Building on the success of the Santa Cruz, Juliana & Ibis young guns team during the 2017/18 New Zealand Mountain Bike season Hyperformance Hardware are pleased to introduce to you the 2019 line up of young guns. These characters are primed to represent two of our core brands this summer in the cross country, enduro and downhill disciplines. Hyperformance Hardware have proudly supported young talent for many years and continue to do so for 2019.
On the big travel gravity racing front we have Finn Hawkesby-Browne (16), Tuhoto Ariki-Pene (17) and Brady Stone (18) representing the Santa Cruz brand as well as Emma Bateup (19) representing the Juliana brand.
On the shorter travel front we have Jess Manchester (18) and Bec’s Hufflett (14) representing for cross country and select enduro events.
Like any ‘development’ team the young guns must be kept in line and shown a trick or two by an old dog from time to time. That’s where New Zealand downhill artefacts Kieran Bennett and Cam Cole come in. as two of New Zealand’s most experienced and successful gravity racers they will join the team at select events through out the remainder of the season and act as mentors to another generation of competitive kiwi mountain bikers.
Alongside these young guns Hyperformance Hardware continues to support a rad selection of free agents and shop riders with a focus on supporting youth and talent in mountain biking across New Zealand.
A new era for Kiwi Downhill Racing - Santa Cruz 29 V10
2019 Highlights so far for the gravity side of the team include a dusty showing at the 2019 New Zealand downhill Open in Christchurch. This event doubled as the first event for the Santa Cruz V10 29 which arrived in New Zealand just hours before practice began. Hyperformance riders placed well despite only a few runs on the bikes before laying down race runs. Kieran Bennett came in 5th and Finn Hawkesby-Brown 6th in the open men, as a first year under 19 rider. The following weekend saw the beginning of the New Zealand National Series kicking off at Dome Valley near Auckland. Entering his second year as an under 19 category rider Tuhoto Ariki-Pene lit up the junior field at the first round with fellow Santa Cruz rider Finn Hawkesby-Brown pulling an impressive 3rd place on the unfamiliar clay of the far north. Most comments from those who have ridden the new V10 29er are far too explicit to report so unfortunately, we don’t have any quotes from our riders to pen in this article. However, the first lot of results after only a few runs on the bikes speak for themselves. Expect to see an arsenal of V10 29er’s under the gravity guns at Round 2 of the National Downhill series this coming weekend in Christchurch.
Brady Stone of Nelson has been leading the Hyperformance Hardware charge on the big and all mountain front. Brady and Finn have posted consistent results across the enduro season so far with both riders frequenting the podiums at the Mammoth Enduro (Nelson), 3 Peaks Enduro (Dunedin), the Dodzy Memorial Enduro (Nelson) and the Pheonix EWS Asia Pacific event (Christchurch) this season. Emma Bateup has missed out on competing at many events this season with recurring shoulder dislocations and is due to have shoulder surgery this week. In true Hyperformance style she has contributed meaningfully to the mountain bike community in her volunteer efforts this season.
XCO Whippet Guns
Jess and Bec’s cross country antics for 2019 began at the South Island XCO champs at Halswell Quarry in Christchurch before heading north to Palmerston North’s Arapuke Trails. Bec’s claimed 1st in the under 17 women’s at both the North Island and South Island XCO champs. Jess re-entered Elite cross-country racing after some time off and slotted into 3rd place with some room for improvement before National Championships in her new home town of Rotorua on the 16th and 17th of March.
The next test for the downhill squad is Round 2 of the National downhill series in Christchurch at the Christchurch Adventure Park this coming weekend (24th February). Followed by Round 3 which has been moved from Nelson to Cardona on March 2nd due to the situation with the fires. The next big one for the all mountaineers is the NZ Enduro March 8th – 10th (Top of the South Island), before both gravity and anti-gravity riders tackle the National Championship in Rotorua on the 16th and 17th of March and of course Crankworx Rotorua the following week.