Rotorua’s Sam Shaw and Manawatu’s Josie Wilcox took the win at the inaugural event, XCO Republic held in Rotorua, New Zealand, on Sunday 24th Februart. Shaw completed seven laps with a time of 01:24:53 and Wilcox completed six laps with a time of 01:21:57.
 
Shaw said it was a good event and the weather played cool.
 
“I had a slower start but kept my nutrition up and felt better towards the end of the race.”
 
Connor Johnston was in the lead until the last lap where Shaw overtook him.
 
“The last lap I felt really good to go and then Connor appeared and I managed to overtake him in the feed zone. I just kept going and carried on to the finish going as hard as I could.”
 
Shaw said the course conditions were varied.
 
“The steep climb was dusty and then you get into the open and it was real hard packed, and then it started raining and then the sun came out and it was dry again, so it kept changing around.”

Shaw on course.

 Shaw is training for a range of mountain bike events coming up in the next couple of months.
 
“There's a lot happening, there's Karapoti next week, the NZ Enduro in Blenheim, National Champs cross country, downhill, and then that leads straight into Crankworx where there's a whole bunch of events and the first round Enduro World Series after that.”
 
Connor Johnston came in second place with a time of 01:25:11.
 
He said it was a good race and he wasn't expecting to come second place.
 
“I entered open just to see how I would go and it went well so it was good.”
 
Johnston will be competing in the National Championships coming up in March.
 
“I’m looking forward to Nationals in Rotorua - it should be pretty good. And then I'll hopefully go overseas and do a bit of racing for the World Champs if I get selected.”
 
Josie Wilcox placed first in the Female open category. She said it was her third XCO.
 
“It was a really cool course, I loved it. It was challenging but fun at the same time...they were a tough six laps, it was cool, I hope Nduro Events put on another one next year.”

Shaw on course.

 Wilcox said the conditions were surprisingly good.
 
“I thought it was going to be really wet because it was forecast for rain but it dried up really quick and it was perfect.”
 
Wilcox is also training for the National Championships in Rotorua.


 
Event director Tim Farmer said it was great to have a large range of good riders from across the country competing, providing a good race and platform for future events.
 
XCO Republic is an Nduro Events non-profit event with all proceeds donated to assist U19 riders who are selected to represent New Zealand at the UCI World Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.


Photos: Ezra Newick