Queenstown Trails Trust buys Motatapu race

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The Queenstown Trails Trust has branched out to buy the popular annual Motatapu off-road cycling/running event between Wanaka and Arrowtown. 

The trust – which opened the $5.4 million, 100km-plus Queenstown Trail for walkers and cyclists last October – took over yesterday (Wednesday). 

The purchase, for an undisclosed price, is to help fund ongoing development and maintenance of the trust’s trails network. 

The estate of the late Peter Wilding, which is already a generous trust benefactor, provided a loan to assist the purchase. 

“The Queenstown Trail has in a very short time had a huge positive impact on our community in so many ways and we need to ensure that the trust is adequately funded to meet future calls for development and further improvements,” estate trustee Graeme Todd says. 

The Motatapu event, which includes five separate races, has exclusive access to three high country properties, Motatapu, Mt Soho and Glencoe Stations. 

This year’s event attracted a record 3500-plus entrants. 

Former owner Iconic Adventures – whose directors are Geoff Matthews, Tracey Neil and Tom Pryde – ran nine Motatapu events. 

The company had a vision of creating New Zealand’s premier off-road event, Matthews says. 

“Tracey, Tom and I are extremely proud of what we have achieved over the past 10 years. 

“However, we believe that placing the Motatapu into community ownership through the Queenstown Trails Trust will give the event legs for the next 10 years and beyond. 

Trust chief executive Kaye Parker says: “The trust is excited about the planning already under way for the tenth anniversary event in March 2014 and is delighted that experienced Motatapu event organiser Gemma Boyle, who has worked on eight Motatapu events, is confirmed as race director.” 

Trust chairman Terry Stevens adds: “With cycling exploding, the Motatapu has a fantastic future and it provides the trust with an opportunity to showcase the many trails in our region to a diverse group of competitors around the world.”