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Matarangi Intrigue

May 23, 2003

Favourites win NZ's newest mountain bike race

By Michael Jacques

Coromandel hosted New Zealand's newest mountain bike race on Saturday 23 May, a race that many said could catch on as one of the country's toughest two wheel challenges.

As if a 72km race through the rugged ranges of the Coromandel Peninsula wasn't enough, torrential rain made the inaugural Matarangi Intrigue one of the toughest mountain bike races New Zealand has ever seen.

In a race that at times was more akin to a mud bath and included 1500m of climbing, winners (taking home NZ$ 1000 prize money each) Michael May and Sadie Parker likened the demanding Coromandel event to mountain biking like it used to be; with the emphasis as much on personal challenge as placings and times.

May took first overall in the feature 72km event, clocking 4.46.51 to beat local Coromandel teenager Miles Watson. May is the country's 15th ranked mountain biker, while Watson in the number two junior. In a stirring battle May held out the 17-year-old local hero by just 36 seconds. Taupo multisporter Craig Stevens filled third 10 minutes behind.

The women's race was clearer cut, with mountain bike ace Sadie Parker illustrating her international class. In a race billed as the showdown between mountain biker and road cyclist, Parker convincingly defeated Commonwealth games road cyclist Rosalind Reekie-May by 10 minutes.

More than 300 riders turned out, with many commenting on the hilly and very muddy course as being the hardest ride of their life. In the 40km short course race Aucklanders Marion Spriggle and Joanna Gosse had to settle for a tie after battling each other for the four and half hours. After winning the men's short course, Auckland multisporter Phil Wood likened it more to an adventure.

Results, 72 km

1 Michael May                   4.46.51
2 Miles Watson                     0.36
3 Craig Stevens              app. 10.00
1 Sadie Parker
2 Rosalind Reekie-May        app. 10.00
Short course
1 Phil Wood
1 Marion Spriggle
=1 Joanna Gosse 

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