Queenstown packs in for high-flying bike riders

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Thousands have packed into a downtown Queenstown carpark to watch daredevil slopestyle mountain bikers pull stunning tricks.

Crowds flocked to the carpark – converted into a slopestyle mountain bike jump course for last night’s Queenstown Bike Festival Slopestyle – lapping up the contest.

British rider Sam Pilgrim won first prize of $3000 for a flawless run pulling a trick on every feature.

The 22-year-old says it was an awesome crowd and challenging course.

“I tricked every obstacle and I think there’s quite a lot of difficulty as things are tight.”

Runner-up was Czech Thomas Zejda followed by Conor MacFarlane in third. BMX guru turned mountain bike rider Chad Kag7y was fourth and Sam Dueck of British Columbia was fifth.

Dueck also won $1500 for best trick with a double tail whip 360.

“I’ve been working on it for a couple of years. I’ve only done it three times – it’s definitely difficult and you need a lot of practise and have to commit to it.

“You’re basically spinning the bike around underneath you and looking for the landing.”

The 21-year-old says the course was a bit smaller than others he’s competed on but very challenging.

“It’s super tight – everything is very close together and if you mess up on something you can’t make it through the rest of the course. It’s cool that way as you have to have your game on.

“It’s a fun course – really jumpy and not too scary if you fall.”

Dueck plans to save the money he won and put towards studies when he gets back home.

More than 20 professional slopestyle riders took part from Australia, Europe, Canada and the USA, including Kiwis Reon Boe, of Queenstown, and course builder Kelly McGarry. McGarry was helped by co-course builder Tom Hey.

It’s the second year the event has been held in Queenstown and has now been added to the international Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour.