A time trial will be run up Admiral Hill for next year’s inaugural Australasian Masters championships. PHOTO/FILE

Wairarapa to host inaugural Australasian Masters festival

CYCLING

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Wairarapa’s reputation as a top-class race cycling venue has been enhanced with the announcement that another international event will be held here next year.

The inaugural Australasian Masters championships will be held over Easter weekend [April 10-13].

The championships will encompass three separate events – a criterium, a time trial, and a road race.

The races will be held on circuits already used for the New Zealand Cycle Classic and the Trust House North Island teams series.

The event, sanctioned by Cycling New Zealand, is expected to attract masters’ cyclists from around New Zealand and Australia, including past national champions.

It will be the first time a masters’ championship will be held in New Zealand and race director Jorge Sandoval believes the timing is perfect.

“Masters riders commonly provide the largest number of participants in fun races and competitive races in New Zealand,” Sandoval said.

“Between September to May each year, club races are held with men and women over the age of 35 years getting out on their bikes and giving it their all,” he said.

“The inaugural Australasian Masters champs will not only fill a gap in the market for riders but also attract lots more riders and their families to Wairarapa which already hosts the only Union Cycliste Internationale-sanctioned stage race in New Zealand – the NZ Cycle Classic – and the Trust House North Island series for our top male riders.”

Sandoval said the event was likely to attract some top-class cyclists.

“There could be some past international champions such as [1992 Olympic bronze medallist] Gary Anderson and some of the Australian big names from the past.

“In every grade, there will likely be a lot of guys who used to race professionally.”

Destination Wairarapa general manager David Hancock said the event would have plenty of benefits for the region.

“Wairarapa’s proximity to Wellington, the diversity of race routes and terrain available plus quality accommodation means we’re a top cycling choice.

“Easter sees settled late summer weather and popular events such as the Wairarapa Balloon Festival being held across the region too,” he said.

The championships will be raced in four age groups – 35-44, 45-54, 55-59, and 60 plus – with social and competitive grades.

Each group will race a 10km hill climb time trial up Admiral Hill, a criterium at Masterton Motorplex, a venue traditionally used for drag racing, and a road race on the outskirts of Carterton.

“The championships will provide masters of all ages the opportunity to compete against other riders of like abilities, whether that be in the social grade or super competitive,” Sandoval said.

Registrations for the championships open on August 12 on the event website.