There has been a lot of activity in the club so far this year, so I thought it appropriate to review the major activities so far. Kicking off the year with an absolutely huge summer race series which has seen loads of new people out enjoying the spirited fun competition these short course races produce and we welcome a new series sponsor into the bargain, Brent Boddy from Brent Boddy Prestige Cars in Palmy came on board half way through our series this year and is very motivated to continue support this summer.
K Loop Challenge was resurrected again this year, first time for 3 or 4 years, since logging operations have put all riding up there on the back burner. The race was as mean as it ever was over a mixture of our new trails and some of the old ones down through the lower forested area. With a credible turnout of 118 odd riders coming out to race / ride on a brilliant sunny Sunday in late March, I am sure this event will become a yearly event on the MTB calendar and will only get bigger and better.
IBike4Kids was another success bringing hundreds of kids and their families out for a taste of junior riding and fun on the Esplanade in Palm. North. A huge amount of work by a small dedicated team and supported by many other volunteers on the day ensured the success of this locally grown event. The base is now strongly laid for this event to also be staged annually, huge thanks to Raewyn, Bill and the crew.
It’s also really good to have some new people stepping up to take family fun rides at Santoft this year. These days are proving very popular, with many families and kids turning out for fun, non competitive riding and skills learning on family friendly trails at Santoft. This is the grassroots of the club and is an important feeder ground for wider participation in other club activities, events races etc; Really good to see.
And then there is our winter race series, what can be said, this year just never ceasing to amaze the incredible turnouts, with people from all ages and abilities out enjoying the riding and competition in such a friendly manner, simply awesome to see. Big thanks to all the event crews and sponsors of all of these events. All this, plus we still manage regular club rides both locally and trips away for multi day riding experiences, all in all I believe the club has a very healthy mix of events / rides to cater for all members. The club is running a new event as part of The Feilding Festival of Cycling in September. We have been asked by Bike Manawatu if we could organise a short course XC event in Feilding. After investigation and discussion with MDC and Bike Manawatu, we are running an XC eliminator event on a short course at the cycle velodrome in Feilding, using land beside the river as well as the velodrome and it’s embankments. This event is set for Sept. 14th. Mark it on your calendars now, more details shortly.
On a different note, we have been advised that the future of our riding trails at Santoft maybe in doubt with the possibility of the area being logged and converted to dairy farming. The forest owner, Ernslaw One Ltd; have been advised by the land owners, Iwi, Ngati Apa, that they wish to buy out the remaining lease of the forest from Ernslaw One, with a view to clear felling the trees and converting the area to pasture for dairy farm extension. I have been involved in recent discussions with Ernslaw One and Ngati Apa on this and although the deal has not yet been reached between the land owners and the forestry owners, we have to have a plan in place to ensure a similar area is available for developing trails should this proceed and we have to vacate what has been an awesome riding asset for our club members. I can assure you all, that we are working hard to get access to another block of forest, to develop trails in, should this come to fruition. To this end a group of committee members will be going out to look a replacement area in the next week. We will keep members informed on developments, but we have been warned that should the deal go through, the club will only get about 2 months notice to vacate the Brandon Hall block, so watch this space. A decision should be known in the next fortnight. In the mean time our events including Sizzler, Get to Go, Family fun ride and the final race in winter series are all safe to be run at Santoft.
There have also some big changes to Bike NZ and MTBNZ, with MTBNZ having to start from fresh as the old organisation had lost faith of most MTB clubs and members in the past 12 months, mainly through an ill thought rushed attempt to increase membership affiliation fees grossly, with no forward plan of the benefits for mountain biking. MTBNZ have recently put out a draft of how they see the future, their vision for the sport and how it can be funded. A brief breakdown of how the affiliation should be levied and where funds will go is included elsewhere in this E letter. I urge members to read it and make any comments about their proposal through the club. As affiliated members of MTBNZ the club will be reporting back to MTBNZ, with our clubs recommendations.
Thats about it from me for now, enjoy the trails and look forward to seeing you out there in the future.