April 1 2010 (NZT)
Breaking News: Irish band U2 backing bid for Singlespeed World Champs 2011.
Some heavy hitters are backing Ireland’s bid to host the 2011 Singlespeed Mountain Bike World Championships.
Ireland’s number 1 rock band, U2, have announced they are supporting the bid at this year’s championships in Rotorua, New Zealand, in October.
“We have the perfect theme song in ‘One’,“ says lead singer, Bono, down the line from Dublin. “We really love Kiwis and wrote One Tree Hill about a landmark in Auckland as a tribute to one of our favourites, Gregg Carroll.”
The New Zealander was Bono’s personal assistant and good friend, who died in a motorcycle accident in 1986.
“It’ll be great to be back in New Zealand,” says U2 guitarist, The Edge. “The Singlespeed Worlds is a fun event and we like the idea of riders being able to down a beer and take a short cut.”
It might be a bit different if Ireland wins the right to host next year’s event.
“The official beer in Rotorua will be Speight's Traverse, which we know as a very nice drop, but in Dublin, well, you know, it’s got to be Guinness,” says Bono.
“And if the Singlespeeds Worlds do come to Ireland in 2011, we’ll be renaming the band U1 during the event, to be sure.”
The two main men of the legendary band have been spotted cruising round Dublin on fixed gear bikes as Spring arrives.
“Not just a fashion statement – we’re rebooting our youth,” says Bono, with a laugh. “I think we might have finally found what we are looking for.
We might even be tempted to get ourselves a bike or two built by the event sponsor in Rotorua – they’re called Kiwibikes, how great is that.”
The big question for local fans is will the band play while they are in Rotorua.
“Adam and Larry won’t be coming,” says The Edge, “but Bono and I might break out the guitars and do a bit of busking outside the official pub, the Pig and Whistle, if the local Events & Venues guys will give us a license.”
The bidding process for the Singlespeed Worlds is a little different than for other global sporting events.
In 2009 in Durango, Colorado, New Zealand, Italy, Canada and Hungary fought out round 1 – a Karaoke/American Idol contest.
“That would have been right up our street,” says Edge.
“Not sure how we would have gone in round 2, though,” adds Bono.
“That was a basketball match between New Zealand and the Italians, with the Kiwis winning it all.”
The actual bidding process for the 2011 event won’t be revealed till the day.
“Who knows what the guys in Rotorua will come up with, but Bono and me and the third Irish rider, Father Ted & Dougal from Craggy Island, will be ready for anything,” says The Edge.
“We’re also looking forward to meeting The Shweeb in Rotorua – same first name as me - nice.”
This year's Singlespeed World Championships will be raced on the Whakarewarewa Forest mountain bike trail network. This is on the southern doorstep of Rotorua in the heartland of New Zealand’s North Island.
Entries opened at midnight on New Year’s Eve (NZT). Exactly three months later, around 700 riders have already entered.
26 countries are represented so far, nine more than the previous highest for a Singlespeed Worlds - in Berlin, in 2004.
The limit for New Zealand riders was reached at 9.01PM on March 21 and they are now closed, with a rapidly growing waiting list.
However, there are still places for international riders left, with just under seven months to go.
They’ll line up alongside some of the world’s top cross-country riders and singlespeed legends, like Olympian and US pro rider, Travis Brown, who was Singlespeed World Champion in 1999 and 2002.
Reigning Singlespeed Worlds Women’s and Men's Champions, Heather Irmiger and Ross Schnell, also from the USA, will be in Rotorua to try and add to their 2009 winner’s tattoos.
Race day is October 23 and will be the finale of the week-long Rotorua Bike Festival.
More to follow…and more information on the website…including latest pics of Bono and Edge and their favourite fixie bikes…
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Contact - SSWC10NZ Media: Graeme Simpson; +64 21 746538 ?