The Southern Hemisphere’s largest mountain biking event held in Rotorua, the Emerson’s Whaka100, sold out it’s major event distances over the weekend.
More than 1,700 riders from elite olympians to weekend warriors are set to compete across the Camelbak 25km, New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty 50km, Perma Pine 100km and the inaugural 160km DCA Architects Miler events.
This sets a new record for the Whaka100 and is further proof mountain biking is going from strength to strength in New Zealand. It’s become so popular that the event organisers negotiated additional spaces with local stakeholders and authorities, set up a waitlist, and have created on-site camping facilities to alleviate a lack of visitor accommodation in the Rotorua area.
“Many of the riders in these longer distance events have progressed up through our shorter courses over the years at the Whaka100,” says Event Director, Tim Farmer of Nduro Events. “It’s a testament to not just the event, but the appeal of cycling and the fantastic natural resources we have here in Rotorua”.
Belinda Farmer of Ndruo Events is particularly proud of the growth in entry-level event athletes, especially women. “We’ve gone from barely any women competing when we took over the Whaka100 in 2014, to 25%. Our goal is to grow that representation every year, and across all our cycling events''. Belinda explains that the women-only 10km fun ride was born out of a drive to build beginners confidence, riding alongside like minded ladies.
The Whaka100 takes place in the Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest, over the Labour Day weekend, supported by over 200 volunteers. The massive surge of passionate cyclists, their whānau and supporters, mostly from outside of Rotorua, boost the local economy by an estimated $2.5million NZD.
Tim adds, “There’s nothing like firing that start line gun knowing these riders are going to have an experience of a lifetime riding the best trails Rotorua has to offer”.