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Slopestyles - Queenstown Bike Festival 2014

Slopestyles - Queenstown Bike Festival 2014

Posted by Dave Fahey: 20th Apr 2014 @ 22:07:41

As the sun disappeared behind the hills the lights kicked into gear and the music cranked as the Ballarat car park swelled with people wanting to get a glimpse of the 2014 Slopestyles.

The signature event of bike fest is New Zealand’s only Freeride Mountain Bike (FMB) World Tour 2014 event. Every year 300 cubic meters of pristine dirt are trucked into the Ballarat St car park and sculpted into jumps and landings for the six feature course. Riders begin dropping in from a 6 meter scaffold before scaling the 5.4m high quarter to wall hip. From here riders line up the main line of features with a in and out fruit bowl dropping elevation and increasing speed into the ‘money’ booter before tricking out with the 2 quarter hits to wall ride.

Not even the frigid wind whipping through the crowd could diminish spirits and as practice run progressed, riders found their flow.  Spurred on by onlookers both amateur and pro riders pushed the size and difficulty of tricks to the next level as they battled it out for the $6000 prize pool.

As you look through crowd everybody’s eyes are glued to the sky and focused on the action unfolding. The event is a visual spectacular which appeals to all. It really doesn’t take too much of an understanding of biking to know that someone meters in the air, upside down with a bike spinning around them is both insanely skillful, but requires nerves of steel.

Local man of all things biking Connor Macfarlane, finally managed to nab the win after three years of trying. Along with the bragging rights he also secured the bootie of $1300, in the event sponsored by one of his key sponsors Mons Royale – the local Wanaka merino clothing brand. He narrowly edged out young Wanaka rider Elmo Cotter by two points as the two battled it out for the entire evening.

Veolia water added to the prize pool this year donating $2000 with $1000 going directly to the winner off the best trick comp. Judged on a separate jam session off the ‘money booter’. Unlike the main event, best trick was open to both mtb and bmx riders, much to the delight of Paul Langland who walked away with a crisp $1000 after wowing the crowd and judges landing his first ever front flip tail whip in competition.

With Teva now off the scene as the major sponsor and funder of the event, let’s all hope that Queenstown Bike Festival finds someone else as committed to slopestyle to provide the funding necessary to keep an event like this ticking.

I’m already looking forward to Bike fest 2015.

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