Hello and happy Wednesday. Good news for the northern hemisphere... After what seems like the longest and coldest winter ever, it has finally broken into spring. Well technically it has, although from the reports I've seen over the last few months, it'll be at least mid July by the time the snow has melted...


Which of course means that here in NZ, the temperatures have dropped a touch, the hillsides are slowly turning a fiery mix of yellows, oranges and scarlet reds and the evenings are drawing in slowly. Summer has been and gone, and now we see ourselves in one of my favourite seasons; Autumn. All those who have made it through the summer sans injury are riding well and coupled with the cooler temperatures, are out making the most of the sunny days that remain. A transitional period, one of reflection and also preparation for the cold months that lie ahead.


There's been a lot of injuries of late. Luke McCombie is still suffering from a broken collarbone after complications arose with how it reset. Part-time superhero Matty Boombatty of Revolver has broken two bones in his ankle whilst filming for the next summer sessions film in Dunedin and Mark "Webbo" West has only gone and done a McCombie Special and broken his collarbone too.


That aside it's been a rad few weeks. So much so I didn't even get time to do a report last week, so it's a bit of a double whammy today. The much anticipated King of Skippers was a killer event, and it also saw the return of the man who started the whole League of Gentleman, the former Mexican Bandito himself, Mr Seb Kemp. The K.O.S had already been postponed a week due to bad weather and  livestock ruining the trail, but on this fateful Thursday night, everything lined up and the event kicked ass. Having not ridden Skippers in months, I was excited to be hitting it up, but also nervous I was going to end up with my head up a cow's arse as there was still livestock roaming free. This wasn't to be in the end, thankfully, and a fairly conservative run on the hardtail left me with a 7mins17sec run and rather shaken ankles. One by one the rest of the field came down. Tom Hey had everyone making coco-pops in their pants as he pinned it down the final straight with a front flat, got his wobble on, almost crashed, then ploughed straight through the stream like he was rolling on forty PSI... Nuts. A pretty legitimate nomination for man of the match I reckon, especially given his time of 6 mins 42! Then came the first title contender, Paul "Pang" Angus with a dam quick 6 mins 39 sec. Then the next title contender, Blair Christmas pipped the flying Scotsman with a 3 second margin in a 6:36, and as everyone sat impressed by these ridonculous times, we all knew that there was one man still to come... The reigning king... Simon Smith. Finally he came into sight, ploughed through the stream and stopped his watch. "Well I'm pretty happy with that" was the first thing he said, "6:28". The crowd went wild. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present your two time King of Skippers Champion...


Simon Smith 'Ginger Si'.



Years living in QT:


Current bike:

Bikes ha ha!! Diamond back morning glory, GT Sanction, Rotec RL9 and a KXF 250 08. Yeah I like bikes alot!!

Favourite thing about NZ:

The people.

Apart from lookout over his empire whilst being fed grapes, what does the King do with his day?

ha ha I Work for Vertigo bikes, I'm a Heli Bike guide/Mechanic so if I'm not doing that I'm riding bikes. Love it!

Tell us about your Skippers run. Was it "Yeh boi" all the way down or were there any "Aaah mate" sections? Def a few Ah Mate sections almost!! but just about managed to stay on my bike. I went a little easier on the top part and then just tried to get faster and faster as I went down. My bloody knee pads slipped down to my ankles in the first 100m part from that was real happy with my run. Skippers is a real tricky one, its pretty narrow and fast so you just have to try and hit your lines and stay smooth.

You go to the doctor, he tells you that you only have one day left to live. What would you do with that day? Pretty much what I do everyday anyway. yeah boi!! living the dream, ha ha. I would go ride my moto all morning, ride my pushy's all afternoon, have a BBQ with my friends and family with a classic NZ Queenstown sunset of course, then go get loose and get some loving in town ha ha!!

You've spent much time in Whistler, do you have a preference between here and there?

Yeah Love it here, not so over run. Whistler is awesome don't get Me wrong but the people here are so friendly and down to earth, you don't get that race bollocks you get over there. You can actually follow someone, ride together without them worrying about you seeing there lines. ha ha. crazy hey?

What does the winter hold in store for you?

Save up some money for next summer, I work in the ski school up Coronet Peak its wicked fun but not bikes. Hoping to ride moto on my days off tho. Brrrppp!! ha ha.

Would you have sex with Jim Corr if it meant you could take on the three sisters?

I would cus man it be worth it ha ha!!


My Mum, Dad for inspiring me to live the dream, My brother Matty, Check out Summer Sessions 3 movie coming soon!! going to be mean!! My Brother Tomma for dragging Me down the woods to ride bikes as a kid. My awesome friends down here, your all huckers by the way huuhh!! ha ha. Vertigo Bikes Queenstown, come check out our sick heli bike trip and I would like to congratulate Seb Kemp for being the first mountain biker in space thanks to his new 29 inch wheels. Ah mate!


Also on the menu at Restaurant Deep South was the hugely anticipated Frew Farm Jam. I don't even know where to begin with describing it's sheer brilliance. The Frew family (as in Brett Frew, one of NZ's top riders) have a beautiful farm down near Invercargill and every year hold a weekend of carnage and chaos in the form of FMX, mini bikes, bmx, mtb and alcohol. Unfortunately my experience of the event was about fifteen minutes of riding the sets, until my partner in crime Mark "Webbo" West ate sh*t and broke his collarbone. Now I'm not one to diss things online, but our experience of the Southland District Hospital service over the next 12 hours was nothing short of terrible. Webbo did his collarbone at about 8pm on Friday night, as had one of the FMX riders only minutes earlier. Firstly, over the phone, the hospital refused to see the FMX rider, saying that unless they were on death's door, the hospital was closed. Naturally a dispute arose between the FMX boys and the un-helpful hospital representative on the other end, so the hospital person just hung up. Understanding that this would also apply to us, Webbo was forced to camp in my tent on a very cold night, in lots of pain, whilst we waited for morning to come. When the sun waved good morning, I drove him to the hospital, only to discover that the radiographers were on strike. Lady Luck intervened and fortunatley we grabbed one of the few x-ray appointments that were going due to someone else cancelling. Indeed a broken collarbone, just as we all thought. As far as the service of the Southland District Hospital, it was an absolute joke. It almost makes me nervous about falling off, just in case I have to put up with the same thing. Anyway, given Webbo's pain and that I also had some old friends in Queenstown down for the weekend, we ended up bailing on the jam and driving back to Queenstown by 2pm. Graeme Cooper was there however, taking snaps, so here's a few from him.


That's it for this week. A massive weekend ahead for anyone who rides... Pump track party at Gorge Road, The Meagre Avalanche and much much more. Stay tuned.


To those in the northern hemisphere... It's spring. Get out and ride!

Jimmy Carling

Photos: Graeme Cooper