Over 1800 mountain bikers ready to race in Rotorua at the Whaka.
The 2020 Whaka 100 in New Zealand has attracted a record field both in terms of the quantity and the quality of riders. All up 600 riders will be tackling the 100km event with in excess of 1,800 toeing the line across the five MTB events on offer.
The popularity of the event has been mirrored in the depth of the elite fields too, with COVID-19 putting the Whaka 100 firmly on the bucket list of top professional athletes from across a variety of cycling and multisport disciplines.
As race director Tim Farmer explained, 2020 has ended up being a big year for the event and for riders from around New Zealand:
“Covid-19 certainly threw us a few curveballs, however one of the positives is that it has helped to give us the best field we’ve ever seen. Normally lots of our pros athletes would normally be overseas racing or recovering from their Northern Hemisphere campaign at this time of year, but with many staying safe and staying home they’ve finally got a chance to tackle the Whaka 100 and put another tick on their bucklist of iconic New Zealand events. All up we’ve got over 60 elite riders entered from the road, mountain biking, and multisport scenes all lining up to see who’s the toughest – I can’t wait.”
In the men’s elite field defending champion Tim Rush is back to see if he can make it three wins from three events. Standing in his way is the deepest mens field ever assembled for the race including star Ironman triathlete Terrenzo Bozzone, Enduro World Series campaigner Sam Shaw, Pan American Xterra Champion Sam Osbourne, and Coast to Coast legend Sam Clark.
In the women’s field marathon specialist Josie Wilcox is back after a break in 2019 to see if she can take a third title to go with her emphatic wins in 2017 and 2018. Keeping Josie honest will be 2005 World Mountain Running Champion Kate McIlroy, who also has a top 10 finish at the 2012 London Olympics in triathlon and a 3rd place in the Elite Road Cycling Nationals to her name - will Kate be able to spoil the party for Josie? A potential wild card in the womens race is Xterra Asia Pacific Champion Samantha Kingsford.
All the action kicks off at the Waipa MTB Hub on Friday night with the elite Fat Tyre Criterium and runs all the way through the weekend with the We Run the Forest trail running events on Saturday and the Whaka 100 (and other distances) rolling out from 7.45am onwards on Sunday. All up over 3,500 athletes will be taking part across the weekend with over 90% coming from outside of Rotorua.