Wild and Windy in Whites Bay: Day one NZ Enduro.
This morning saw one hundred and fourty racers from ten countries descend upon the quiet cove campsite of Whites Bay. Whites bay is situated at the head of the beautiful Marlborough sounds, known for its seafood, wine and tourism. With day one being a shorter day the riders had time to enjoy a complimentary flat white and a few yarns. After a safety briefing the riders were able to liaise up Black Jack track, which Department of Conservation, kindly opened to riders specially for this race.
Todays racing was only 18 kilometres yet still packed 1150m of climbing and descending in the two vastly different stages. Stage one was about 15 minutes long and was a quick wake up call, or shall we say an introduction to slippery New Zealand beach forest riding. We have had some unsettled weather here in New Zealand recently, so it was no surprise that that the roots were treacherous. Just when the riders conquered the slippery slopes of Mt Robertson they had to face a long three pitch climb before the finish, a long testing stage indeed.
In Pro Women’s, Nelsons newest ER doctor, Harriet Harper took stage one win over recent Trans NZ winner, Emily Slaco In Pro Women’s. In the Pro Mens, last years second place finisher, Joe Nation took stage honours, followed closely by Keegan Wright and Jerome Clementz.
Stage two, Double Eagle was a shorter but much steeper track. Thanks to the money raised by the NZ enduro last year it has had a nice face lift by Cam Bisset from DNE track and Trail. Some brand new blind sections were waiting to challenge riders. With a clay base surface, riders had to plan their braking carefully, it was one of those short stages you could loose more seconds than gain. There was a little shuffle in the Pro Mens with Keegan Wright narrowly taking the win over Jerome Clementz with Nation in third leaving which means we leave Whites Bay with Keegan leading, Nation in second and Clementz in third. In the womens, despite Slaco taking the win on the second stage Harriet retains the lead with Uriell Carlson from the USA in third.
After the racing, riders coasted down to the the beach side event village where a BBQ and some cold locally brewed Moa beers were enjoyed by all.
Tomorrow sees them tackle the longest day in the race, they can expect four extremely challenging stages peppered with cliff side exposure, river crossings, Jurassic park forests and green mossy south facing rocks, check back tomorrow.
Photos: Duncan Philpott, Boris Beyer, Digby Shaw, Sven Martin
Some Facts and Info:
New Zealand’s wildest multi day enduro stage race. Natural single-track in native forests on the magical Marlborough Sounds with helicopter shuttles. Sweet As!
When: 9-11 March 20178
Where: The top of the South Island, New Zealand in the beautiful Marlborough region. This area is know for it’s spectacular scenery, great riding, wine, beer, food & lots of sunshine.
How many people: 140 sold out racers from 10 countries.
The top of the South Island is beautiful but also wild and rugged, some of the best trails are point to point in nature and normally hard to access .The race route takes in the very best of NZ’s native sacred and sensitive Beech forest riding.
Day one starts and ends at the beach in White’s Bay. Then we move on to the spectacular Nydia Track, linking three bays along the Pelorus Sounds’ coastline over four timed stages. We finish in style on the final day, helicopter shuttled to the top of the infamous fern clad Wakamarina track, the crown jewel of NZ native bush track riding.The liaisons are untimed, there is no rigid start order to adhere to and no scheduled practise. Just good old fashioned fun on the bike with your friends; a race within a social setting.