Conor McFarlane pockets $1300 in resort win

Last updated 05:00 19/04/2014

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Former Southland mountainbiker Conor McFarlane nailed his first big win after Farm Jam, and pocketed $1300 in prizemoney, when he took out the Queenstown Bike Festival Slopestyle contest.

Top Kiwi and international riders soared high above hundreds of boisterous spectators at the annual event, New Zealand's only Freeride Mountain Bike (FMB) World Tour 2014 event.

McFarlane, described by contest MC, Tony "T-Man" Moore, as "the most under-rated mountainbiker in New Zealand", finally won the event in his adopted hometown after finishing third last year and runner-up in 2012.

"I had a good feeling when I landed my third run because I was last down. We're always at the jumps just having fun and, when you're having fun, that's when the tricks happen. I reckon having fun's the most important thing to progress you," he said.

His third-run score of 88 edged out Wanaka's Elmo Cotter by two points. Phil McLean of Christchurch took the remaining podium spot with a best-run score of 85 points.

Top amateur was 16-year-old Hamish Burrows from Dunedin, with a best score of 79 putting him ahead of Invercargill's Levi Goodall on 73 and Queenstowner Jeremy Cox on 69.

Best trick was judged off the final booter in a separate jam session after the main runs. Paul Langland caught the judges' eye with an incredible front-flip tail whip, the first time he had landed it in competition. German visitor Jonas Berndt came second and the consistent Phil McLean finished on the podium again with third.

Event manager Fraser Gordon was full of praise for both the riders and his team.

The downtown course was designed and built by head judge Tom Hey's company, Extra Mile Trail Building, with local legend, Kelly McGarry, who missed out on a podium spot this year.

Six monster hits began with a 6m-long lip drop into a 5.4m-high quarter to wall hip before flowing into the main line of a trick in-and-out fruit bowl, 7m "money trick" jump and finally twin quarters with a wall option.

Hey said the course took three days to build and was designed to give riders the freedom to express their style and put on an epic show.

"There were no flat bottoms to the features which gave it a trails-style flow," he said.

The festival continued yesterday with the Coronet Enduro. Today, riders of all ages abilities bike the annual New World Tour de Wakatipu along an exclusive course from Millbrook Resort in Arrowtown to Chard Farm along the Kawarau River.

The festival closes tomorrow with the R&R Sport Mega Avalanche that tracks the Remarkables ridgeline right down to the valley floor, followed by the Finale Party at Winnies.

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- The Southland Times

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