Rotorua to host 24hr Solo World Champs for 2016

If there’s one place in the world where we could handle the idea of riding for 24hrs, it’s Rotorua. It has just been announced that the WEMBO 24hr Solo World Champs will be coming to the legendary Whakawarewera Forest in 2016! Read on for the official word.

[divider]WEMBO in the Redwoods[/divider]

Down under dominated the WEMBO 24 hour Solo World Championships in Fort William in Scotland last weekend. In one of the toughest events on the international calendar, Australia’s Jason English won a remarkable 5th consecutive Elite Men’s title and Brett Bellchambers did it all in one gear winning the Singlespeed category.The New Zealand team was also successful. Kim Hurst won the Elite women, Amanda Brooks won the 40-44 women’s category and Ryan Hunt took gold in Under-23 Men.

Capping off a successful weekend for the Kiwi team, after the racing was over the World Endurance Mountain Biking Organisation (WEMBO) announced that Rotorua would host the event in 2016.

Tim and Belinda Farmer, from Nduro Events, will run the championships. For them, it’s a dream come true. Tim doesn’t only organise events he also races in them. He competed in the 24 hour Solo Worlds when they were in Canberra in 2013.

“Sometimes I have to pinch myself,” he said, on hearing the good news. “Living in a mountain bike mecca like Rotorua, riding most days and organising events including the pinnacle of endurance racing, the 24-hour Solo world champs, is amazing.”

The 24-hour Solo World Championships is a truly international event with 170 riders from 25 countries racing in Fort William.

“Endurance racing is the ultimate challenge, but the riders are like most mountain bikers – they love to travel and experience different environments and cultures,” added Farmer. “Rotorua has such a long tradition of big events, a world-class trail network only minutes from town and all the infrastructure of a major tourism destination. And hot pools.”

The event was held in Finale Ligure in Italy in 2012 and Mount Stromlo in Canberra, Australia in 2013. After Scotland it will be in the Northern Hemisphere in Weaverville, California, next year, before heading down under again in 2016.

“WEMBO was set up to provide a true world championships where the world’s riders would get to experience 24 hour racing across a range of countries with all the course and climate variations that entails,” said WEMBO founder, Russ Baker. “It’s all about providing a great experience for the riders.”

Baker is excited about New Zealand becoming the fifth member of the WEMBO ‘family’.

“I’m sure that every rider will be looking forward to Rotorua’s legendary Redwood trails,” he continued. “As well as being a fantastic mountain biking location, New Zealand also fits in well with WEMBO’s plan to have an alternating hemisphere schedule, following on from Weaverville in California in 2015.”

He’s look forward to welcoming the world’s best solo 24-hour riders to Rotorua in 2016. “And I congratulate Tim Farmer and the team from Rotorua for all the work they have done to bring another World Championships to New Zealand.”

The 24-hour Solo World Championships will be one of the headline events on the second weekend of the 2016 Rotorua Bike Festival.

“A world-class endurance event like this will be a major boost for the programme,” said David Crowley, chair of the Charitable Trust that runs the Festival. “The National Mountain Bike Championships will be the main event of the opening weekend again and the 24-hour Solos will wrap the festival up.”

The 2015 edition of the Rotorua Bike Festival kicks off on Black Friday February 13 and runs till Sunday February 22, with events covering all biking disciplines, BMX, road and mountain biking.

Nduro Events will run the 24 hours of Rotorua a fortnight earlier, on the weekend of January 31 and February 1. The event will be open to solo riders and teams and will be a dress rehearsal for the WEMBO event.


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