GrapeRide boost to economy

03:33, Apr 02 2014
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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 Estate GrapeRide Virgin Gabby Morris of Dunedin. Steve Gurney and Pete Halligan bring on another virgin.
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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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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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Debbie, Jack, 10 and Jim O'Donoghue from Christchurch.
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Paul Beck from Juneau, Alaska
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David Levick from Wellington
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Joe Fecteau and Andrew Cotterrell from Wellington.
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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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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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Paul Odlin
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Robin Reid
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Robin Reid
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The South Island's biggest cycling event is set to attract more than 4000 visitors to Marlborough over coming days.

Cyclists from around New Zealand, Australia, Europe and Asia, and their families and supporters, will start arriving in Marlborough tomorrow in preparation for the annual Forrest GrapeRide.

Race director Pete Halligan said 2500 riders would take part in five events running until Saturday.

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Forrest Graperide (reporter Ian Allen on right)
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Forrest Graperide: Graperide virgins jump into a tub of grapes. The juice from the crushed grapes will make a wine for next years Graperide. Chris Moloney from Feilding dives in belly first flanked by L-R Steve Gurney and Pete Halligan.
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Forrest Graperide: Amy Reddecliffe and Maddie Holdaway have a grape fight in the vat
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Forrest Graperide: Winner of the Magnum 202km race. Mike Smart and his wife Anita Smart and baby Jada.

Business has been brisk at hotels, motels and B&Bs in Blenheim and Picton.

At motels in Blenheim, only six studios, one one-bedroom and one two-bedroom unit were available yesterday afternoon.

Marlborough Motel Association chairman Noel Noble said most visitors were domestic travellers from New Zealand and Australia.

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Craig Harper and Daughter Hannah Harper (3). Craig is competing in the 5 lap (505km) Endurance section of this weekends GrapeRide event.
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Grape excuse for a reunion: Tomorrow’s Forrest GrapeRide is a good reason for a Smith family reunion. Pictured yesterday in central Blenheim are Robyn Smith, her son Andrew and daughter Vanessa, the latter two along with their older brother Alex riding the event.
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505km to go. Stu Downs front left and Tim Neal right rear
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Young cycling fans line the streets of Renwick to watch the bikes go flying past. From left, Kelvin Watt with Theresa Watt (5 months) and Clara Watt (2 years) and Taylor Sutherland (5 years), Hayley Sutherland (3 years) and Sonya Sutherland.
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Forrest GrapeRide, Scott van der Sluys, James Manera 12, Emily Manera 10, Charlotte van der Sluys 11 , months and Hannah Bill.
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Forrest GrapeRide, Nicole Ecklein, Alasdair Cook and Barry Brown played bagpipes at the top of Mahakipawa Hill to encourage the riders to keep going.
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Forrest GrapeRide, Grape virgin from Blenheim, Kimberley Jeffries makes a big splash
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Visitors had booked out the rooms immediately after last year's GrapeRide, Noble said.

"It is anticipated rooms will be a sellout by the weekend."

Halligan predicted it would be the biggest retail weekend of the year, with a strong domestic and international contingent taking part in the races.

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Glasses half full: From left, Forrest GrapeRide organiser Pete Halligan, Forrest Estate owner John Forrest and fellow organiser Duncan McKenzie gear up for the three-stage gourmet graze recreational ride in the run-up to the main event. Starting at Forrest Estate, the cycle takes in Picton and Havelock, and has attracted 30 riders. The organisers are pictured with glasses of The Doctor's special low-alcohol sauvignon blanc which will be served to riders

Around 130 Marlborough riders had entered. In terms of domestic visitors, 42 per cent came from Christchurch, 18 per cent from Wellington, 10 per cent from Auckland, and 5 per cent from Nelson.

The 200 riders from overseas included a 35-strong group from Japan, plus others from Australia, Europe and the United Kingdom.

The races were a major economic boost for Marlborough.

"The demographic of visitors who come means they tend to spend quite at lot. The domestic and oversees tourism opportunity is massive for Marlborough.

"People tell me they want any excuse to come to Marlborough. Events like the GrapeRide and the Saint Clair Vineyard half marathon really enhance our wine-industry tourism."

It is second only in numbers to the Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge and organisers in Taupo had approached GrapeRide to work in tandem, Halligan said.

For the first time, a recreational cycle will follow the route tomorrow. The three-stage gourmet graze taking in Picton, Havelock and Renwick starts at the Forrest Estate stonewall at 9am.

The 101-kilometre ride has been marketed to leisure riders who want to take in the region's stunning scenery, food and wine.

Watch out for GrapeRiders on our roads

GrapeRiding for Ella and CanTeen

The Marlborough Express