Words: Liam Friary
Images: Cameron Mackenzie / Ralph Cabman

Last year we created a new kind of gravel event – one that hadn’t been seen on our shores before. The focus was on creating an amazing rider experience; much more than gradients and total ride kilometres. So, the origins are probably a bit selfish – we like gravel, we like to explore, and we like connecting with the locals. This is the reason behind the Republic of Whangamomona hosting Dirty Detours. It’s a beautifully unique location which has ample amounts of mixed terrain. Blending all these elements together is at the heart of this event.

Last Sunday in Whangamomona, Taranaki, we hosted Dirty Detours – a gravel adventure with a twist. Some teams (of two) were showing off their best form, others taking a more leisurely pace, enjoying the expansive views and eating too many cakes at Kona’s bake-sale station. These treats were made by the parents of Marco School, raising funds for them in the process. All teams got to detour backcountry gravel lanes, forgotten paper roads and muddy terrain, then in and out of old tunnels before ending back in the heart of Whangamomona. Riders clapped in each team while they enjoyed the sun and relaxed rural atmosphere. The Whangamomona Town Hall, established 1903, was our event hub with a pop-up bar from Forgotten 43 Brewing along with displays from our presenting partners; Lazer, Shimano and Kona and even a Jumble Sale hosted by the locals. Riders and family members gathered around for the shearing competition that was commentated by the President of the Republic, John Herlihy and his handy off-sider Pork. That finished the day’s events but we’re sure the incredible memories will remain until next time round.

None of this would be possible without the continued support of our partners – Lazer, Shimano, Kona, Evo Cycles, Panaracer and Forgotten 43 Brewing. And it’s not done without the backing from the Republic of Whangomona, Marco School, Whangamomona Hotel, Stratford Council and the local people of the region that help make this event exceed our wildest expectations year after year. We’ll see everyone for another epic day next November, but remember to keep an eye out for our other events and pop-up rides.