Two years ago, four local farmers and an agronomist, Andrew Wright, David Hood, Barrie Begg, Gregor Robertson and Rob Turney, made up the ‘Well Hung and Tender Team’ (W.H.A.T) and in their words, “abandoned their red bands in favour of lycra to take on the mighty 2015 Tour of NZ” racing in the South Island part of the event. They raised $4,600 for St John, our local volunteer ambulance service.
There were many highs in the last tour. The boys enjoyed a lot of laughs even in trying weather conditions, and there was a “Dick of the Day” polka dot cycling jersey that the previous days offender would be made to wear. The sense of achievement they felt when cycling off the Ferry in Wellington was immense. They knew they had done all the hard work and as such enjoyed cycling the streets of Wellington at night searching for their hotel by the light of their mobile phones.
Gregor explained that as both the North and South Island legs happen at the same time, finishing competitors from both islands thrash it out in a Criterium on day 8 around Wellington’s Beehive, despite the weather calling off the 2015 final event, they went and did a ‘Lap of Honour’ anyway.
Despite the appalling weather they encountered on their first foray into team endurance cycle racing, the pain seems to have faded as they have once again donned their lycra to compete in the North Island section of the race.
Sponsored by Molloy Agriculture Ltd and David Hood Contracting Ltd, this year the support crew is joined full time by Jenny Lott from Methven Sports Massage; to keep them
massaged and in good shape, which they will need riding an average of 100kms per day over the seven days. Jenny is really pleased to help the boys out this year, “A conversation led to my involvement, they are all my clients so it made sense. Little did I know how much was actually involved but it is great fun!”
They will have the use of the ‘Mangeweka Asparagus minibus’ again, thanks to Rob Turney’s parents, George and Di, who grow Asparagus in the North island.
The five-man team decided, that since they did the South Island last time, they were going to have to give the North Island a nudge.
“We are hoping the North Island will not be as tough fighting with the weather as the South Island was!” They said, “On the 1st April we start off at Cape Reinga and travel through Kataia, Dargaville, Raglan. We cycle in to the Chateau and stay a night, then Wanganui, Palmerston North and Masterton before travelling through to Wellers.
There are five members in the team and the first three across the line are timed, with a car up for grabs as part of the prize pool, the fellas have decided that if they win it, they will auction it off and donate the funds to Methven St. John as well.
As part of their fundraising efforts they are bringing “Le Ride”, a movie starring Phil Keoghan to Cinema Paradiso in Methven on 7th March, which is about a New Zealander with a local connection, who rode in the Tour de France in 1928. This was 5,600km in 26 days up the Pyrenees and through the Alps on heavy steel bikes with no gears and little braking. “It puts us to shame really.” Watch this space for further details.
You can help Team W.H.A.T. and St. John, by donating through their Team Race page on the Tour of NZ website – www.tourofnewzealand.co.nz/rb.php?team=187.