Returning once again to the Queenstown Bike Festival line-up is the Iconic Vertigo Bikes Dirtmasters Downhill. This thrill and spill encrusted downhill race has become a firm favourite and an event local competitors and those from far and wide come to test themselves in.
Starting at the summit of the Queenstown Bike Park, and with the support of the Skyline Gondola, the course designed by local downhill race designer guru Blair Christmas takes in the best the bike park has to offer.
Riders can expect a mix of flowing fun and white knuckle technical sections that will challenge both the casual downhill rider and the pros alike.
Set to UCI standards, the course has everything an experienced downhiller is looking for - speed, drops, air and enough challenge to get their palms sweaty just thinking about it.
Local Vertigo Bikes have been a firm supporter of the Queenstown Bike Festival since its inception, and have stepped up their backing by becoming the event's title sponsors this year.
"We couldn't but step up and get fully behind this event. It fits with our core mountain bike culture, we support riders as young as 11 years old to do it, and we can't wait to be at the start line ourselves".
"The event has built up nicely over the last two years, and has truly reached international standard, attracting the best NZ Downhill riders, all top 10 world racers."
Queenstown Bike Festival Race Director Geoff Hunt says: "It's no wonder many people view this event as one of the highlights of the entire Queenstown Bike Festival."
"The course is not only thrilling for the riders, it's also very spectator friendly. The finish in particular, down the Brecon Street steps, is a must watch for local sporting fans and there's a definitive festive party atmosphere thanks to the support of local business like the Lone Star."
Live DJ's will be spinning tunes as the riders literally finish in the heart of Queenstown.
Entries are open now and space is filling fast for the event.
Race day is Wednesday, March 27th with the day previous set aside for on-course practice and seeding runs.
There are race categories for juniors, open, vets and masters in both the male and female divisions.
Not for the faint hearted or the inexperienced - but for those who like a bit of extra sugar in their tea, this is one to mark on the calendar.
For further information and to register for the race visit the Queenstown Bike Festival website: http://www.queenstownbikefestival.com/
The Vertigo Bikes Dirtmasters Downhill is part of the Queenstown Bike Festival, which runs from the 22nd March to 1st April 2013.
The Queenstown Bike Festival, "It's all about the bike...and more", is a ten day festival combining more than 25 events featuring all type of bikes, be it mountain bikes, downhill, cross-country, or road bikes through a diversity of events that you participate in, support or just watch.
Jacob Hunter - Australia 27th -DIRTMASTER-DH-Patrick Fallon photo