Revamped format shapes as a winner

MURRAY HILLS
Last updated 23:03 24/12/2013
Cycling stndrd
FUN FESTIVAL: Cycling enthusiasts, from left, Ces Hill, Nic Barrett, Joel Dodd and Pete Bennett have plenty to smile about with a cycling weekend planned for next year.

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Taranaki's two round the mountain cycle races are now one and a new festival of cycling weekend in March has evolved.

It's all part of a deal arranged by Events Taranaki and the Taranaki Velodrome Trust.

The two round the mountain cycle races were held in January - Selwyn Brown running the larger Round the Mountain Cycle Challenge and the trust running the Egmont Seafoods Bone Collector event.

Rather than going head-to-head again, the two have sorted out a deal to avoid any clash.

The cycle challenge will still go ahead - on Saturday, January 25 - with some of the proceeds donated to the velodrome trust.

There was a proviso though - the other event had to shift from January and not include a round the mountain ride. The New Zealand Cycle Festival Trust was set up with appointed members from New Plymouth Cycling, BMX New Plymouth, New Plymouth Mountainbiking and Taranaki Triathlon, along with three other independents.

The result - a weekend of cycling on Taranaki anniversary weekend.

Events include a 100km flyer from Hawera to New Plymouth via Surf Highway 45, criterium and velodrome races, a 30km Mangamahoe Munta, BMX events, along with a cycle expo over the three days, a Guinness Book of World Records attempt for the world's largest bike bus (the record stands at 639 riders) and kids' scooter racing.

"Everything will be centred at the Cycle Park at Bell Block. There's no other cycling festival like this in New Zealand and we're confident the event will be sustainable," said Pete Bennett, a trustee on the New Zealand Cycle Festival Trust.

"All proceeds will go to the cycling entities involved, as well as kids' training and the Taranaki Velodrome Trust."

Bennett said the aim was to promote the sport nationally.

"We want the events over time to gain national status. Whether it's BMX, cycling, mountainbiking or triathlon. If we can have one event that is recognised nationally each year, that would be great."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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