright longest.
Richie Rude will be pulling the weight of Yeti for Jared Graves this round. The young American could do well here in the wet.
Anaka Beerten weaves here way through deep jungle
Blenkensop is just one of the many strong Kiwi DH riders racing the EWS,
Voulioz findiing his way through a dark jungle on an early morning practice run.
Martin Maes is another that could do well in the wet here.
There are two Downhill track stages in this round. Kirean Bennet makes them look simple.
Stage seven is more of a huck fest than we are used to seeing in an EWS.
All Photos : Matt DeLorme