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2019 Mountain Bike Races

Release Wanaka offers superior accommodation options for race riders, supporters and spectators.

With an active bike club and a growing number of tracks being developed, Wanaka is becoming a mecca for mountain bikers and a hub for bike events. Release can build an unforgettable and special travel experience around your visit to Wanaka take up the challenge these events offer.

The mighty Motatapu has many rivers to cross, hills to climb and a few steep descents thrown into the mix. The Contact Epic is NZ's MTB 'Test Piece' for endurance athletes. The Red Bull Defiance race format is a new and unique combination of traditional disciplines and creative elements.


The iconic Motatapu off-road sporting event is held annually in March, traversing 47km across Motatapu, Soho and Glencoe stations. Known for its challenging yet achievable course, the event snakes its way through stunning high country terrain only accessible to the public one day a year for the Motatapu event, making it even more unique. "It can be as challenging or as easy as you want it to be, depending on your definition of easy! Set in the spectacular Southern high country valleys, there are many rivers to cross, hills to climb and a few steep descents thrown into the mix."


The Contact Epic circumnavigates the shores of Lake Hawea by mountain bike. It is a once-a-year opportunity to be part of a race and a great day out riding through the Hunter Valley and Dingle Burn high country farming stations, only achieved through special permission from the land owners. The course is undulating and varied with river and stream crossings, lots of short climbs and long descents. There is also the 95km Classic option on the same course and a shorter 35km Traverse race also starting at the Lake Hawea Dam and riding through local farming country and along the mighty Clutha and Hawea Rivers.


Red Bull Defiance is a new and unique race format that combines off road running, kayaking and mountain bike endurance disciplines, with the creative element of undisclosed special stages. Designed by Braden Currie, New Zealand’s foremost adventure and multisport racer, the course has been designed to test athletes over two challenging days, racing along side the worlds best multisport and endurance athletes. A two-person team race, the course will see athletes competing over 8 exclusive high country stations in the Wanaka region in either elite or sports category divisions.

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