In what is destined to be an unprecedented decision for a national series mountainbike event, MTBNZ had to make the difficult decision to cancel the 3rd Round of the RaboDirect NZ MTB Cup (Downhill) in Rotorua this morning. Forecast gale force winds on top of the torrential rain overnight rendered the forest unsafe, and neither MTBNZ nor event hosts the Rotorua MTB Club felt competitor (or anyone elses') safety could be managed at an acceptable level.
MTBNZ Event Coordinator Chris Mildon had to make the final call after assessing the site and the likely weather storm still to hit today "I know that racing in these conditions is a heap of fun and in many ways safer with slippery mud completely washed from racing lines. We could still have managed rider uplift and all the other functions needed to run the event, but with the real risk of trees coming down today no-one from the event management side of this event was prepared to put riders, marshalls or spectators under those trees. Its an unwelcome first for MTBNZ to make this call but its been taken with everybodies safety as a priority concern"
Forecast bad weather all week has been on everybodies minds, with the severity of Sunday's forecast not really firming up until early in the weekend. But the wind factor has proven to be the clincher.
NZ MTB Cup Downhill competitors now have a week's break before Round Four in Nelson, February 5/6th. Cross Country competitors return to the NZ MTB Cup in Nelson the weekend after on February 13th for their Round Three, which is also a UCI Category Two event having valuable Olympic ranking points up for grabs.