After a challenging year in 2021 with the event being postponed and then cancelled due to COVID-19, the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest marathon mountain bike event is back in its traditional slot of Labour Weekend and is stronger than ever, with over 2,600 riders, representing 14 nations registered across the six event options.
For Tim and Belinda Farmer of Nduro Events, the company behind the Isuzu Utes Whaka 100 Mountain Bike Marathon, the last year has been tough but there have been some silver linings as Tim explained: “The support that we have received over the last seven months from the event participants, volunteers and our event partners has been exceptional. It has given us the confidence to refocus and relaunch the event and even add innovative event options including the New Zealand’s first
singletrack 100 mile (161km) XC Marathon and an urban Cross Country Eliminator (XCE) race that will take place in downtown Rotorua. To everyone that has been part of getting the event back on track, thank you.”
With the borders opening back up the reputation of the Whaka 100 and the allure of Rotorua’s legendary trails has quickly drawn overseas visitors back for the race with international participants confirmed from Australia, the United Kingdom, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, the United States of America and South Africa.
Overall 92% of participants are from outside Rotorua. As a recent report highlighted, mountain biking and mountain bike events play an important part in
the local economy.
“Mountain biking has become part of the DNA of Rotorua and events like the Whaka 100 play a
crucial role in drawing riders into town. We’ve seen the growth of the Whaka 100 over the years and
as the largest event that uses our stunning trail network we know what an important role it plays in
promoting the whole region to trail riders,” said Andrew Wilson, Chief Executive Officer at Rotorua
The Whaka 100 Eliminator will kick off the weekend on Friday night with racing on a tight city circuit
course adjacent to Eat Streat. From there the action moves out the Whakarewarewa Forest where
the event hub is set up and where all of the other events will finish. There will also be a bike expo
and lots of activities for bike lovers.