Student bikers set for thrills

Checking out the track at the Mt Hutt Bike Park are U13 boys competitors (from left) Flynn Harden, Ben Piper and MacKenzie Currie, all from Mount Hutt College. PHOTO SUPPLIED

There are big numbers lined up to compete at the South Island Schools’ mountainbike championships at the Mt Hutt Bike Park from tomorrow and a big financial boost is on the way for the Methven economy.

The championships have maximum confirmed entries of 300 in the enduro event, 220 in the downhill and 250 in the cross country.

Last year’s event was cancelled just a few days out from the start and organisers are keeping their fingers crossed there are no last minute hitches this year.

Bike Methven has been working on the event management side of the championships for the past 12 months and are excited to be hosting the sold out event again, says spokeperson Clare Harden.

Two years ago the Mt Hutt Bike Park spectacle had brought in an estimated $500,000 into the Methven economy, and last year’s cancellation had been a big blow, she said.

Tomorrow (12.30pm until 5pm) will feature the cross country, Saturday (9pm until 5pm) the very exciting downhill and Sunday (8.30am until 1pm) is all about enduro.

There is age group racing for boys and girls and those taking part are aged between 11 and 19.

Mrs Harden said there were 40 talented local riders taking part, including 18 from Mount Hutt College.

The bike park was looking very good and spectators could expect to see big jumps and technical biking.

Grandstands will be set up at strategic points and a free shuttle will run from the information booth to and from the event village. There is also food and music on offer for spectators.

More than 25 volunteers will lend a hand and will be involved in driving, marshalling, registration, timing, parking and other duties.

Bike Methven will use event profits to build more tracks at the scenic bike park.

-By Mick Jensen