Alexandra rider Shaun Portegys completed 19 laps in the challenging Patagonia 8hrs@Jacks mountain bike event at Jack's Point yesterday to win the individual open men's division.
Portegys saved his fastest lap of 23.52mins for his last lap and finished the race after 7 hours 56 minutes 36secs of non-stop riding. "I have done a number of eight and ten hour races and this course was by far the best, a great x-country course with good variation of terrain," Portegys said.
Portegys entered the last lap with 30 minutes to the race cut-off but that fastest lap meant he was well inside the 8hr mark.
The number of individuals competing this year increased again with ten men and two women competing in both open and veteran divisions for the respective titles. Teams competed in Junior, Open (men's, women's or mixed) and Veteran (men's, open and mixed) sections.
The 6.5km track, part of the Straggler's Loop trail, has been developed specifically for the event and traverses areas through rocky outcrops, and even a small gum forest on the northern edge of Jack's Point resort, before returning to the internal trails.
"The course was in great condition and reversal of direction from the previous years was very well received. The extraordinary growth during this spring prompted the change of direction, and careful consideration of climbing angles and routes through the matagouri gave a good balance to the course," says Race Director Geoff Hunt.
"We are pleased with the turnout and the weather was ideal for the race, with a dying southerly, and overcast and at times cool conditions. There was some strong competition amongst both the individuals and teams, and overall the shorter course was slightly faster than last year."
Portegys did battle throughout the race with Milan Brodina (Geraldine) who completed 18 laps before the finish siren sounded at 6pm. These top two individuals had ridden together for the first half of the event before, however Portegys made a decisive move during lap 10 and opened up a 30secs lead which he extended to 3 mins by lap 14. This was the telling move, he had broken the spirit and momentum of Brodina who rode on strongly for second place.
Top female individual was well known Wanaka multisporter Floortje Draisma who finished in 17 laps with a riding time of 7hrs 46mins 58secs beating Harriet Miller (Dunedin) who finished in second place, clocking fifteen laps.
The highest number of laps was recorded by the young Wanaka team "Unspoken 1", achieving 20 laps to win the junior male division ahead of team "What Eva" (Alexandra) on 16 laps. Third placed Unspoken 2 (Wanaka) also made 14 laps.
The fastest lap of the day was also recorded by the "Unspoken 1" team in 20m43s. The Junior Mixed team of Nicole and Sam (Alexandra) completed 15 laps.
The Open Men's division was won by the sponsorsed team "Patagonia 1" (Christchurch / Queenstown) in 17 laps ahead of team "29ers rule", also on 17 laps, and The Nevis Boys (Queenstown) on 16 laps.
The Veteran Men's category went to Rusty Demons (Invercargill) on 18 laps and Pink Paws Anderson (Queenstown) won the Veteran Women's in 14 laps.
The Veteran Mixed division was won by another Patagonia team, with company principals Hamish and Jenny Cochran each contributing three laps to their team success.
Wanaka riders 'Mopsy and Scott' won the mixed team division with 18 laps. "It was pretty hard and really challenging but really good," Mopsy was heard to comment.
Patagonia Director Hamish Cochran, who also competed along with most of the management of the Nevada Sport company, was upbeat about the event.
"It has grown this year and will undoubtedly become an even bigger event as more people become aware of it. It's a tough ride but this year made easier by the change of direction."
" You can ride it as hard or as easy as you like which means bikers of all levels can enter. It has a good synergy with our clothing range and we like the relaxed atmosphere that 8hrs@Jacks has. Throughout the day you get to know the riders as they come through the circuit at the base village area, and there's lots of friendly rivalry."