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Cyclocross arrives in Western Bay of Plenty

Cyclocross course test run at Summerhill Mountainbike Park ahead of the upcoming events in July 2024. Photo supplied, captured by Sam Cameron.

Local cyclists can finally participate in a cyclocross event without travelling outside the Western Bay of Plenty. On Sunday, 21 July, Summerhill Mountain Bike Park will host the MyRide Mount Maunganui North Island School Cyclocross Championships followed by a community race as the Western Bay of Plenty’s inaugural Cyclocross events.

Cyclocross is a form of cycle race typically occurring throughout Autumn and Winter. Riders complete laps of a short circuit course featuring a range of terrain: grass, steep hills, obstacles, wooded trails, and road. Riders must ride or carry their bikes throughout the circuit and complete as many laps as possible before time runs out.

The upcoming MyRide Mount Maunganui North Island School Cyclocross Championships will be held in partnership with Cycling New Zealand Schools and will be a great opportunity for local event organisers, Mountainbike Tauranga (Club), to learn how a North Island School Championship event operates. As the Western Bay of Plenty’s only mountain bike club, and no cyclocross club in the region also, the club aims to learn as much as possible from these events. They hope to become more sustainable for future events and ensure their local riders continue to have great-quality events and opportunities on their doorstep.

Event Organiser Tristan Haycock from DirtCraft is dedicated to showcasing the venue, encouraging people to get outdoors, and introducing a new cycling variation. He says Mountainbike Tauranga (Club) wants to diversify the cycling experience and foster more ambition in its riders, as there is a whole sport out there that many New Zealanders don’t know exists.

“We’re inviting all offroad bike enthusiasts, whether you ride on gravel, mountain, road or cross bikes, to join us and experience the thrill of cyclocross. This could be the start of something extraordinary for Western Bay of Plenty,” says Tristan, “Cyclocross is a unique form of cycling that can help riders identify their strengths and weaknesses, providing a deeper understanding of their abilities.”

Riders keen to compete in the MyRide Mount Maunganui North Island School Cyclocross Championship must enter through their school and be in the age grades from under 13 to under 20. The races will be 30 to 40 minutes long, and Tristan expects upwards of 60 riders to participate in the championship races.

Following the MyRide Mount Maunganui North Island School Cyclocross Championship, Summerhill will also host the first-ever MyRide Mount Maunganui Summerhill-CX event. The event organisers have piggybacked off the school championships to allow the wider community to experience the sport of cyclocross.  

Having two events back to back provides an opportunity for locals to gain event delivery experience which will make cyclocross events in the region more viable and showcase the amazing event venue here in Western Bay.  

MyRide Mount Maunganui Summerhill-CX is a community race with four categories: Give It A Go, Open U30, Master’s 30-45, and Veterans 45+. All races are 40 minutes long. It will occur in the afternoon from 1:30p.m. after the School Champs.

With Summerhill Mountain Bike Park's unique aspect, Mountainbike Tauranga (Club) is passionate about bringing the best opportunities to its riders and the community. They’re hopeful that these events will establish cyclocross on the annual calendar and have their sights set on a race series.

The Tauranga Western Bay Community Event Fund (TWBCEF) supported these inaugural cyclocross events with a $5,000 grant to ensure they are delivered to a high standard.

The fund is a partnership between local funders Acorn Foundation, BayTrust, TECT, Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council with the core purpose of supporting community-led events and those that encourage free or low-cost participation.

One of the high costs for event organisers, which the TWBCEF is assisting with for this event, is the Cycling New Zealand Schools Commissaires (Race Referees), which are required for any Cycling New Zealand Schools event.

BayTrust’s Chief Executive, Alastair Rhodes, says that currently, local cyclocross riders travel outside the region to compete. This event will be a great opportunity to showcase one of our local venues and our event organisers' capability, strengthening the future of the sport in the Western Bay of Plenty.

“We want to support and foster the longevity of events for our region,” says Acorn Foundation Chief Executive Lori Luke, “Through offering an event which can be done on any bike, the event is more accessible to the majority of our population and being in our region means the cost to get to the event is also encouraging participation at a lower cost than similar events further away.”

Event organisers expect to see school students, young children, adults, and older riders attending the two events on July 21st and hope this will inspire people to pick up the sport as a new recreation activity.

Event Details

Sunday 21 July 2024 at Summerhill Mountain Bike Park, 319 Reid Road, Papamoa.

7:00am to 5:00pm (North Island School Cyclocross Championship in the morning and Summerhill-CX in the afternoon).

North Island School Cyclocross Championship details here.

Summerhill CX details here.

Both events are sponsored by local Tauranga Western Bay of Plenty cycling store, MyRide Mount Maunganui who will be providing category prizes and spot prizes to riders participating on July 21.

Riders must ride or carry their bikes throughout the circuit and complete as many laps as possible before time runs out. Photo supplied, captured by Sam Cameron.

Mountainbike Tauranga (Club) members. Photo supplied, captured by Kate Boyt.