Big air on bikes gets tour status

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Queenstown’s downtown big air mountain bike contest is expected to attract world-leading riders this year after gaining tour status. 

The fan-friendly slopestyle competition on March 28 will be a Freeride Mountain Bike (FMB) World Tour Silver Event in 2013. 

A crowd of thousands watched the inaugural slopestyle in Ballarat Street Car Park at last year’s Queenstown Bike Festival. 

Festival director Geoff Hunt says: “This is a big coup. 

“It means Teva Slopestyle will instantly attract more international stars. 

“It will put a little more pressure on the designers but they created a fantastic course last year which everyone raved about. 

“It was world class.” 

The 2013 course will again be designed and built by Queens­town Mountain Bike Club president Tom Hey and Queens­town-based Kelly McGarry, a rider for event sponsors Teva. 

High-profile Teva riders Japanese Daiki Takahashi and Americans Kurt Sorge and Cam McCaul are among those who could compete. 

The world’s best BMX dirt riders will also be in town earlier that month. 

Red Bull Roast It returns to Gorge Road Jump Park on March 2 after a hugely successful inaugural event in 2012. 

American riders Anthony Napolitan, Mike ‘Hucker’ Clark and Brandon Dosch, and the UK’s Kye Forte, are all signed up to return to compete.