Youth record broken in 'monster' race

02:15, Mar 04 2014
Karapoti classic
Martine Barnes takes a plunge at the start of the Elite Women's section.
Karapoti classic
Ben Mitchell, 9, became the youngest person ever to complete the Karapoti Classic.
Karapoti classic
Anton Cooper, of Christchurch, won the Elite Men's division with a new record time.
Karapoti classic
Kim Hurst of Upper Hutt makes her final crossing to win the Elite Women section.
Karapoti classic
The Weekend Warriors begin their race.
Karapoti classic
Eden Cruise, 14, was the top Wellington finisher in the Elite Men's race.
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Kim Hurst of Upper Hutt (#101) leads out the Elite Women in the start of the Karapoti Classic, Upper Hutt. Hurst won the women's event in record time.
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Rob Kilvington heads towards the finish in the Elite Men's section of the Karapoti Classic.
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Wellington's David Hicks and his 2 year old son Jack completed the 20 km Karapoti Challenge.

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.

Ben Mitchell
HARD RACE: Ben Mitchell, 9, picks up his bike for a crossing en route to becoming the youngest person to complete the Karapoti Classic.

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.

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"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.''

The Dominion Post