Nelson and Auckland riders claim senior titles in first schools enduro


Nelson’s Todd Ballance and Auckland’s Poppy Buissink etched their names as the first senior winners of the Fox Enduro at the National Schools Mountain Bike Championships in Dunedin.

The event, hosted by Mountain Biking Otago and presented by Evo Cycles, has attracted over 400 riders from an impressive 110 schools around the country.

Today’s first event of the three-day championships featured Enduro racing for the first time, run over five stages at the Signal Hill Mountain Bike Park in Dunedin.

The event attracted 333 riders, staged in sunny conditions following several days of wet weather, which forced organisers to change the opening stage because of track conditions.

Ballance (Nelson College), who was second in the amateur section of the New Zealand Enduro last summer, held off national cross-country representative and Youth Olympian Max Taylor (Palmerston North Boys) by just two seconds after the accumulation of the five downhill stages.

Buissink (Epsom Girls), a podium placegetter in the under-19 category at the national championships this year, also had a high battle, to pip Dunedin’s Emma Cunningham (Taieri College) by just one second.


Benjamin Sziranyi in action on the Ginger Cougar Trail on the way to winning the under-14 boys honours in the Fox Enduro on the first day of the National Schools Mountain Bike Championships at Signal Hill, Dunedin.

Photo Credit: Jemma Wells Photography

Fastest female today was the under-16 winner Rebecca Hufflett (Nelson College) who claimed the honours in 12:23 which was more than a minute faster than any other female rider. She is the current South Island Schools champion over all three disciplines – enduro, downhill and cross-country and is also defending her national schools titles in downhill and cross-country.

“It was a bit tricky and I just tried to stay on, that was the main thing,” Hufflett said. “But it was really cool fun. The course was wet in places but much better than in practice yesterday, and they were a lot grippier than I expected.”

The under-16 winner Alex Wayman (St Bede’s College, Christchurch) impressed in claiming the honours in his age group in an accumulated time of 10:47, which was the third fastest overall.

National under-17 cross-country champion Ethan Rose (Darfield College) who held off North Canterbury’s Jacob Turner (Rangiora High) and Luke Hayman (Waitaki Boys) by five seconds in the under-17 category.

Saturday’s racing turns to downhill at the outstanding Signal Hill complex where there is a sell-out entry, with cross-country set for Sunday.

Results, Day 1, Fox Enduro:

Males, under 13: Oli Clark (Kaikoura High) 11:39, 1; Jack Collins (Christchurch South Intermediate) at 19s, 2; Echelon Topp (Raroa Intermediate) and Kayne Johnston (Ashburton Intermediate) at 1:33, equal 3. Under 14: Benjamin Sziranyi (Bohally Intermediate) 11:57, 1; Luke Wayman (Christchurch South Intermediate) at 2s, 2; Owen Bradley (Marlborough Boys) at 14s, 3. Under 15: Hamish Powell (Nelson College) 11:26, 1; Buckley Seth (Nayland College) at 34s, 2; Luke Hancock (Mt Aspiring College) at 52s, 3. Under 16: Alex Wayman (St Bedes College) 10:47, 1; Marcus Blair (Cashmere High) at 13s, 2; Cameron Beck (John Paul College) at 14s, 3. Under 17: Ethan Rose (Darfield High) 10:50, 1; Jacob Turner (Rangiora High) at 5s, 2; Luke Hayman (Waitaki Boys) same time, 3. Under 20: Todd Ballance (Nelson College) 10:35, 1; Max Taylor (Palmerston North Boys) at 10s, 2; Luke Gill (Rangiora High) at 17s, 3.

Females, under 13: Amy Benson (Mt Aspiring College) 16:21, 1; Juliet Freeman (Mt Pleasant) at 1:36, 2; Kate Hastings (John Paul) at 2:35, 3. Under 14: Milla Phipps (Rotorua Lakes High) 14:32, 1; Sacha Earnest (ACG Parnell) at 29s, 2; Winnifred Goldsbury (Beckenham) at 54s, 3. Under 15: Awen Lloyd (Nelson College) 13:25, 1; Leah Smith (Cashmere High) at 1:14, 2; Kate Day (Kapiti College) at 1:36, 3. Under 16: Rebecca Hufflett (Nelson College) 12:23, 1; Jenna Hastings (John Paul College) at 49s, 2; Abby Ross (Craighead Diocesan) at 1:17, 3. Under 17: Kalani Muirhead (Mt Aspiring College) 13:48, 1; Lily Wilson (Kerikeri High) at 3s, 2; Millie Day (Kapiti College) at 4s, 3. Under 20: Poppy Buissink (Epsom Girls) 14:44, 1; Emma Cunningham (Taieri College) at 1s, 2; Caitlin Titheridge (Mt Hutt College) 1:06, 3.