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Good to go . . . Young riders (from left) Ike Newlands-Carter, Ned Newlands-Carter, Josh De Jong, and Hoani Kiwara are eager to try out the trails. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

“A roaring success tracks, views and challenges that we could ask for” was a Blenheim rider’s impression of last weekend’s Five Forks Foothills Trail Ride.

The event was held as the Five Forks School’s main annual fundraiser for the 15th time. Principal Belinda Brosnan said it was the best example of a school and an incredibly supportive rural community working together to run an event to benefit the district.

“And have a lot of fun doing so, bringing together school families, local identities, businesses and farmers to resource this major fundraising effort.”

Five Forks farmer and parent Jane Smith said the support from local businesses and farmers was outstanding.

“We couldn’t have done it without our landowners and North Otago’s generous rural businesses for providing sponsorship,” Mrs Smith said.

“Every farmer had to change their stock logistics around to work in with our event, which we are particularly grateful for.

“Our track-marking teams worked for days to get over 80km of trails blazed and up to a safe yet challenging standard for all levels of riders, and the feedback has been very positive for our growing event.

“Special thanks to the gun riders that we pull in to the marshall team to support our school parents – they work really hard riding for over eight hours each day, with a pay rate of bacon butties and burgers.”

More than 550 riders took part, coming from as far away as Dannevirke in Hawke’s Bay.

Committee member Amy Francis thanked the North Otago Land Search and Rescue team for its expertise and use of its specialised mobile unit throughout the weekend. That meant the track marshalls and St John crew were “well connected and keeping all riders safe”.

The amount of money raised was not yet finalised but it would exceed $20,000.

The 2021 dates would be March 6 and 7.

“The locals are already eyeing up some even more challenging ridges and gullies for next year,” Mrs Smith said.