The DH Southern Series (DHSS) in New Zealand is not your average race series. It’s put on by people who are passionate about providing well-run events and fostering a competitive and professional-feeling platform upon which the DH scene and next-gen riders can progress. The reigns are not in the hands of one person, rather each round is host by the local MTB club or venue, with each spoken-for round then contributing to the larger series overall. It’s a very effective format, producing fun events and providing a positive environment for both kids and elite shredders alike.
As an outsider looking in, Vital was impressed with the Youth and Women's class turnout, as those categories have proved challenging to grow back in the USA. Predictably, the weather was unpredictable, throwing heavy cloud/fog cover during most of practice and the entire duration of the race. It made for challenging spectating but kept the heat at bay and the track in tackier condition (relative to what a baking hot sun would have provided). With the best of two runs being the format after 2 hours of practice, it was a full-on from 10am to noon, and even rowdier come race time. Being a small community, the “mates race” feel of the afternoon made for a lot of laughs and light-hearted heckling. A good-natured event with a total of 50 racers starting made for a fun and low-key morning and afternoon of riding and racing. The DHSS sets a strong example of how things should be done.
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