Huri Huri News
31 January 2017
Wairarapa’s hosting of the New Zealand Cycle Classic and Huri Huri: Bike Festival received a great endorsement from the Swiss based Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and from several riders who took part.
Zac Prendergast was the UCI’s international commissaire appointed to officiate the 30th anniversary of the Cycle Classic held across the entire Wairarapa region last week. The five day event attracted 95 riders from nine countries and concluded on Thursday afternoon in Masterton with New Zealand rider Joseph Cooper, racing for IsoWhey Sports Swiss Wellness, being crowned 2017 champion.
Mr Prendergast said he was impressed with the event’s organisation, the quality of the racing and the environment in which it was held.
“Overall it’s been very successful. It’s been done with considerable collaboration between the New Zealand Police, the marshals, the organiser and officials. The environment that has been created is positive with people looking for solutions,” he said.
“The racing was very good every day. On the fourth day if you wanted to know anything about bike racing you would have wanted to see that stage, because it was a classic stage with all the elements of weather, attacking teams and positive racing.”
The New Zealand Cycle Classic was instigated 30 years ago by Jorge Sandoval and originally staged in Wellington. For a time it was jointly held between the Wairarapa and Wellington before being moved to Manawatu. It returned to the Wairarapa in 2016 and has developed a reputation for unearthing new talent. It is also the only UCI sanctioned race to be held in New Zealand in 2017.
Mr Prendergast, who raced for a combined team in the event in 1998, said having the Tour staged in the Wairarapa was good for a number of reasons: including having all teams based at a single hotel for the duration of the event.
“Wairarapa is a great playground. I’ve raced in over 14 or 15 different countries and the roads here are perfect. They are quiet, they allow us to race competitively, they allow for the safety of the riders and the police protection we receive is wonderful. The weather typically is great,” he said.
“The fact that the riders can be based here for the whole time is very good. It allows the support members of the team, like the mechanics, to concentrate on their job rather than pack and unpack all the time. Having no transfers makes life easier and I know the teams love this.”
His comments were echoed by John Herety, a former English road cyclist who represented Great Britain in the Olympic Games and is now the manager of English based JLT-Condor cycling team which finished third overall on the teams’ classification points table and won three out of five stages. Herety, who also attended the event in 2016, praised the way the whole the event is conducted.
“We are really pleased with how our team went, and congratulate IsoWhey on a very well raced tour. We were really pleased to come back to New Zealand and we thoroughly enjoyed our time here. It’s a wonderful event and we can’t wait to return next year,” he said.
Mr Sandoval said the logistics of staging an event like the Cycle Classic were complex and extensive.
He thanked the New Zealand Police who helped make the event safe for riders and the public; race officials and judges; the Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa District Councils; Destination Wairarapa, the regional tourism organisation; Trust House, NZ Community Trust; community sponsors including Fagan Motors, Mitre 10 Mega, The Sign Factory, MCS, Beehive, WizWireless and Ricoh as well as all volunteers and marshals who helped out during the week.
“As event organiser I want the tour to be better each year, this time was no exception. The racing was very good. It was full on all the time. It was very fast on Stage 4 with the average speed being 46kph. The top speed was 106kph down Te Wharau hill. We were unlucky with the weather on the first day but it got better as the week went on,” said Sandoval.
“This event can’t survive without the help of the Police. They are imperative for the safe conduct of the races on our public roads. They do a really good job with the race motor cycle marshals and the race officials who do our results are terrific.”
Mr Sandoval was also pleased with spectator turnout and increased community engagement this year. He also paid tribute to Catherine Rossiter Stead, who organized Huri Huri: Wairarapa’s Bike Festival.
“We were really pleased to see people at the farm gate waiting each day for the race to pass by and on the final day, spectators lined the course on the outskirts of Masterton. We haven’t seen that in the past which is really good,” he said. “People are realizing this is an international race that’s exciting to watch. The race atmosphere just gets better each year.”
“Also, the Huri Huri events held at the same time were great. It helped reinforce how much fun the sport of cycling is – from a participation level all the way through to seeing riders compete at an elite level. A great example was during stage three in Martinborough … there was a fantastic crowd watching the BMX freestyle display who then cheered the NZ Cycle Classic riders over the finish line. Many of these kids then got to meet the likes of Olympian Hamish Bond.”
Destination Wairarapa general manager David Hancock said both events helped put Wairarapa on the international cycling map and showcased the whole region.
“There’s no denying how important these events are to help showcase the Wairarapa to the world. We had 993 guests nights coming just from the tour group with supporters of the teams contributing to the whole economy – in terms of accommodation, spend at local cafes and retail outlets,” said Mr Hancock.
“Images of our rural scenery and our townships were beamed all around the world and race reports were being read globally each day. We had cycling fans in England, France, Italy and the Netherlands contacting us directly requesting information on the tour and copies of the Classic programme while many riders have indicated they will return home with nothing but positive comments on the region.”
Huri Huri News
17 January 2017
New Zealand Cycle Classic race director Jorge Sandoval is a man of strong views, but not exaggeration. So when he talks about the field for this month’s UCI 2.2 five-stage event being held entirely in the Wairarapa, as the best he’s assembled … you know he is being sincere.
“We’ve had some fantastic fields over the previous 29 years with riders coming from Europe, America, Asia and Australia, but I believe the 2017 field to be the best ever,” Sandoval said.
“Having 10 overseas teams, including riders from Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Colombia, Italy, the Philippines, Indonesia and some of the top riders from Australia and New Zealand taking part, I think this year’s event is going to be fantastic.”
The New Zealand Cycle Classic, which celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year, gets underway on Sunday, 22nd January and concludes five days later. To celebrate Sandoval has three new routes planned including the opening stage which takes riders from Masterton to the spectacular coastal community of Castlepoint; “The Five Towns” which will see riders cycle through all five of the Wairarapa’s characterful townships and a fast 12 lap, 10km circuit just west of Masterton.
He is predicting days of exciting racing.
“Team JLT Condor will make things very difficult for the other teams. It is fully professional. The riders have been in training camps and racing with success in Australia for a month,” said Sandoval.
“While among the New Zealanders, the hottest name is 2017 New Zealand road champion Joe Cooper who is a professional rider with UCI registered team IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness. He should be right up there when the tour heads into the steep hills as well as 2010 tour winner Michael Torckler and Brad Evans, the latter who will be racing the tour as part of the New Zealand national team.”
Australian riders have won the Tour five times in the last nine years so Sandoval expects there to be several genuine tour-winning prospects taking part. However he also expects much attention will fall on Hamish Bond, who recently made the transition from rowing to road cycling.
“We also have Hamish Bond who won back-to-back Olympic golds in the men’s coxless pair and eight world championship titles. Bond will race alongside New Zealand professional cyclist Michael Torckler in the Blindz Direct team and no doubt, this is the real test for Bond in his short cycling career.”
The New Zealand Cycle Classic started out in Wellington with stages raced through the central city, along Lambton Quay and on main roads linking Lower Hutt to Waikanae. For a time, it was jointly held in Wairarapa and Wellington, then moved to Manawatu, before returning to the region in 2016. The Tour has become renowned for unearthing new talent or helping up-and-coming riders step onto a bigger platform.
“We’ve had the likes of Julian Dean, Chris Jenner, Robbie McEwen and Hayden Roulston all claim the yellow jersey while many others have gone on to ride in the Tour de France. For me that is very rewarding,” says Sandoval.
Sandoval, who came to New Zealand from Chile in 1976 as a political refugee, is very proud of what he has achieved. First he had to learn English, and to have created the classic, and successfully run it for the last 29 years is a tribute to his persistence, organising skills and love of cycling.
“The classic is now one of the biggest international cycle races in Oceania,” he said. “Moving the tour to the Wairarapa permanently is the best for the event. I’ve been working really hard for the last 29 years to get the event where it is today and to ensure the people of New Zealand see a top cycling spectacle. Having the support of companies such as Trust House, the New Zealand Community Trust and all Wairarapa authorities among others, has made things easier.”
Being held simultaneously is Huri Huri: Wairarapa’s Bike Festival which celebrates the Wairarapa’s bike-friendly roads, tracks and trails; the people that ride on them and the bikes they ride. The 2017 Festival (www.hurihuri.co.nz) has a variety of events and activities held across the region, catering to all levels of involvement in biking and to all ages. These include the Town to Tide multisport race; the Castlepoint Station family fun ride; Pedal for Parkinsons road cycle; mountainbike workshops and a kids programme.
“The Wairarapa is fantastic destination for cyclists of all ages and abilities. Our local authorities are very pro-active in making it a top cycling destination in New Zealand and having the Cycle Classic based here as well as the HuriHuri is helping them achieve that goal.”
“I look forward to seeing the Cycle Classic grow in importance in the Wairarapa, and receive increasing support within the local community,” said Sandoval.
For more information please visit www.cycletournz.com.
Huri Huri News
10 January 2017
Three of New Zealand’s top mountainbikers will hold special skills workshops in the Wairarapa this January, as part of Huri Huri: Wairarapa’s Bike Festival.
Wyn Masters, a former under-17 and under-19 junior New Zealand downhill champion who now rides for GT Factory Racing and competes on the international downhill series circuit including the Crankworx World Tour, will lead the workshops being held at the new Rivenrock Mountainbike Park, located on the outskirts of Carterton and Masterton.
Masters will be joined by Cam Cole, a former Junior World Downhill Champion and New Zealand and Oceania Downhill Champion and BMX rider, and Tyler Perrin, an experienced mountainbike instructor. The trio will hold three workshops on Thursday, 26th January 2017 and Friday 27th January 2017 with each rider catering to one of three levels: beginners, intermediate and advanced riders.
Masters says the beginner workshops are designed for riders who want to try mountainbiking and develop new skills while the advanced workshops will help riders fine-tune existing skills and learn some new tricks.
“Our workshops will cover all basic bike skills and bike set up to help riders progress to the next level,” says Masters.
Masters is thrilled to be involved in Huri Huri, a festival which celebrates the Wairarapa’s bike-friendly roads, tracks and trails; the people that ride on them and the bikes they ride. He is equally excited about checking out Rivenrock, a purpose built and professionally designed mountainbike park based on a private 500 acre farm near Mount Holdsworth.
“We’ve heard great things about Rivenrock and are thrilled to be one of the first groups on it. It’s a really exciting initiative for the Wairarapa and can only help grow the region’s already great reputation for cycling,” says Masters.
Stage one of Rivenrock just opened this month and includes 15km of purpose built trails that weave through pine forest, farm land and also uses existing forestry trails. Over the coming years, Rivenrock owners The Hind Family are planning to add another 50km of trails.
The Rivenrock Mountainbike Workshops are part of the 2017 Huri Huri: Wairarapa’s Bike Festival, which is being held in conjunction with the New Zealand Cycle Classic, a UCI 2.2 five stage elite men’s cycle race. Huri Huri has a variety of events and activities held across the region, catering to all levels of involvement in biking and to all ages.
Another festival highlight will be the very rare opportunity to explore iconic Castlepoint sheep and beef station by biking one of three coastal tracks. On Sunday, 22nd riders can choose from a 7km short loop; a 14km long loop via the beach or a 20km course option that covers limed road to Otahome and back. It’s a great chance for riders to bring a picnic, view the stunning coastal scenery and at the end make their way to the main Castlepoint beach to cheers in New Zealand Cycle Classic competitors finishing stage one of the race.
All funds raised from The Castlepoint Family Fun Ride will go towards the Peter Laing Memorial Trust. Laing managed Castlepoint Station for nearly 40 years and earned a reputation as a hardworking, practical man who was also a great visionary in his field. The Trust was established to grant scholarships to people with a Wairarapa connection who want to work in the agriculture sector.
Other festival events include the Town to Tide multisport race from Masterton to Riversdale, a kids’ Cycle Classic holiday programme and Pedal for Parkinson’s road cycle.
For more information on festival events and to register for the Rivenrock Mountainbike Workshop please visit www.hurihuri.co.nz.
What: Rivenrock Mountainbike Workshops
When: Thursday, 26th January.
3pm – 5.30pm followed by a BBQ
Friday 27th January
9.00am – 11.30am followed by a BBQ
Friday, 27th February
12.30pm – 3pm, followed by a BBQ
Where: Rivenrock Mountainbike Park
Mt Holdsworth Road
Cost: $100 per session (includes BBQ)
Gear: Bike and helmet are compulsory. Pads recommended
Other: There will be eight riders per workshop.
Content: The workshops will be divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced groups. Each workshop will focus on bike set up, body position on the bike and cornering. The intermediate and advanced workshops will also focus on jumping, riding steeper sections and how to approach a race or an event. There will also be an opportunity to ask Wyn Masters, Cam Cole and Tyler Perrin any specific questions.
Registration: Register for the workshops via www.hurihuri.co.nz
Huri Huri News
9 January 2017
Wairarapa BMX fans will be treated to a world-class display from some of the country’s top riders later this month, in one of the highlights of the Huri Huri Bike Festival.
FreestyleLifestyleBMX, a team of internationally competitive riders, will be showing off their skills in Martinborough and Kahutara on Tuesday 24th January, performing high level stunts including backflips, 360 spins and superman combinations over a portable ramp.
They are well-known as NZ's premier BMX display team, performing at major events such as Big Boys Toys, D1NZ drifting, NZ Tattoo & Art Festival and Wheels for Cure Kids.
The line-up includes Ellie Chew, NZ's number one female rider, Paul Langlands, winner of the NZ Dirt Series, Hugh Wotherspoon, 3rd in the NZ Dirt Series, Jono Hopping, one of the country’s leading top 'Street Riders'.
Following the displays, there will be a chance to meet the riders, grab autographs and selfies and pick up some great giveaways.
FreestyleLifestyleBMX team owner Paul Langlands says the team is excited about performing in the Wairarapa for the first time.
“We’re really keen to get down to the Wairarapa as we haven’t been there before to show off our tricks. The kind of riding we do will be new to most people down there and we hope to give people a thrill so they go home excited about what they’ve seen.”
Huri Huri event manager Catherine Rossiter-Stead is thrilled to be able to offer such an exciting event as part of the week-long festival. “It’s a real privilege to have the FreestyleLifestyleBMX team taking part in Huri Huri and their display is going to be one of the highlights of the festival,” she explained.
“The display in Martinborough is open to everyone from midday and it’s a great opportunity for BMX fans young and old to see some of New Zealand’s best riders in action right here in the Wairarapa. The team will also be teaching young riders a series of basic tricks earlier in the day at Kahutara School as part of our Kids Holiday Programme. Places are strictly limited so all riders aged 8-14 must register online in advance.”
The Huri Huri Bike Festival takes place between 21st and 27th January, which includes Wellington Anniversary weekend, and is run in association with the New Zealand Cycle Classic featuring some of the world’s premier road cyclists.
The festival features a range of exciting cycling events such as the Pedal for Parkinson’s road challenge on Admiral Hill, Town to Tide multisport race and a rare opportunity to explore Castlepoint Station by mountain bike, in support of the Peter Laing Trust.
For more details on any of these events and to register, visit www.hurihuri.co.nz