2012 UCI Oceania Mountainbike Championships About to Launch   8 Mar 2012

The 2012 edition of the southern hemispheres most important mountainbike race is all set to go this weekend, in the Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua. The RaboDirect Oceanias event, presented by Nature Valley returns to New Zealand every second year, and its status continues to grow as the highest level domestic mountainbike event for all of the Oceania countries represented.

Rotorua is no stanger to hosting high level international mountainbike events - last hosting the Oceanias as a lead-in event to the 2006 World Championships. Many of the same organising crew are involved for local hosts the Rotorua Mountainbike Club, and a great deal of pride is taken with ensuring the event is up to scratch and worthy of the support of Oceania's best mountainbike athletes. Tremendous local support has kicked in behind the club this year, with major backing also coming from the Rotorua District Council - always on board for anything mountainbike related in this riding destination.

Action begins in earnest on Friday, with the Super D event taking place during the afternoon and early evening. Best described as a downhill endurance event, Super D commonly draws the best cross country and downhill exponents together on a course that evens out the playing field for both. This is only the second time Super D has been run at a national level in New Zealand - trialled recently and successfully at the National Championships in Nelson at the end of January. The Oceania Super D has also drawn Taupo's John Kirkcaldie out of retirement - Kirkcaldie was a trailblazing downhill racer in the late 90's and early part of this century, retiring from competition at the conclusion of the Rotorua World Championships. A multi-time NORBA champion, the lure of Rotorua and competiton couldn't be resisted, and the racing community will welcome back one of their own this Friday.

Saturday is Cross Country race day, with plenty at stake for Oceanias U19, U23 and Elite athletes after age group categories have raced in the morning. The Oceania ranking points on offer at this event always give the athletes a big boost going into the World Cup season, and several of Australia's top multi-lap exponents have travelled to Rotorua to try to wrest those ranking points away from New Zealand's best on their home turf. Being deep into Olympic qualification for both countries adds another dimesion to the competiton, and especially in the Elite Womens race, where the head to head rivalry between National Champion Karen Hanlen and Beijing Olympian Rosara Joseph will be front and centre again. Australia's Chris Jongewaard and Paul van der Ploeg return to New Zealand this summer, having raced at the first NZ MTB Cup event in Dunedin mid January, but bring with them Lachlan Norris, Sid Taberlay and Daniel McConnell - creating a formidable challenge for Mike Northcott, Carl Jones and the rest of New Zealands top Elite Men. Guam's Derek Horton may be the dark horse in this field, and some brutal racing will sure to be on offer. Also worth following will be the Under 23 Mens event - National Champion Dirk Peters leads New Zealands charge, with a number of quality athletes also making the trip from Australia.

Sunday is Downhill race day and a strong field will have had a day and a half's practice under their belts before racing against the clock at 2pm. George Brannigan and Matt Scoles will lead the New Zealand challenge, Brannigan fresh off a win at the final round of the NZ MTB Cup. While several of New Zealand and Australia's top World Cup athletes are not in Rotorua, already off shore prepping for next weekends first World Cup event the quality of Oceanias Downhill competiton is still very high. Several athletes who have been making podiums throughout the NZ MTB Cup this summer are racing, and the likes of Kieran Bennett, Reuben Olorenshaw, and Wyn Masters should provide more than enough pace at the top of the Elite field to provide a block against the Australian racers. Sarah Atkin will be aiming to keep her stunning unbeaten record intact this weekend in the Elite Womens race, and the Under 19s will provide major excitement with several top Australian and New Caledonian athletes aiming to upset the New Zealanders in the Whaka Forest.

Running during the lunch break of Downhill competition is the Cross Country Eliminator event. Four riders head to head around a 650m long cross country style course, in a knock-out style format is all action. Like the Super D, this event was trialled at the recent National Championships and Rotorua has a challenging course ready for action on Sunday. Just as with Kirkcaldie's return in the Super D, the Eliminator has drawn another top athlete out of mountainbike retirement - this time 2004 World Champion Vanessa Quin, who has been dabbling with track racing in between raising a family for the last few years. Quin has been missed around the mountainbike circuit since her retirement from the sport, and will be unreservedly welcomed back in Rotorua.

(Mountain Bike New Zealand)

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share

News

Minister to attend defence talks in Singapore

28 May 2015 News
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee leaves today for Singapore to join his counterparts at the 14th annual Shangri-La... more

Waitangi signing commemorated 175 years on

26 May 2015 News
Horizons Regional Council Waitangi signing commemorated 175 years on A Rangitikei River stone monument commemorating a significant... more

Business

Reserve Bank unlikely to cut OCR next month: Westpac

28 May 2015 Business News
Article - BusinessDesk   Reserve Bank unlikely to cut OCR next month, line-ball on cut this year, Westpac says By Anna Lu May 28... more

Fonterra cuts this season's milk price by 10c, forecasts $5.

28 May 2015 Business News By Fiona Rotherham
  Fonterra cuts this season's milk price by 10c, forecasts $5.25/kgMS for 2015 May 28 (BusinessDesk) - Fonterra Cooperative... more

Living

NZ Surfer Daniel Kereopa in New Documentary

23 May 2015 Lifestyle
The pride and glory of winning The Ultimate Waterman is relived for Kiwi Daniel Kereopa in a documentary that went live online this... more

Britain remembers the ANZACs - 100 years on

25 Apr 2015 ANZAC By Charlotte Everett
100 years after allied forces landed in Gallipoli, 25 April – ANZAC Day – has been commemorated in the UK officially for... more

Property

New guidance on home construction

22 May 2015 Property
Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith today released at the Certified Builders’ Association conference in Christchurch... more

Goodman Property lifts FY earnings 5.4% on revenue growth

20 May 2015 Property By Paul McBeth
  Goodman Property lifts FY earnings 5.4% on revenue growth, cost clamp down May 20 (BusinessDesk) - Goodman Property Trust,... more

Migration

Migrant exploitation Bill passed

30 Apr 2015 Migration
The Immigration Amendment Bill (No 2) which cracks down on employers who exploit migrant workers passed its final reading in... more

NZ migration hits new annual record in March

23 Apr 2015 Migration By Tina Morrison
April 23 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand migration hit a new annual record in March, as more students arrived from India and China and... more

Travel

UPDATE: Bob Jones ejected from Air NZ flight

27 May 2015 Travel & Tourism By Pattrick Smellie
  UPDATE: Bob Jones ejected from Air NZ flight as passengers applaud (Corrects flight number to 421, adds passenger... more

Border clearance levy to be introduced

21 May 2015 Travel & Tourism
New Zealand Government Hon Nathan GuyMinister for Primary IndustriesHon Nicky WagnerMinister of Customs 21 May 2015 Border clearance... more

Sport

Grant Apologises for Unacceptable Behaviour

28 May 2015 Netball
Following a disciplinary hearing staged yesterday afternoon by the Trans Tasman Netball League (TTNL), operators of the ANZ... more

Kiwis Prepare to ‘Sprint’ Around Hyde Park

28 May 2015 Sport
London is the next stop on the ITU World Triathlon Series circuit and a host of New Zealanders will line up on the sprint course at... more

Columns

Gordon Campbell on the FIFA scandal , and similar dirty deal

28 May 2015 Opinion By Gordon Campbell
  Face it, it has been a very, very bad week for anyone who thinks that a) FIFA is a damn fine organisation run by guys who... more

Gordon Campbell on Budget 2015

22 May 2015 Opinion By Gordon Campbell
From the outset, the slogan for yesterday’s Budget - “The Plan Is Working” – begged to be mocked.... more

Kiwi Success

2015 Youth Awards winners announced

26 May 2015 People
Youth Minister Nikki Kaye today announced the recipients of the 2015 Youth Awards. Winners will be presented with awards at a... more

Top biology student off to Denmark Olympiad

21 May 2015 People
Sixteen-year-old Waikato Dio student Nikita Lyons is one of four students representing New Zealand at the International Biology... more

Recruitment

NZ employees rate work-life balance as top priority

26 May 2015 Press Releases By Anna Lu
  NZ employees rate work-life balance as top priority, while job seekers eye cash, survey shows May 26 (BusinessDesk) - New... more

NZ's growing ICT sector drives more diverse economy: Joyce

15 May 2015 State of the Market Report By Paul McBeth
  NZ's growing ICT sector drives rapid economic diversification, Joyce says May 15 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's information... more