Organizers of the first-ever New Zealand Singlespeed Mountain Bike Championship locked in their date and two major sponsors. Iconic local pub the Pig & Whistle will sponsor along with Speights (beer brewers) the race to be held on Saturday, April 26, 2008, in Whakarewarewa Forest.
"One geared mountain biking is tough," said Gregg Brown, owner of the Pig & Whistle, the official watering hole for the weekend and a passionate mountain biker, himself. "But singlespeeders like to have fun and party after a hard day on the trails so it's a perfect fit for both the pub and Speights."
While the idea is to have fun there will also be a very serious side to the event. "Singlespeeding is growing every year both here and overseas," said Graeme Simpson, another member of the organizing team. "The World Championships in Sweden in 2006 and Scotland in 2007 attracted over 300 riders and a lot of them came from top pro and national teams."
The 2008 World Singlespeed Championships will be held in Napa, California in August. "We're determined to help our champion get to the Worlds," added Simpson, "and maybe have a crack at getting the event here in 2009 or 2010."
The Rotorua Singlespeed Society was recently formed by local enthusiasts and will be host club for the championships. Riders from all around New Zealand will come to town for a long weekend festival of biking, which is conveniently tied to a public holiday, Anzac Day, when New Zealand and Australia commemorate those who sacrificed their lives in war-time," said Simpson. "We're planning to attend the dawn parade as a group and then have other events in the afternoon. Saturday will be race day with a big celebration that night."
Rotorua hosted the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships. It was the first time the event was held in the Southern Hemisphere in ten years.