Mountainbikers remember mate Dodzy

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 13:00 26/01/2013

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New Zealand's mountainbike community will get the chance to tear around the Wairoa Gorge trails for the first time tomorrow, as the first annual Dodzy Memorial Enduro kicks into gear tomorrow.

Special invited guests and entrants quick on the draw will make up the 200 competitors in the limited event, which will honour the memory of a "well-loved character" and mountainbiking legend.

James Dodds (Dodzy) was killed in a hunting accident in September 2012. Dodzy had been involved with the construction of the Wairoa Gorge trail since 2010 and planning for the Enduro event was begun in the months before the tragedy.

Jeff Carter, a friend and business partner of Dodds and event organiser said, given Dodzy's contributions to the site and to the sport, it was only natural for it to become a memorial event to remember him. He said Dodzy's contributions to the sport included a devotion to skills clinics, racing, trail building and bike design.

Carter said the Wairoa Gorge trails, which are on private land developed primarily for recreation, are not generally open to the public, and organisers hoped that entrants would rate them highly.

"This is the first chance for people other than the trail crew to ride them," said Carter. "All the feedback from entrants is that they are very excited to have this opportunity."

Entries for the highly anticipated event were added in three waves.

The initial participants were by invitation, as each member of the Wairoa Gorge construction crew got to pick a rider to check out the track.

The remaining 200 spaces were filled with local, national and international competitors.

The final wave in the set was a handpicked few, where Gabby Molloy, Dodzy's partner, invited a group of elite riders, forming a pro-field, to set the pace.

All the riders will get a chance to ride the track at a controlled pace today, with the Enduro event unleashing tomorrow.

The speed with which Enduro is gaining popularity could be compared with a decent downhill run. "It's the new black in mountainbike races," said Carter. "Enduro is a racing way of replicating how people ride mountainbikes. They shuttle or ride to the top of the hill, give each other a bit of a hard time, and then race back down."

The sporting equivalent of a hard trail ride will be held on a selection of the best, "mostly downhill" trails on the property. Each special stage is timed, but the competitor with the fastest cumulative does not get the chocolates.

Tomorrow's Enduro event winner, with the combined fastest time for all the stages, will get all the kudos in the world, although the main prize will be drawn at random.

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The spot prize winner will receive a return flight to the Ken Klowick memorial event at the Jamaica Fat Tyre Festival in February. With a number of world cup riders attending, the competition will be as hot as a summer's day in Kingston Town.

- The Nelson Mail

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