MBO to host school biking event

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New Zealand’s best school mountain bikers will tackle Signal Hill this weekend.

Mountain Biking Otago (MBO) will host the National School Mountain Bike Championships, a three-day event, which starts today.

MBO president Kristy Booth said this was the first time in about three years the club would host the event.

Most of the preparation involved was sorting out entries, which was shared with Cycling NZ.

“From a club perspective it’s been about getting the tracks to a standard ready for racing so that they are good to go.

“The hill’s looking pretty amazing at the moment.”

Entries were at a record high, she said.

That included 333 entries for the five-stage enduro race tomorrow, 275 for the downhill event on Saturday, and 257 for the cross-country on Sunday.

“They are awesome numbers – slightly mind-boggling, but I’m sure we will be fine.”

Although there were more entrants than the club had seen in past events, such as the South Island championships, Booth was confident the club could pull it off.

“We’re pretty proud to be involved in developing the event to the level that it’s at now.”

About 50 riders from Dunedin schools will take part, including 11 from Taieri College, 14 from Otago Boys’ High School and nine from John McGlashan College.

Booth was also pleased to see four pupils from Balmacewen Intermediate signed up.

“These are our youngest first-time shredders.”

The championships will be the penultimate event the club would host before taking a year off.

By next year, it will have hosted three big events in three years – the Oceania championships last year, this weekend’s secondary school event, and the national mountain bike championships in January next year. Booth said hosting high calibre events required a lot of work and volunteer hours, but the club would look at hosting again in 2021.

Racing will start today at 1pm.