Emerson's Brewery backs 3 Peaks Enduro mountain bike race

By Adventure Media Group

Dunedin's 3 Peaks Enduro mountain biking race welcomes Emerson's Brewery aboard as title sponsor. The local brewery saw an obvious fit between the event, which in 2016 is ranked as an Enduro World Series (EWS) Qualifier race, and the locally brewed craft beer company that is located near the base of Signal Hill.

"The whole time we have been running the brewery we have always been proud to be Dunedin and we are very patriotic," admits brewery founder Richard Emerson. "To have a great event like this it gives us another excuse to be patriotic about Dunedin. It's a local brand supporting a local event – it goes hand-in-hand with what we believe."

"And we all know that after a hard day's riding we all need a good beer," he laughs.

Race founder Kashi Leuchs, of Bike Otago, said the race, which was ranked as a Silver-level NZ MTB Crown race, was also about being patriotic.

"I grew up here and dreamed of the trails in the hills that we weren't allowed to ride all the time. This event opens those up to us and showcases them to the world. We really are lucky to have all these tracks and trails right on our doorstep – you can ride to most of them from the centre of the city in five minutes," he offers.

Kashi said Emerson's was an obvious fit with the event.

"We decided to open the door to look for an outside industry sponsor and Emerson's has long been a supporter of cycling here – through its support of Mountain Biking Otago and other cycling groups. A lot of the people at Emerson's ride mountain bikes so it seemed to be a natural fit," shares Kashi.

Donovan Isted is the president of the Mountain Biking Otago Club and said Emerson's had long been a supporter of the trail building efforts in the hills above the city.

"They've always supported the trail development and maintenance crews and backing this event is another great show of support for what we as a club do so that everyone can enjoy the trails," Donovan explains.

Kashi said the EWS qualifying status wouldn't change the event itself, but it would mean some good exposure for Dunedin worldwide.

"People will be watching the event quite closely and we should see a few more top riders visiting for the event so they can earn those points." 

"It's always had a good profile worldwide, but this adds an extra element," he adds.

The field would still be capped at 200 riders, but Kashi expected the quality of the riders to rise.

The new sponsor also brings with it a new post-race venue: the Emerson's tap room. The tap room, which also serves great meals, opened in the first week of July just a 2.6km spin from the exit trails on Signal Hill.

"We're not trying to be a restaurant or a pub – we have leather couches and space to park your bike outside while you have a beer, maybe some food and just relax," smiles Richard.

Brewery manager Chris O'Leary said riders were already staking a claim on the tap room.

"I came past last night and there were at least three vehicles here of guys who had been doing downhill runs on Signal Hill and had stopped by for a pint on the way home," he shares.

"The thing with our involvement is that we ride so we see all the work that Mountain Biking Otago and Kashi put into the trails and events here," explains Chris. "It's so good for Dunedin and for all visiting riders. How can you not support it?"

Chris said that worldwide he had noticed a convergence of mountain biking and craft beer.

"You're sitting at Whistler after a ride having a craft beer – Oregon, it's the same thing. And many of us here ride – some further than others – so it was an easy decision for us," he laughs.

Organised by local bike shop Bike Otago in conjunction with Mountain Biking Otago, the 2016 Emerson's 3 Peaks Enduro features stages on each of the three tallest peaks surrounding Dunedin's CBD: Flagstaff (668m), Mt Cargill (676m) and Signal Hill (393m) over two days of racing.

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