Mountainbike rider Sam Blenkinsop rates Nelson's trails among world's best
Nelson's mountainbike trails have received a glowing endorsement from one of the best in the business.
Sam Blenkinsop, who races professionally for Norco Factory Racing, finished seventh place at the UCI Mountainbike World Championships in Andorra last year and ended up ninth on the World Cup circuit.
The 27-year-old added the Giant Top Gun crown to his growing list of achievements on Monday - an event that hosted by the Nelson Mountainbike Club that features three races across the main three disciplines; downhill, cross country and enduro.
Blenkinsop said the trails he raced on in Nelson over the long weekend, including Kaka, Peaking Ridge, 629 and Maitai Face, are right up there with the world's best - and he's raced all over the globe.
"Nelson has got some of the best in the world I'd say, it's really good," the Christchurch resident said after taking his turn on the Top Gun podium.
"It's really steep here and it's got everything from beech forest to rocky stuff, and you don't get it like this in many other places in the world. I need to come up here more often and race."
Blenkinsop, who will defend the Dodzy Memorial Enduro title in Wairoa Gorge on Saturday and Sunday, wasn't the only professional that took part in Top Gun, with fellow New Zealand international riders Brook MacDonald and Wyn Masters joining in the competition, while women's winner Raewyn Morrison has just signed with French outfit Team Lapierre Gravity Republic.