Cream of the crop

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The cream of the country’s mountain bikers will kick off the South Island Downhill Cup in Queenstown on Sunday and Monday. 

Between 150-200 entrants are expected and most of the top names will be among them, local co-organiser Geoff Hunt says. 

Contestants will hurtle down a virgin track 2.2km long, constructed on the face of the Remarkables with a drop of 375 vertical metres. 

Course designers describe it as “an old-school downhill track”, Hunt says. 

The official blurb from Mountain Bike NZ says: “The course is almost entirely loose dirt and wide, making line choice critical – plenty of opportunity for good drifts.” 

Spectators are well catered for, the MTBNZ website says, “with the course almost completely visible from the bottom”. 

Sunday, the practice day, features slow runs from 9am-12.30pm, with race-pace runs between 1.30-5pm. 

Monday, the race day, has an 11am timed seeding run, followed by racing proper from 1pm. Prizegiving commences at 4pm. 

The Queenstown leg is the first of three in the South Island Downhill Cup. 

Dunedin and Mt Hutt legs follow on January 13-14 and 20-21, respectively.