A very “happy and proud” Ben Mitchell is the new record holder of the youngest mountain biker to have completed the 50km Karapoti Classic.
The 9-year-old Ngaio school student aimed to complete today’s race in under 6 hours, but secretly hoped to beat 4 hours and 30 minutes.
He came pretty close after crossing the finish line with daddy, Pete Mitchell, in 4 hours and 41 minutes this afternoon.
The final climb was pretty tough according to the brave athlete and with the record now he plans to come back next year and break a personal best.
“The track was pretty muddy and I was sliding quite a bit but I’m really happy with how everything turned out,” he said.
Mum, Nicola Mitchell, said she was incredibly surprised to see her son and husband cross the finish line so early.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m very proud. “
She said that of all the races Ben could have tackled, he picked a “real monster.”
Ben won the title of youngest mountain biker from Wellingtonian Eden Cruise, who was two months older than Ben when he first entered the race.
Now 14 and an emerging star on the mountain bike circuit, Eden finished fourth in the pro-elite category in 2 hours and 18 minutes, just 11 minutes behind overall winner Anton Cooper.
The event also includes a shorter 20 km race and a 5 km children’s event.
The Hicks family maximized those two distances with dad, Dave Hicks taking his 2 year old son Jack for a ride in the 20km event while his two older sons, Rhys, 7, and Tom, 9, competed. at 5 km.
MTB’s pedigree comes from mom, Robyn Wong, who competed in the Athens Olympics for New Zealand.
She had planned to participate today before breaking her Achilles tendon during a basketball game two weeks ago.
Mr. Hicks said the event was very well supported and all of the contestants cheered each other on.
“It’s a really family day and everyone has a really good attitude about it.”