Global BMX aces descend on Queenstown

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A BMX jump park painstakingly built by Queenstown enthusiasts will host some of the best riders in the world this weekend. 

Pro riders from the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand are descending on Gorge Road Jump Park for the annual BMX jam. 

This year’s event has been sponsored by sports giants Red Bull and renamed the Red Bull Roast It. 

Riders include Anthony Nap­­­olitan – who landed the first double front flip on a bike, at the X Games in 2009. 

American Brandon Dosch, Kye Forte, from the UK, and Australian teen sensation Jai Bradley are also confirmed for Saturday’s event. 

Park supervisor Nathan Green­wood, 38, jokes: “I’ve been trying to keep this place a secret because it’s me who has to sweep up. 

“No, honestly it’s an exciting time to have these international stars coming to something we’ve built. 

“We look to them and what they do, so to have them coming here wanting to ride our jumps is a real privilege.” 

Kiwi Jed Milton, who landed the first triple backflip on a BMX last May, is also in town. 

Napolitan says: “I stopped by Gorge Rd last year and got to see the jumps. I didn’t get to ride them unfortunately so I’m definitely looking forward to it. 

“I haven’t been working on new tricks, I’m kind of focused on having a lot more fun with the tricks that I have now. 

“It looks like there are hundreds of jumps – so it will be nice to get in there and do 12 tricks in a row, as opposed to a normal contest in a parking lot where you only have three or four tricks that you have to pick through.” 

Napolitan adds: “I’m in town for a couple of weeks so I’m down for whatever they throw at me. I’m looking forward to just getting on my bike and cruising around, and swimming in the lake, no matter how cold it is.” 

It’s set to be very popular – a photo of the Gorge Rd park posted on the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club Facebook page on Tuesday attracted 1500 ‘likes’ and 320 comments. 

The event has a $5000 prize pool. The format is 10-man jam sessions throughout the day with the top five from each jam progressing to the next round. 

The final session will see the remaining top 10 riders on the park. Best Line, Best Trick riders will receive $1000 each, voted for by all the riders but not necessarily from the top 10. 

The field will also include local invites and wild cards who qualify on Saturday. 

The main event gets underway at noon.