Aussie Mountain Bike Personality Back for More of the Pioneer

By The Pioneer

Mike Blewitt has been active in the Australian and international mountain bike industry as a racer, writer, mechanic, sales executive and instructor for over 18 years. He is cofounder of international marathon racing website and Manager of the racing team. In the print media sphere, Mike has been Editor at Australian Mountain Bike magazine since mid-2013, and has now become Group Editor across both AMB and Bike Australia.

Blewitt loves to mix his work days with his ongoing passion for riding and in particular, finding new and challenging international events to whet his riding appetite and also provide great copy for his readers.
In 2016 he found one such event and liked it so much, he will return again. The Pioneer in New Zealand’s stunning South Island has, after just one event, already established a reputation as being amongst the very best mountain bike stage races the world has to offer, ensuring that Blewitt will again be on the start line on February 5 next year, for another journey over the Southern Alps from Christchurch to Queenstown.
“I’ve done a number of mountain bike stage races around the world, and The Pioneer really nailed it from year one. This was as much about rider services, as knowing what their event was. It’s a tough event, it’s a big challenge both physically and mentally. But once you’re off the bike, each day shifts into a whole different phase of relaxing and socialising, in a way few other events have managed.”
Blewitt will however have one key change in 2017, his riding partner. Paired up with a relative but keen ‘stranger’ in 2016 after his wife was injured in training for The Pioneer, Blewitt will be riding with more of a known quantity in 2017, a man who has his own fascinating back story.
“I’ve known Justin Morris since he was a gangly kid out on the morning bunch ride,” said Blewitt. “Since then I’ve seen him become one of the strongest bike racers I know, racing professionally on the road, and having fun with our mountain bike team as well.”
Justin Morris has had a long history in cycling, and while he officially retired from racing with Team Novo Nordisk at the end of 2014, he still works with the team and their message about living and thriving with the challenges of type 1 diabetes. Morris works as a Director Sportif with his old road team, plus helps with public speaking to inspire young people affected by type 1 diabetes.
“From everything I have heard and seen The Pioneer is a real spectacle, spending time with Mike traversing the spectacular terrain in New Zealand I am sure is going to leave us both with some amazing stories to share,” said Morris.
This won’t be the first time the pair have joined forces, as they competed in the teams category in the Crocodile Trophy in both 2011 and 2012, with a first and second place in that classification respectively. The Pioneer will be all-together a new experience, as Blewitt brings much experience with paired stage races, and Morris brings pedigree and uncountable race days.
Interest in The Pioneer has ramped up on both sides of the Tasman, with entries tracking well ahead of the same time last year. Indeed the interest in Australia is such that information evenings have been hosted in Sydney (last week) and this week in Melbourne, with Race Director Bec Williams encouraging the Australian mountain bike community to discover this exciting new event.

“Australians love their mountain bike stage races and have a great history of travelling to some of the world’s biggest events, as well as hosting their own. Now they have an opportunity to travel the short distance across the Tasman to soak up what we believe to already be a world class stage race across quite stunning terrain. We had a number of Australians come across for our first event and it is testament to its success that Mike and others are returning and do so with such an endorsement of what we have already achieved. We look forward to meeting more potential competitors in Melbourne this week or sharing all of the information via our website.”
Further adding to the appeal of the event is the new partnership with the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa, regarded as the ‘World Championship of Mountain Bike Stage Racing’. Five category winners at The Pioneer will gain access to entries for the hugely popular Cape Epic, with further entries available in a draw from all Pioneer entrants, full details at

The Pioneer
February 5 to 11 2017
Christchurch to Queenstown
7-Day Epic
Teams of two
549km riding
15,824m climbing
4-Day Traverse (first four days of the 7-Day Epic)
Solo ride
314km riding
8,178m climbing
The Pioneer Race Director Bec Williams and event MC Andrew Dewhurst will be in Melbourne this week to host Pioneer Information Evenings – free to attend with a video presentation, course description, question and answer session and giveaways. Light refreshments provided.
The Pioneer Information Evenings
Wednesday 23rd November
6pm to 7:30pm
Bike Now Stores
240-254 Kings Way
South Melbourne

Thursday 24th November
6pm to 7:30pm
The Ride Cycles
1351 Burke Road, Melbourne
For more information visit
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