Big name: Antoine Bizet performs at Red Bull Rampage in Virgin, Utah, in October BARTEK WOLINSK / RED BULL CONTENT POOL

Big mountain bike names are headed to town ahead of Saturday’s Through the Loop Enduro race.

Red Bull Rampage’s 2017 People’s Choice winner Antoine Bizet and Three Peaks Enduro race winner Keegan Wright, who’s just clinched the world series qualifier in Dunedin, have signed up to compete in the first Queenstown Mountain Bike Club event of the season.

Member Jimmy Pollard, who’s organising the shindig, reckons it will be epic.

“This is kind of the race brought for the people by the people … we do a lot of riding in the area and it is just nice to give something back to the area that gives us so much. I’m getting super excited now. The last knots are being tied and everyone is pretty pumped.”

Pollard says the ride is about 20km – over five stages.

These include a 1400-metre climb and 1700m descent where riders will be timed.

It’ll also be split into various men’s and women’s categories; open, masters and under 21.

The club has just bought a clever new timing system, which they’ll be cranking out for the event.

He remains tight-lipped about the course and says details won’t be released until the the day before. The nature of Enduro means it’s “blind racing”.

“There will be five different descents and they will range around the Fernhill Loop area, that’s the best way to put it.

“We go all the way up to the Ben Lomond Saddle and race all the way back down the Fernhill basin. The last stage comes right down in to the Wynyard Jump Arena.”

Bizet and Wright are two of about 50 who have already signed up and registration is capped at 100. Expect skill of the highest level.

French finesse: Antoine Bizet

Bizet wowed crowds in October’s Red Bull Rampage in the United States with his daring downhill manoeuvres and gutsy tricks.

Wright, from Rotorua, dominated last weekend’s Dunedin Enduro race to claim the men’s title for 2017.

Pollard says it’s great to have such talent on board.

The first event, in April last year, was set up as a fundraiser for the Kelly McGarry Memorial Trust.

He says it is fitting given Bizet was a close friend of local biking legend McGarry – who sadly passed away in February last year.

Club fundraiser

Atlas bar is gearing up to host Saturday’s annual Season of Shred fundraising bash for Queenstown Mountain Bike Club.

Jump Jam, beersies, BBQ and live music will top up the club’s coffers.

Bar boss Wesley McAllister says it’s the biggest money-maker of the season – having raised over $25,000 in the last three years.

He expects about 800 folk to rock up to watch the event at Wynyard Bike Park. Riders will compete for best trick and stylish whip-off.

Local biker Elmo Cotter will be getting stuck in. He isn’t sure what he’ll pull out of the bag, just yet.

“But I’m sure there will be some whips, tables and flips.”

Emmerson Wilken, Sam Robbie, Matt Lawton and Simon Read have also signed up. The event is supported by more than 70 local businesses who’ve donated more than 100 prizes.

“Our goal this year and every year is to make the Season of Shred bigger and better. If we can have more people attend, that means more funds.

“The great part about this fundraiser, it is made for everyone; from kids to adults, non-bikers to pros. You can come and enjoy the live band and BBQ or huck some tricks off the jumps.”–
Season of Shred fundraising bash, Wynyard Bike Park, Saturday, 3-10pm. Gold coin entry.