World’s top mountain bikers tackle top New Zealand trails

Department of Conservation —  06/04/2015

DOC’s Nydia BayWakamarina and Mount Robertson tracks in Marlborough recently hosted 120 mountain bikers, including 25 of the world’s best, as they competed in the first ever New Zealand Enduro.

Mountain biking on the Wakamarina Track. Photo: Caleb Smith ©

Wakamarina Track

Enduro mountain bike racing is designed to be the definitive test for any mountain biker, and the New Zealand edition was no exception.

DOC ranger, Julie Buunk, was there on day one—watching the riders take on Whites Bay Loop Track (Mount Robertson).

The track provided a good first-day warm up, with a little bit of everything: Technical challenges, a hard, steep (but short) climb, and sections of pure speed.

Leif Roy. Stage One, at Whites Bay outside of Blenheim. Photo: Caleb Smith ©

Leif Roy, Whites Bay

The second day saw riders tackle the ‘epic’ Nydia Track.

The 27 km ride—passing through lush coastal and regenerating forest, climbing two saddles (with superb views) and crossing farmland—was a real challenge.

DOC ranger, Leanne Flynn, was onsite to assist with a broken ankle (and witness numerous other crashes).

Derek Winwood, Nydia Track. Photo: Caleb Smith ©

Derek Winwood, Nydia Track

Day three saw DOC’s Rach Mason take flight into the Wakamarina Valley with the competitors for the final day of racing.

Day three included a helicopter shuttle into the Wakamarina Valley. Photo: Caleb Smith ©

Helicopter shuttle into the Wakamarina Valley

Crossing the Richmond Range, Rach had a blast testing out one of the 11K Santa Cruz bikes on the Wakamarina—an incredible ride through native forest filled with dense crown ferns and tall red and silver beech trees, rimu and kamahi.

“The native forest’s got the most amazing atmosphere, where you can ride and feel like you are in another world!” ~ Jéromé Clementz, 11 times world downhill champion.

Jéromé Clementz. Photo: Caleb Smith ©

Jéromé Clementz

Conservation campsites at Whites Bay and Butchers Flat made handy bases for many during the three-day event.

Anja McDonald took out all four stages on day two (Nydia Track). Photo: Caleb Smith ©

Anja McDonald, Nydia Track

We were thrilled to see local DOC rangers, Anja McDonald and Tristan Rawlence, take first in the Open Women and Men categories.

Anne Caro Chausson and Jamie Nicoll topped the Women’s and Men’s Pro fields.

DOC's Tristan Rawlence was on fire all weekend securing himself three out of the four stage wins! Photo: Caleb Smith ©

Tristan Rawlence ‘on fire’ all weekend

The tracks used in the competition were some of Marlborough’s most technical (Advanced: Grade 4).

If you’re keen to bike them for yourself make sure you’ve got the skills, and remember that the tracks are equally popular with trampers so, as they say, “keep the skids in your pants”.

Thanks to Caleb Smith of Spoke Magazine for allowing us to use his photos of the event. Check out more of his great shots: NZ Enduro Day One | NZ Enduro Day Two | NZ Enduro Day Three

Want more? Watch the Santa Cruz NZ Enduro Race Recap Video