A rare chance to ride the runway…
Rotorua’s airport runway will become a race track for the first two events on the first night of the Rotorua Bike Festival.
The festival will see two new events run on Friday, February 13 – Ride the Runway and The Flying Kilo.
The events offer riders the chance to ride on the runway of the city’s airport, a rare treat for members of the public.
The airport’s business development manager Anna Rodgers said the idea came about after a conversation with bike festival organisers.
“Because Rotorua is a secure airfield it is unusual to have members of the public on the runway, so this had to be organised with our fire service team, Aviation Security and Airways New Zealand because we will be shutting down the airspace over the airport for the event,” she said.
She said the idea “was not as scary as we first thought, so here we are”.
The evening will take off with Ride the Runway, a family event for the general public, and end with The Flying Kilo, a 1km straight line drag race for professional riders.
There will also be a 4km race for any members of the public who are feeling a bit competitive, according to Rotorua Bike Festival ambassador and deputy mayor Dave Donaldson.
“It is a rare, possibly first ever, chance for cyclists to ride the runway, but more exciting is the opportunity for the public to see the stars of elite cycling open their throttles in the inaugural flying kilo event.”
Olympian, Tour de France professional and Rotorua local Julian Dean said he and his sons Tanner, 9, and Val, 6, would be riding in the family event.
“It should be a lot of fun and really different, something the whole family can get involved in.”
Mr Dean said it would be the first time he has been in Rotorua for the bike festival and was looking forward to the celebration of all things cycling.
He said he was also considering competing in the Redwoods Coast event.
Rotorua Event and Venues major events co-ordinator Jason Cameron had been working with BikeNZ to bring some high-profile Kiwi and Australian riders to Rotorua for the Flying Kilo event which has attracted some decent prize money for the winners.
Riders can register for either event at the airport on the night from 6pm. Racing starts at 7.40pm and parking at the airport will be free for Bike Festival event entrants.