An annual Kiwi event which has gained worldwide notoriety is the Taupo Round the Lakes Cycle Challenge, which we wrote about last year and is happening again this November. Later this month, however, a brand new and very different cycle event will take place in Motu, a tiny village in the Bay of Plenty region about 70 minutes drive inland from Gisborne. The event offers five mountain bike courses, and is tailored to suit children as well as experienced adult competitors. Money raised (the entrance fees are modest) goes to Motu Community House, a local hostel.
Motu Community House is part of the facilities offered at Motu Trails, over 90kms of cycle/walking tracks and minor roads in the unspoilt wilderness of the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Once the local Post Office, the historic building has been refurbished to provide basic but comfortable overnight accommodation for up to nine people at a time. The large, self-catering kitchen boasts a wood burner, along with modern amenities.
The event itself will take place on Sunday, August 23rd, starting and finishing at Motu Community House. The five categories are named after birds, to reflect the area’s strong conservation ethos:
Tomtit Special: Individual kids aged 7 -10 years.
Kiwi Special: Individuals 11 – 15 years.
Blue Duck Special: Adult first timers – come and have a go!
NZ Falcon Special: Open short course of about 25km, 16+ years.
Weka Special: Open long course of about 50km, 16+ years.
There will be a prize giving at the conclusion of the races. For details and entry forms see this website.
As remote as it is, Motu has a longstanding connection with hosting major sporting events. The Motu Road is a fondly remembered stage of the Rally of New Zealand, which back in the 1990s was part of the World Championship circuit. The Motu Road stage was revived in the Rally of Gisborne this year as part of the New Zealand Rally Championship.
In multisport, the Motu Challenge has been held annually since 1994 and is one of the sport’s iconic events. Including biking, running and kayaking, this year’s Motu Challenge and Motu 160 are scheduled for October 10.