Just for fun, we thought we’d wind back the memory banks, dip into our photos archive at BikesportNZ.com and re-live the great occasion.
It was trees and rocks, gravel and boulders versus glass, tar seal, aluminium, concrete and steel.
It was motocross versus trials, enduro versus cross-country.
It was international riders versus New Zealand’s elite.
This was the inaugural Red Bull City Scramble in downtown Auckland in June 2009 and it was Whitby’s Rory Mead who celebrated most, “earning his wings” by beating them all.
The dream-child of Kiwi international Chris Birch, the Red Bull-sponsored KTM bike rider bringing his sport – one that is more typically staged in the deep, dark bush of the countryside – to the masses in the nation’s most heavily-populated and most cosmopolitan of cities.
What’s more, Birch emerged as the early favourite, setting the fastest time in qualifying around the man-made off-road circuit, set up in the car park area of Britomart Square, near the bottom of Queen Street.
But it was not to be, with national enduro championship rival Mead (Yamaha) snatching the best possible start in the feature final and riding virtually unopposed to victory.
Birch settled for runner-up spot, with German visitor Andreas Lettenbichler finishing third.
Birch was philosophical in defeat.
“I achieved what I set out to do, bringing my sport to mainstream New Zealand. I didn’t win but, in a way, I still did. Enduro racing is typically carried out a long way from any population base. Today was very different.
“I was just too tired to make a race of it with Rory in the end. I made a wrong decision soon after the start (of the final) and got caught up in a barrier. I pushed hard to catch up but ran out of energy.”
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
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