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Sunday, 26 November 2017 12:32 am

Karori downhill tough, but tamed by national champ Sarah Atkin

BIG COMPETITION: Woman's Downhill Mountain Bike Champ Sarah Atkin at the Karori Skyline Reserve downhill track. Sarah placed 22 in the race. IMAGE: Amanda Carrington

BIG COMPETITION: Woman’s Downhill Mountain Bike Champ Sarah Atkin at the Karori Skyline Reserve downhill track. Sarah placed 22 in the race. IMAGE: Amanda Carrington

SARAH Atkin’s goal is “to stay upright” on a mountain bike, and in just six years it has taken her around the world.

The national and Oceania woman’s downhill mountain bike champ achieved her upright goal against an all-male line-up in the Wellington Downhill Series last week.

In round two at Skyline Reserve, Karori, on Saturday Atkins placed 22nd overall with a time of 2m 30sec for the 980m course.

Forty-four riders from the Wellington Mountain Bike Club competed in the race, each wearing a full face helmet and neck protection.

This has been the 21 year old from Lower Hutt woman’s world since she started mountain biking at the age of 15.

She started competing the moment she started riding and has travelled overseas to compete in world cups with sponsorship from Evil Bikes, Adrenaline Mountain Bike NZ and Flare Clothing.

“I’ve travelled to Meribel in France and competed in the final world cup round,” she says.

Sarah’s favourite track in Wellington is a Wainuiomata trail, and she says the track she raced in Karori on Saturday is one of the hardest she’s ridden.

The track winds through the bush above Karori Park and is one of the many tracks the Wellington Mountain Bike Club has built.

Club president Dave Preece says riders do not have to have experience to join the mountain bike club.

“As long as you feel comfortable, you’ll be fine.

“We do encourage people of all experience or people who are just getting into it to ride alongside those who have been racing internationally,” he says.

The club has built, managed and maintained tracks at Long Gully, Karori, Makara Peak, Mount Victoria and Miramar.

Mr Preece says the money the club raises in its events and funding goes back into the trails in Wellington so the club can give back to the riders and the public.

“Most of the trails here in Wellington, if not all of them, get dual use so they [the public] get a benefit out of the trail building that we do also,” he says.

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