BMX riders converge for jump park spectacle

GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2013
George Boulter
MILES HOLDEN
Red Bull-sponsored rider George Boulter hits a jump in the highly-sculpted terrain of the Gorge Rd jump park in preparation for Saturday’s Red Bull Roast It.

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New Zealand's top BMX event, the Red Bull Roast It, is back for its second year and promises to get even bigger, organisers say.

Top BMX riders from the United States, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand have converged on Queenstown for the Saturday event, expected to draw a crowd of 2000.

The event, which unexpectedly grew off the back of a Red Bull athlete photo shoot, has put New Zealand on the world freestyle BMX map, showcasing the Gorge Rd jump park, which is regarded as one of the world's top public jump parks, as many are privately owned and operated.

Red Bull New Zealand communications manager Jon Forder said developing Red Bull-sponsored New Zealand BMX riders, such as 19-year-old Jaden Leeming, was as important as hosting the seasoned Red Bull riders from the US and Britain.

"We did a big photo and film shoot down here with Jaden in 2011 and realised the potential of this amazing park, and the Roast It has grown from there to give something back to the BMX community every year," he said.

As well as hosting the event, Red Bull ensures that improvements, new jumps and ramps are made to the park each year.

Red Bull has erected grandstands and cleared viewing platforms to cater to the crowd, which will be treated to tunes and DJs blasting from Red Bull's mobile Hummer sound system.

Jump-park builder Nathan Greenwood said Red Bull provided a serious shot in the arm to park infrastructure. "For the five years the park has been here its been built and maintained by a small group of volunteers who generally struggle with a lack of funding, so it's a real privilege to be involved with Red Bull who support us with annual park maintenance and contributions of dirt and material that allow us to build and expand."

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- The Southland Times

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