Title: Two Wheelers poised to take over Pukekohe Park Raceway
Fancy a blat on a bike around the famous Pukekohe Park Raceway which is normally reserved for the V8s?
Well this October cyclists who enter the Ebbett Pukekohe Counties Cycle Classic get to do just that as the race switches venues from Pukekohe Intermediate School to the iconic race track.
Organiser Graham Russell says he’s delighted to have snared a spot on the Raceway’s calendar as the V8s are probably what Pukekohe is best known for after its onions!
Following the inaugural Counties Cycle Classic last year, the Rotary Club of Pukekohe Inc. is staging the event again this year on Sunday 14 October with entrants getting to do a lap round the track at the start and finish of the event, greatly adding to the “wow” factor of the event.
“We’ll also open up the racecourse for children to take a spin on their bikes” says Russell, “we want to get as many locals as possible involved in this event. It is our intention to make it a family day where anyone with a bike can get involved.
Last year he estimates 4000 people were directly or indirectly involved in the Classic, earning renewed support from the Auckland Council’s Franklin Local Board which has again provided a solid donation to help stage the event.
As well as slightly longer road rides for standard bikes this year, there will again be a challenge for e-bikes sponsored by Counties Power. Rather than a straight out race, the e-bike section will be a timed trial with the rider closest to the target taking the prize.
There are three distances to choose from: 42km for a fun ride, 52km for intermediate cyclists, and 97km for those who want a serious challenge. The e-bikes will run the 52km course. All of the rides take you through picturesque Franklin Countryside, the heart of New Zealand’s most fertile vegetable-growing district.
Russell says the feedback from last year’s event was largely positive, and organisers have taken on board the lessons learned where things did not run as smoothly as hoped.
“We’re in this for the long haul, and aim to get better and better, bigger and bigger year on year.” It is hoped the Cycle Classic will become a major fundraiser for Pukekohe Rotary along with the club’s popular golf tournament.
Last year the club raised some $42,000 and distributed it to more than 30 local, national, and international causes including Cancer research, sports clubs, emergency response kits (Pacific Island disaster relief), International youth exchange, Counties District Police with defibrillators, Outward Bound and Spirit of Adventure, Youth leadership Programs and various programmes of assistance like the Student Science course and Franklin School science competition as well as development of young people in our region.
Russell says the timing of this year’s race is two weeks before the K2 cycle event on the Coromandel and six weeks ahead of the Taupo cycle challenge. “So our event will be a good training ride for serious cyclists or a fun day out for more casual riders. The date in November last year clashed with school exams, so we’re hoping the earlier date this year will attract school cycle teams as well.”
Russell says anyone with a bike is encouraged to enter for a fun day, and details of the event along with a link to register can be found on the website: www.countiescycleclassic.co.nz Early bird prices apply through to the end of August.