Record numbers for popular event

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Ready to ride . . . Mountain bikers (from left) Jack Allum-Bell (15), Cory McKenzie (15), Josh Warnock (13) and Jabari Vink (15) on a Signal Hill track that will be used in the South Island secondary schools event this weekend. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

The South Island’s best secondary school mountain bikers will converge on Signal Hill this weekend to compete for titles in the cross-country, downhill and super D races.

Mountain Biking Otago president Kristy Booth said the Cycling New Zealand Schools South Island Mountain Biking Championships had attracted 265 riders from 67 schools, a record number of entries.

“We have got good numbers,” she said.

Booth attributed the increase in numbers to the growth in the sport. It helped that Dunedin had hosted the event for the past three years, she said.

“People are going back every year and spreading the word about how good it was.”

There are three events in which riders can compete in their age groups. If they enter all three, they will be eligible for overall points towards the championship.

There are 193 entries in the cross-country event, 162 in the downhill race and 177 in the super D competition. Individual riders will be timed and winners will be determined based on their results.

“Wakatipu is bringing quite a nice little team of downhillers and have entered into everything so they will be one to watch,” Booth said.

Riders from Balmacewen Intermediate, Bayfield High School, Columba College, John McGlashan College, Kavanagh College, King’s High School, Otago Boys’ High School, Tahuna Normal School and Taieri College will compete.