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


English to IMF and World Bank this week

5 Oct 2015 News
New Zealand Government Hon Bill English Minister of Finance 5 October 2015 Media Statement English to IMF and World Bank this... more

Six banks awarded All-of-Government contracts

5 Oct 2015 News
5 October 2015   Six banks awarded All-of-Government contracts Minister of Finance Bill English and Economic Development... more


NZ government seeks to double private sector R&D by 2025

5 Oct 2015 Business News
Article - BusinessDesk   NZ govt science plan seeks to double private sector R&D by 2025 By Paul McBeth Oct. 5... more

NZX 50 books worst quarter since 2012 amid global fears

2 Oct 2015 Business News By Suze Metherell
  NZX 50 books worst quarter since 2012, as global fears weigh on stocks Oct. 2 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stocks booked... more


Popularity of new guide fuelled by pedal power

28 Sep 2015 Lifestyle
New Zealand Automobile Association Media Release: 28 September 2015 Popularity of new guide fuelled by pedal power New Zealanders... more

Whittaker’s ‘unbeatable’ as NZ’s most loved brand

21 Sep 2015 Food & Wine
The All Blacks may have a shot of becoming the first team ever to win consecutive Rugby World Cups but they can’t top a... more


Chinese property investors disappearing from the auction room

28 Sep 2015 Property
Chinese property investors are rapidly disappearing from the auction room, says the boss of Auckland's biggest real estate... more

Auckland house sales climb to 15-yr high for month of August

3 Sep 2015 Property By Paul McBeth
Article - BusinessDesk   Auckland house sales climb to 15-year high for month of August, prices stall Sept. 3 (BusinessDesk) -... more


NZ's annual net migration reaches record 60,300 in August

21 Sep 2015 Migration
  NZ's annual net migration reaches record 60,300 in August on Indian, Chinese students By Jonathan Underhill Sept. 21... more

NZ – Filipino Arrangement on migrant workers

18 Sep 2015 Migration
New Zealand Government NZ – Filipino Arrangement on migrant workers Workplace Relations and Safety and Immigration Minister... more


Winter holiday makers drive visitor growth

28 Sep 2015 Travel & Tourism
An increase in overseas visitors seeking a winter break resulted in an additional 10,000 holiday arrivals to New Zealand in August, as... more

Smartpay forecasts second year of earnings decline

8 Sep 2015 Travel & Tourism
Article - BusinessDesk   Smartpay forecasts second year of earnings decline By Tina Morrison Sept. 8 (BusinessDesk) - Smartpay... more


Silver Ferns trials underway

5 Oct 2015 Netball
Trials are underway in Auckland for the Silver Ferns team to contest the New World Netball Series for Constellation Cup. The lure... more

Two of NZ football’s greatest players are to be honoured

5 Oct 2015 Football
Two of New Zealand football’s greatest players are to be honoured by their peers at a celebratory dinner in Auckland next... more


Gordon Campbell on the TPP countdown, & Mary Margaret O’Hara

5 Oct 2015 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the TPP countdown, and Mary Margaret O’Hara While Australia and the US have... more

Gordon Campbell on TPP dairy , and investor-state disputes

28 Sep 2015 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on New Zealand’s TPP done deal on dairy, and on investor-state disputes For... more

Kiwi Success

Fonterra director Farrelly replaces Norris on Fund board

23 Sep 2015 Appointments By Paul McBeth
Fonterra director Ian Farrelly replaces Ralph Norris on shareholders' fund board Sept. 23 (BusinessDesk) - Fonterra Cooperative... more

Honouring New Zealand’s best on and off the field

23 Sep 2015 People
As a group of special Kiwis compete for the Rugby World Cup title, Kiwibank is calling on New Zealanders right here to honour their... more


'Close to zero' chance of another bum hire: FMA's Everett

2 Oct 2015 Recruitment By Fiona Rotherham
  'Close to zero' chance of another bum hire, says FMA's Everett Oct. 2 (BusinessDesk) - Financial Markets Authority chief... more

More action needed to reduce Gender Pay Gap

2 Oct 2015 Recruitment
New Zealand Government Hon Louise Upston Minister for Women   2 October 2015 Minister for Women Louise Upston says she is... more