SSWC10NZ - the story so far...

Race day will be Saturday October 23...Entries opened at midnight (NZ Summer Time), December 31 (New Year's Eve)...

A world championships with no entry qualification? Surely not.
Actually, yes.
The only entry criteria for the Singlespeed World Championships in New Zealand’s mountain biking mecca of Rotorua, is a one speed bike. 

“It doesn’t even have to be a mountain bike,” says Rotorua Singlespeed Society president, Gaz Sullivan. “However, the course will be a challenging one on some of the best singletrack in the Southern Hemisphere, so bike and gear selection could be important.”
Entry for the event opened online at at midnight on December 31, NZ Summer Time.
“This is a bit of a singlespeed tradition and New Zealand is the first to see the New Year, so it seemed like a very good idea,” adds Sullivan.
Over 1200 riders applied for a limited number of places at the 2008 championships in Napa, in California and nearly 1000 rode in the 2009 event in Durango, in Colorado.
“We organized places for the RSSS at Napa and Durango where it was 'first in, first served', as well,” says Dean Watson, one of the event organizers.
“Based on that experience, the advice we’re giving people is get in early. We’ve got a big forest and over 70 kilometres of fantastic trails, but entries will be limited.”
There is plenty of interest from round the world in the race.
"We’re getting emails from all over the place,” says Graeme Simpson, from the RSSS. “The majority are from the USA, which is the spiritual home of singlespeeding and where mountain biking started back in the 1970’s.
It’s also been very cool to hear from people in Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Hungary, Israel, Singapore and Japan.”
The event team feel the enthusiasm is partly to do with the nature of the Singlespeed Worlds.
Even the bidding process to get the event to Rotorua was a bit out of the ordinary.
The first round in Durango was Karaoke/American Idol elimination time, with four nations competing for two places in round 2.
In the end, New Zealand and Italy went through, with Canada and Hungary eliminated.
Round 2 was a game of Basketball with RSSS members, John McCartney, from Queenstown, and Vicki Butterworth, from Hawkes Bay, and a pick up team of locals out-lasting the Italians to win 42-37.
“The Singlespeed Worlds is a ‘people’s’ event – everyone is welcome,” says Sullivan. “And it’s always a big party.”
The first sponsor to sign on for the event reflects that. The Pig & Whistle, in the heart of Rotorua, will be “official pub” for the race and the week-long Bike Festival that will be run at the same time.
“This is a real celebration of the spirit of mountain biking,” says Gregg Brown, from the Pig & Whistle, who sponsored the 2008 and 2009 New Zealand Singlespeed Championships.
“One cog mountain biking is physically hard and competition is very tough at the sharp end, but most people will be here to have fun, a few laughs and a lager or two at the end of the day.”
For those who want to enjoy the festival and the parties and get the swag bag but not race, there will be a separate Party Animal ticket.
Even the most competitive of riders get into the spirit of the event.
“The right costume is very important - where else would you see a world-class mountain biker racing in a dress,” says Sullivan. ‘And that’s just the blokes.”
At stake will be 2010 bragging rights and, for first man and woman home, the winner’s tattoo.
“Another Singlespeed tradition we’re not messing with,“ adds Sullivan. “No tattoo, no title – and we’ll be designing a tattoo that reflects New Zealand and Rotorua’s unique culture.”
The first World Singlespeed Championships was held in Rancho Cucamunga in California, in 1999
Since then they have mainly been in the USA, but have also visited Wales, Sweden, Scotland and Australia.
"The Australian event was in 2003, in Castlemaine, and that year Clinton Jackson, who is a Kiwi, won the Men's title," says Sullivan. “It’d be great to have another New Zealand winner next year but there will be some seriously good riders coming in from overseas.”
Rotorua is no stranger to running big mountain bike events.
In 2006, the city hosted the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships.
“We were all involved in that and the Singlespeeds is a bit more…well…informal,” says Watson, with a smile.
“However, the city really gets behind big events and the second sponsor to sign on was Events & Venues Rotorua - it’s great to have them on board.”

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