All the ingredients for a perfect GrapeRide

00:39, Apr 04 2011
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Jason Allen, Subway Team
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Grant Moore
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Elite women, Karen Fulton
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Mike Smart winner Magnum section.
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Robin Reid and partner Britta Martin at the conclusion of the five lap, super endurance, event
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Social riders from Kiwiteat: Jonathon and Linda Sievwright, Koo Greenway, Pete Beaumont Nicki Fielder Glen and Jo Terry, and Andy Greenway.
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Rhonda Murphy, 1391 and Anthony Clark, 1390 just metres from the finish line.
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Forrest Estate GrapeRide Virgins, from Christchurch, Shelley Grivan, Kathryn Bruch and Heather Irvine.
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Forrest Estate GrapeRide Virgin (and Marlborough Express Picton reporter) Tania Butterfield.
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Forrest GrapeRide
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Forrest Estate GrapeRide Virgin Gabby Morris of Dunedin. Steve Gurney and Pete Halligan bring on another virgin.
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Forrest GrapeRide
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Danny Phipps, Eugene Collins and Sue White
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Karen Fulton
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Grape spitting competition: Annette Hagel from Christchurch is urged on by Pete Halligan.
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Forrest GrapeRide
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Nao Takaizumi, Junko Hosoi, Yuichiro Ono, Kayo Yamazaki, Iwao Fujii.
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Mens elite rider and first across the line, Paul Odlin
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Fiona Heenan from Auckland
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Jayde Maybenny of Christchurch
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Jason Allen , Subway Team
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Desperate House Wives finally get the last member home. Judy Ashby wearing helmet
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Forrest GrapeRide
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Debbie, Jack, 10 and Jim O'Donoghue from Christchurch.
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Paul Beck from Juneau, Alaska
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Forrest GrapeRide
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David Levick from Wellington
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Forrest GrapeRide
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Joe Fecteau and Andrew Cotterrell from Wellington.
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Forrest GrapeRide
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Graeme Smith fixing his third puncture
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No 3436: Steve Mason, editor, The Marlborough Express
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Richard Holdaway
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Steve Mason
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Lorna Brennan, Hannah Lessells
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Linkwater School children cheering on riders: Ruby Everest 7, Caitlin Guest 7, Tiare Lambeth 9, Zara Palmer 10 (obscured), Larissa Guest 9.
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Mark Ford, Keryn Ford, Peter Nicholas, Joyce Suttie
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Georgia Hammond
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Forrest GrapeRide
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John Morrison leads this bunch up the Mahakapawa Hill.
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Stephen Crilly
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Paul Fancy
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Tony Little
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Miles Watson
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Pelorus Sound
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Murray Chamberlain
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Tony Catterick
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Forrest GrapeRide.
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Forrest GrapeRide.
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Forrest GrapeRide.
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Forrest GrapeRide.
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Forrest GrapeRide.
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Forrest GrapeRide.
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Paul Odlin
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Forrest GrapeRide
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Robin Reid
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Robin Reid
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Forrest GrapeRide

The Forrest GrapeRide was like a cake baked to perfection, race organiser Pete Halligan says.

Although it was a chilly, dark Friday night for the riders who took on the challenge of the 505km Ultimate GrapeRide – five laps of the course – Marlborough turned on a scorching day with no wind for the thousands of cyclists and supporters on Saturday.

From an overnight low of about 4 degrees Celsius on Friday night, the day blossomed into a balmy 24 degrees.

That was made much stickier after 100 GrapeRide virgins dipped, crushed and cannonballed three tonnes of pinot noir, sending grapes, juice and screams flying in all directions.

Mr Halligan said the event was magnificent and a picture-perfect showcase for Marlborough with the wine, vineyards and Marlborough Sounds views.

"It's like making a cake: if you have lovely ingredients it's going to turn out really well and we cooked it really well in that wonderful Marlborough sun."

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Competitors flocked to Marlborough from out of town – only 150 Marlborough riders were in the field of about 2100.

One of the Marlborough riders was Ray Dunstan, owner of Cycle World in Blenheim.

He wasn't at the front of the Speed Bunnies race, but he was happy with the day as he enjoyed a beer in the afternoon sun at Forrest Wines estate.

It was his second GrapeRide, the first being back in 2008.

In the last couple of years he ran a stall and helped with fixing bike faults at the event.

The GrapeRide consistently sees half of the field return for the following year and also has more of an even mix of men and women than other cycling events.

The wine region theme of the event helps attract the mix.

The accident ratio was the lowest ever this year with the worst being a broken arm after a tumble at The Elevation, near Picton. "The others were more broken bikes than broken people," Mr Dunstan said.

Former Olympian and Ultimate GrapeRide winner Robin Reid was awarded the most inspirational GrapeRider of the year.

He was a great role model for young riders and was such a humble champion, Mr Halligan said.

"He rode the five-lapper for no other reason than to raise money for the [Christchurch] earthquake fund and not only did he do it, but he smashed the old record that we thought would never be beaten by about an hour."

Thousands of dollars of bikes, accessories and travel were won from spot prizes. There was a slight hiccup with a 30-minute power outage at the venue after lunch; however, a diesel generator was brought in until it was fixed.

Many competitors had told him that the volunteer race marshalls were the best in New Zealand, giving plenty of encouragement and aid to the riders, Mr Halligan said. Editorial, editor's blog, p6

More stories, pictures p9, 14 ,15

The Marlborough Express