The Manawatu region in the north island of New Zealand, is well known for hosting enduring sporting events. The annual Gravel and Tar Classic for professional male cyclists introduced two new events this year – Gravel and Tar La Femme (for professional women cyclists) and the Manawatu Slicks and Stones 100 for amateur cyclists.
The Manawatū Slicks and Stones 100 is steering to become an illustrious event on the NZ national sporting calendar. It is open for amateur cyclists on the same day as the professional races, and travels over a similar gravel and tar circuit. Already touted as ‘one of the toughest events in the Southern Hemisphere’ – it’s expected to become a ‘mark your calendar’ event for amateur cyclists seeking the ultimate sporting challenge.
A participant in this year’s Slicks and Stones commented afterwards that the event was excellent with a fantastic group of riders who were friendly and helpful. While they admitted to losing “some skin and a bit of pride”, they enjoyed the event immensely and look forward to returning in 2020.
Many entrants made the same comment and are spreading the word and expect that the Slicks and Stones will grow into a much larger and renowned event. In 2020 it’s being held on Saturday 25th January.
This year, Gravel and Tar La Femme, paid equal prize money with the men – one of the first events in the cycling world to do so. “Our race is leading the development of professionalism in women’s cycling,” said Greasy Chain Charitable Trust Chair, Steve Stannard.
The first winner of the event, Australia’s Brodie Chapman said, “It was the most fun I’ve had on the bike – ever!”
Palmerston North City Council is again partnering with event organisers for 2020. Sacha Haskell, General Manager, Marketing and Communications agreed that the events all have the potential to grow into becoming internationally renowned. “Having UCI status for both the men’s and women’s races means the arduous course will attract top national and international riders – and we want to help make this local event become a highlight on the national sports calendar. Slicks and Stones gives amateur rides a chance to test their skills in a challenging and picturesque setting.”
Major bank Westpac can also see a bright future for the Slicks and Stones 100 and the benefits it will bring to the Manawatu and have come onboard as a major supporter for the next three years. The Greasy Chain Charitable Trust which manages all three events, recently launched the Slicks and Stones with a ’48-hour Flash Sale’ starting on Friday 13th at the crazy entry fee of just NZ$50!
Note: The Greasy Chain Charitable Trust is a charitable organisation dedicated to improving the health of all residents of the Manawatū by conducting educational workshops such as Powering Girls; school, business and community group presentations; organised cycling programmes such as ‘Ride to Work’, ‘Ride to School’ and Family Fun Rides.
The Gravel and Tar Classic and La Femme, and the Slicks and Stones 100 are run as ‘flagship’ events to highlight the benefits healthy exercise such as cycling can bring to all.