Labour weekend is always an action packed weekend in Taupō, but adding arguably the best event on the BMX NZ calendar with 700 odd BMX’ers to the district just made it even better!
It all started with the email from BMXNZ a few years before congratulating us on being selected to host the Norths in 2015. After the shock had died down – we honestly did not think we would have been chosen, the wheels started turning. The Norths Committee was born and things started moving towards 2015.
The build up leading to the 2015 North Island Titles was enormous – not just with the extra gate sessions and the swelling numbers at Club nights but everything that goes on behind the scenes. Only those who have hosted a major event could understand the work that goes into this. The millions of meetings and the endless weekend after weekend working bees!
As we rolled closer to October, Taupō hosted the final of the Central Region Winter Series at the beginning of September. We were taken by surprise at registration when over 200 riders turned up for racing. This set the mood for the following weeks where the neighbours would enjoy the dulcet tones of the cadence for the numerous gate sessions and our double dipping of club nights!
The Taupō track did prove a bit of challenge for many riders who had not taken the opportunity to ride it before the trials. We saw some intense racing from the trialists, with Taupō boys Michael Ranford and Mark Harland-Croft both gaining places in both teams.
The highlight of North’s is of course the Trans-Tasman racing. It was great to play host to the Australian Test Teams, both Mighty 11s and the Seniors.
A big part of the Norths is the Test Team dinner, which we hosted at Suncourt Hotel and Conference Centre. We enlisted the help of the Taupō-Nui-A-Tia Kapa Haka group to entertain, and entertain they did! Geoff Rameka and his rōpū took to the floor for half an hour of intense cultural entertainment. After all, the purpose of the Mighty 11’s is a ‘cultural exchange’! The Aussies loved it, and so did we!
Saturday morning came pretty fast. Everything was going well until the gate started hitting hard and no amount of tweaking could get it right. Before racing started, we had to re-rivet the gate skin and on the Saturday night, the mig-welder was wheeled in to weld up the cracks.
The weather forecast was not looking good and practice session was wet and miserable. About 5 minutes before the opening ceremony, the weather that we had booked in from Met Service started arriving. The clouds cleared and there was not another drop of rain for the weekend!
The opening ceremony was performed well. MC’d by Donna, Warren Boggiss, Sharon Cheeseman, our Mayor David Trewavas, Norm McCann and myself did the speeches. The riders oaths were read by Matt Collins and Abby Hirst. The anthems were performed live and went without a hitch by Mikayla Pointon.
Onto the Mighty’s Haka! WOW! Enhanced by the Kapa Haka group that performed at the Test Team Dinner, the boys and girls took up the opportunity that Geoff Rameka offered and spent quite a bit of time at the Taupō-Nui-A-Tia Wharenui practicing and perfecting their Haka. Led by Cooper Merito, the Haka was performed to perfection and the challenge laid down. With that, the 2015 North Island Titles were opened. As soon as racing was underway on Saturday morning, all the stress washed away and I was left wondering what the big deal was!
Sunday saw a cracker of a day – blue skies, sun and no wind! Racing was fast and furious with finals on the line and of course the Test Teams riding hard. We are so proud that New Zealand won all the Mighty and Senior Test Team racing over the weekend and retained the trophies. The Taupō Soccer Club opened their clubrooms and bar for prize giving, which was well received by all.
Thanks to all who helped make the 2015 North Island Titles what it was. We could not have done it without all your help and support.
See you trackside in 2016.
Taupo BMX Club