Over 3,500 competitors were treated to a perfect Queenstown Lakes District day for the 13th hosting of the Macpac Motatapu, New Zealand’ s iconic one day multi-sport race with walkers, runners, triathletes and mountain bikers competing in a variety of races from the 15km Miners Trail, to the 51km Ultra-Run.
In the feature SKODA Mountain Bike race, Kate Fluker (Queenstown) was imperious as the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games hopeful won for a 6th time in succession, backing up her runner-up finish at the Mountain Bike Nationals a week ago, while Tim Rush (Oamaru) emerged quickest in a fiercely fought men’ s race, just edging road professional Hayden McCormick (Te Awamutu) and Pioneer winner James Williamson (Alexandra).
Fluker was delighted with her performance on a course that she loves. “That was awesome, I didn’t know what to expect this year after a hard week last week at Nationals but I am just so happy to be back on one of my favourite trails. It was fun, early on everyone went around the river and I knew there was a track around the side, and everyone behind me was shouting ‘thanks Kate’ for taking them the quickest way! “It is amazing though, I love this atmosphere here and this was my introduction to mountain biking, this is what it is all about, everyone sharing in a great race and encouraging each other along the way, I love it.”
The men’ s race was a much closer affair, with Rush only going clear of his main rivals in the closing kilometres. “That was close early on, Jimmy ripped it up early on and then Hayden came over and we rode together through the valley into a tough headwind. I was lucky with the river crossings and managed to ride most of them, my boss put me up while we are here and he said to commit and go full gas and see how you go. But it was a bit of the luck of the draw, I think we were all as strong as each other out there and it was great to ride with those guys, they are great pros.”
Team racing at the Motatapu
Multiple world and Olympic medal winning rowers Mahe Drysdale and Nathan Cohen might have entered for fun, but they showed just how competitive they are with a win in the new team category in the SKODA Mountain Bike, covering the 47km in an impressive 2:50:59.
“We probably did well, unexpectedly so,” said Cohen. “We got a pretty good rhythm, with the teams off at the front we had the course on our own for bit, we probably got in the way of the elite guys for a while, but it was nice to get out there and enjoy it.”
“We suffered across the top a little and I was pleased to get to the descent I was pretty happy,” said Drysdale. “But some of those rivers the legs were pretty much done and I struggled to get through. The last bit on the flat was our meat and bread, we pumped it along and I followed behind Nathan which was great.
“Cohen said to me at the start ‘this is your first session with Tokyo in mind’ , so it was a good way to start and good to go in that hurt zone again and feel what it is like. I don’ t mind going there though which is a good sign with Tokyo about three and a half years away.”
All photos by Tim Bardsley-Smith
1 Tim Rush (Oamaru), 02:07:16
2 Hayden McCormick (Te Awamutu) 02:07:29
3 James Williamson (Alexandra) 02:07:52
1 Kate Fluker (Queenstown) 02:24:03
2 Jeanette Gerrie (Christchurch) 02:38:45
3 Shannon Hope (Dunedin) 02:43:08