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Bike Manawatu Novice Tour is 40 years old and going stronger.

This year is the 40th running of the Novice Tour an iconic event for budding young cyclists, introduced to the Manawatu by the visionary Ian Gray in 1973.

Remember 1973? I know I was still in school shorts and sandals, had long hair and was listening to Pink Floyd. The English rugby team beat the All Blacks 16-10 at Eden Park and Norm Kirk was the Prime Minister.

Cycling was not on my horizon back then but here in the mighty Manawatu there was a dedicated group ( as there are today) who had a vision around providing a multi stage event that would appeal to 15 and 16 years old boys…….a mini Dulux Tour of NZ!  Many of our well known and highly successful cyclists have ridden this tour over the ensuing 40 years.

It has historically been run over the same weekend of the NZ Secondary School Champs an event also instigated locally. More recently the Tour has included an U17 girls division.


With the growing success of the Schools event, Bike Manawatu decided to move the date to early December while at the same time extending the event to 2 days and four stages and adding new categories ie. U13,U15 and U19 for boys and girls.

We now have a total approaching 150 entries which is great considering the new position on the calendar and the busy time of year. It has been a challenge finding a date that suits. But indications are for a fantastic event. The Novice Tour carries with it important National Points Series points as run by Bike NZ , an important precursor to possible National Selection and development.

Bike Manawatu is committed to retaining this event as an iconic event for our own young riders and riders across the country. We have fantastic roads for some real  racing and most importantly a fantastic group of volunteers and helpers who have put aside a lot of their personal time to organise and help run this event.

Seven or eight race groups need 7-8 lead cars and tail cars, commissaires, judges, time keepers, traffic managers,etc etc…most of which are doing it for the love of the sport and to see the best youngsters in the country having a go on our patch.

So well done to the visionaries who started this event, to all those who have helped or participated in it in the past and to all those who have given their time to organise the 40th running of the Novice Tour of Manawatu.

And all the very best for our own young Bike Manawatu champions and all those riders prepared to give it a go!

Race hard, race fair and race safe.