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Leading the way . . . Waitaki Boys' High School mountain bikers (back, from left) Vandy Selfe, Taz Selfe, Blain Hamilton, (front, from left) Harrison Weir and Cade Hamilton. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Herbert Forest was heaving with young mountain bikers competing at the Aoraki secondary schools championships on Sunday.

There were just under 80 entries for the enduro and cross country events, about 10 fewer than previous years, event organiser Blair Selfe said.

That was to be expected, Selfe said, as Covid-19 restrictions meant the event clashed with winter sports, with many seasons extended this year.

“But the standard was just as high,” he said.

Waitaki Boys’ High School, St Kevin’s College and Oamaru Intermediate School were all represented at the event Waitaki Boys’ mountain bikers led the way.

In the enduro events, Harrison Weir won the under-15 title (11min 7.5sec) and Blain Hamilton was crowned under-19 champion (10min 06.6sec)

Waitaki Boys’ pupils also took the top three positions in the under-19 boys’ cross country event won by six minutes over second-placed Blain Hamilton (1hr 14min 44.8sec) and Vandy Selfe, who placed third with a time of 1hr 22min 12.9sec.

Waitaki Boys’ mountain bikers Jakob Cunningham and Jonty Nelson placed first and third respectively in the under-17 boys’ cross country.

North Otago has hosted the Aoraki event for the past three years.

Herbert Forest was chosen as this year’s location, instead of Cape Wanbrow, because of the expanding network of tracks.

“The tracks were in perfect condition – the whole day was perfect, the weather, couldn’t get a better day for it, really.”

It was also a good opportunity to publicise the mountain biking opportunities in North Otago to riders from around the Aoraki region.

Selfe thanked volunteers for giving up their time to help the event run smoothly.