Youth record broken in 'monster' race

JO MOIR
Last updated 11:06 02/03/2014

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A very "happy and proud" Ben Mitchell is the new record holder of the youngest mountainbiker to complete the 50km Karapoti Classic.

The 9-year-old Ngaio School pupil aimed to finish today's race in under 6 hours but was secretly hoping to break 4 hours and 30 minutes.

He came pretty close after crossing the finish line with Dad, Pete Mitchell, in 4 hours and 41 minutes this afternoon.

The final climb was quite hard according to the gutsy athlete and with the record now his he plans to come back next year and nail a personal best.

"The track was quite muddy and I was slipping around quite a bit but I'm really happy with how it all went,'' he said.

Mum, Nicola Mitchell, said she was incredibly surprised to see her son and husband cross the finish line so early.

"I wasn't too sure what to expect but am very proud.''

She said of all the races Ben could have tackled he had picked a "real monster''.

Ben has claimed the youngest mountainbiker title from Wellingtonian Eden Cruise, who was two months older than Ben when he first rode the race.

Now 14 and an emerging star on the mountainbike circuit, Eden came in fourth in the pro-elite category in a time of 2 hours and 18 minutes - only 11 minutes behind the overall winner Anton Cooper.

The event also includes a shorter 20km race and 5km kids event.

The Hicks family maximised on both of those distances with Dad, Dave Hicks taking his 2-year-old son Jack for a ride in the 20km event while his two older sons Rhys, 7, and Tom, 9, competed in the 5km.

The mountainbiking pedigree comes from Mum, Robyn Wong, who competed at the Athens Olympics for New Zealand.

She had planned to join in today before snapping her achilles in a basketball game two weeks ago.

Mr Hicks said the event was very well supported and all of the competitors cheered each other on.

"It's a really family-friendly day and everyone has a really great attitude about it.''

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- The Dominion Post

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