A punishing mountain bike enduro race on the trails of Ben Lomond and Fernhill is set to become an annual event.
Easter Monday’s expert Through the Loop staged race was organised by Queenstown Bike Club members at the eleventh hour.
They heard there’d be no enduro race at this year’s local bike festival, so threw one together themselves as a fundraiser for the Kelly McGarry Memorial Trust.
Organiser Jimmy Pollard says McGarry’s death, on February 1, was fresh on everyone’s mind.
“Aside from doing huge hucks down Dream and Wynyard, Kelly loved the Fernhill Loop trails and the epic descent from Ben Lomond so we thought this a great occasion to do something special in his memory and raise funds.”
About two dozen riders took part, raising $700.
“We only had two weeks to organise it. So it was small this year but we’re looking to bigger and brighter things in the future.”
The race began with a 500-metre climb from the top of the gondola to 1300m.
Riders then spent the day climbing and descending through Queenstown Bike Park, Fernhill basin and Wynyard on a number of challenging stages.
Enduro World Series rider Pollard says it was a “pretty gnarly” course.
“At least two of the trails were EWS standard, epic ascents and steep descents.”
Wanaka’s ‘Whiskey Mike’ Cowlin set the fastest time of 27mins and 5secs.