I wondered why the World Cup Rugby organisers had broken from form and had the 2 final rugby games 2 days apart. Instead of Australia and Wales playing on Saturday – they played on Friday. The final was, of course, on Sunday – and how very nearly New Zealand didn’t win! Hats off to France for playing beautiful disciplined rugby right up to the last minute!
But the reason that Saturday was left free MUST have been because Southern Traverse were staging their 2011 Patagonia 8hrs@Jacks mountain bike event in New Zealand! An all ages, individual and/or team event which is held annually at Jack’s Point, Queenstown.
What a setting…
The aim of the race was to complete as many laps as possible within the eight hour timeframe and twenty nine teams consisting of two, three or four members competed along with seven individual competitors.
“We were very happy to maintain our numbers for this event in the face of competition from a new Wanaka based ten hour race scheduled for today (October 23). It is difficult for potential competitors to commit to both and we would like to thank those people who have continued to support 8hours@Jacks,” said race Director Geoff Hunt of Southern Traverse.
The 6.9km track, known as Straggler’s Loop, has been developed specifically for the event. It passes through rocky outcrops and a small gum forest on the northern edge of Jacks Point resort before returning to the internal trails. Conditions were slippery for the first few laps of the race, “but once the cloud burned off and the sun came through the course dried out and became faster. The thing about this event is that competitors can go as fast as they want and do as many laps as they choose. There is no pressure and it suits all biking levels from the hardcore to the recreational.”<
It was a fantastically successful race, slashing previous records. Last year the winner, multisport guru Mark Williams, clocked 17 laps, this year the winners, the Placemakers Team, achieved 20 laps. Spokesman Ryan Gough says it was a fantastic event. “We have been competing in the Junior Tour of Southland and other events down south and it was great to come and do a more relaxed race like the 8hours@Jacks. It was definitely tough though but we loved it.”
While Placemakers had the most laps on the board to win the Open Teams section a young Alexandra team, Curious George which won the Junior Male category, put in the fastest lap with team member 16-year-old Tom Vessey crossing the line in 23.01 on the fourth lap. The team recorded 18 laps overall.
If you’re living down in that part of the world and enjoy mountain biking and the various events that come along with that sport, it would be worth penciling this in for next year. It’s a fun day. As well-known Cromwell multisporter Sarah Fairmaid said: “It was definitely a challenging ride but incredibly enjoyable, and I would particularly like to thank Patagonia and the other sponsors who enable events like this to take place.”
Never a truer word spoken. If it wasn’t for people like Southern Traverse and Patagonia, event organisers and event sponsors, these type of days would not happen. It’s worth remembering that and supporting them as they support you!