The venue for this weekend’s event in the North Island was the stunning property at Piriaka, managed by Stu and Marie Wakeling with the event being hosted by the Ruahine Endurance Club.
Saturday saw a good field of 40km and 10km riders, many of them in the novice class, head out on a fine sunny afternoon with the temperatures starting to climb.
The 40km loop came back through base at the 20km mark and it was soon apparent that Don Sagar, riding his lovely gelding Wai Totara Rameriz, was going to be hard to beat. By the end of the ride Don had built up a good lead and finished eight minutes ahead of Daryl Owen riding Miro Bay Plenty. Not too far behind the senior riders was the JY winner, Jayden Loveridge riding Mizraim Florence.
The three 10km riders all completed successfully with junior rider, Jordyn Muir-Brown qualifying in her first endurance ride. Another of the juniors new to the sport, Raniro Trafford, successfully completed the 5km lead rein class on his little grey pony. Although Dad Sean, walking on foot, was convinced it was further than 5km.
With high temperatures again forecast for Sunday the decision was made to start the 80km and 60km classes at 5am instead of the scheduled start times of 6am and 7am. Twenty 80km riders and one 60km rider headed out in good riding conditions but once again the temperature soon started to climb.
Again it was Don Sagar who crossed the finish line first, this time riding Wai Totara Moon Star in the 80km. Forty seconds behind was Ross Hill riding Rewa with Jenny Champion a further 12 minutes back, followed closely by Ruth Dawber, Murray Smith and the winner of the JY class, Hanna Whitehead.
It was good to see Don back to his best following an accident that had kept him out of the saddle for most of last season.
- 40km Intermediate Senior: D Sagar & Wai Totara Rameriz 1, D Owen & Miro Bay Plenty 2, R Dawber & Miro Dusty Trails 3, M Bragg & Miro Blaze of Glory 4
- 40km Intermediate JY: Jayden Loveridge & Mizraim Florence 1
- Open Senior 80km: D Sagar & Wai Totara Moon Star 1, R Hill & Rewa 2, J Champion & Barack Obama 3, R Dawber & Miro Bonique 4
- Open JY 80km: H Whitehead & Dundevale Nazecca 1
- Intermediate Senior 40km: S Drinnan & Charm II 1, D Davies & Arahi Liquid Silver 2, Joanne Loveridge & Silands Pilot 3, S Dougan & Tararua Sharman 4
- Intermediate JY 40km: T Morris & Tararua El Dente 1