Wakatipu Wednesday Part 14

Mountain Biking Magazine



Wakatipu Wednesday Part 14

Jimmy Carling introduces you to some of the nice bike people of Queenstown, New Zealand, which is fast gaining the status as “The Whistler of the Southern Hemisphere”.

Whenever people talk about Queenstown, including myself on this here feature, the good nature and friendliness of the local people always rears it’s head as one of the core reasons that people live here. The trails are great, the beer isn’t so shabby either. But it is finding a family of like minded folk that sees so many people go from being here for a month, to years and in some cases, settling permanently. This week I would like to take the opportunity to step back and introduce you to three local G.C’s; Fraser Gordon, Indri Clendron and Ryan Purcell. These three are classic examples of the kind of folk who make you not want to leave. Always smiling, content with life and blessed with the ability to see the bigger picture are just a few of the qualities that make them so refreshing to be around. Life is good when you’re surrounded by like minded people, a mentality shared by these three as I found out when I caught up with them this week. 

First up is Ryan.

Full name:

Ryan Purcell


Dirty 30


Sydney , moved to NZ 8 years young


Queenstown , NZ

How do you earn a crust?

Self employed home builder .

So mate, would it be fair to say you’ve not had the most successful summer as far as riding is concerned? Can you talk us through the accident you had over at Dirt Park last year?

Yeh not my ideal start to the new year bro! DH shuttles were locked n loaded , feeling warmed up and comfortable . Whipping off the north shore style , road gap was on ! Unfortunately my landing wasn’t so spot on that lap and ate the dirt hard !

Do you remember the crash?

Yeh front wheel washed out , and did the splits onto my head. Not ideal , staggered up to assess the damage. Groin in some pain and some unusual sounds coming from my abdomen , the heli swooped to my aid.

Have you managed to get much riding in since?

Been slow going getting back on the bike , this time round . But 7mile has been great form of physio , some funtimes!

Are you all good now or still on the mend?

Yeh mended up alright , good reminder to stay on top of my fitness , stretching and strengthening , for life!

A common question, but what makes Queenstown so special to you ?

So many talented like minded people to hang and ride with , in a backyard full of so much choice and untapped potential. The place to be!

Away from Queenstown, what are your other favourite parts of the country to spend time in and why?

There’s countless beautiful beaches and unridden waves in nz, so anywhere it’s pumping.

What are your thoughts on the way Skyline have run the gondola so far? Hit the ground running or “could do better”?

Skyline have really stepped up to this opportunity for Queenstown , Its been cool . But trail maintenance crew and first aid patrols definitely need to be on the game full-time , as it couldnt be any more minimal. First season though right , so I think it will move closer in the right direction next season .

Do you believe that Queenstown is the Whistler of the southern hemisphere? It seems like a big title to live up to don’t you think?

Whistler definitely didn’t sprout up over night things take time . The masses of the northern hemi and racers alike need somewhere to ride off season and Queenstown has quality riding to suit one and all ! Its going to happen .

As for the growth of MTB down here, where do you see it heading?

The words getting out on NZ all-round epicness , numbers are growing and I think biking will soar to even greater heights . More access more trails and more progression are on their way.

Any plans for winter?

No tickets booked yet , but with mother nature really letting us know who is boss lately, we gotta live like there’s no tomorrow , right!

Shout outs?

Cheers to all the Queenstown G Cs , let the goodtimes roll !

The next two are Queenstown’s version of Posh and Becks. Except they don’t crave the media spotlight, don’t play football, don’t get involved in snooty fashion shows and can actually smile in photos. Therefore they are nothing like Posh and Becks, except for the fact that they’re a couple. And they have the coolest dog. His name is Dorje, and he’s likes to do road gaps. So, ladies first…

Full name:

Indra Sari Clendon


*ahem* old as…. 36… but still getting ID-ed J


Yogyakarta, Indonesia


Queenstown, Noo Zelund


Special demo, giant reign and a wee purty bmx (its baby blue…. so cute!)

Earn a crust how?

General admin gofer for Kiwi Discovery and Queenstown Rafting

Been kicking around QT for how long?

Almost 10 years now!

What makes the place special to you?

Never ever having to opportunity to say “I’m bored”. Being able to knock off work and have at least 3 hours of light to go for a ride. Walking down the street and knowing people J

Favourite places to spend time (on and off the bike) in NZ?

Haven’t ridden much in the North Island, but love the tracks in Queenstown. Hang on… isn’t that why I live here??? Off my bike… love tramping in fiordland, but can’t take my dog there, so don’t go any more!

What’s it like being the sweetheart of a jetboat driver? Do you ever get bored of hearing about piston rings and how sweet his 360’s are?

Commonly known as a JBD, a jet boat driver is a species that is endemic to NZ, and is considered a good catch amongst the female population. Despite their large egos and “I think I am a rockstar” lifestyles, they have a softer side to them that emerges after a few years of dating. Nah just kidding, fray-dawg is a sweet as BF. But as soon as the word piston comes into the conversation I glaze over and drift into my happy place. 360 degree spins?? When I am in fray’s boat, for some reason, always end up with gnarly bruising and absolutely drenched. Thanks darl…

No doubt you will have seen some change about town over the years from a riding perspective, has it been all good? Anything you’d change?

The amount of girls riding DH these days is choice! It used to be like, 3 of us. Nowadays everyone is giving it a go which is fantastic to see. The growing amount of tracks is great, and a good variety emerging as well.

What do you get up to come winter time? All about the ice-boarding or do amuse yourself in other ways?

Yeah I try and get into the old snow boarding programme, although having said that, I have ignored it the last couple of winters and just ridden my bike (or gone to Canada J). This was going to be my winter of learning to love my snowboard, but the extortionate price of a ski pass has put a spanner in the works. I think it will be all about the night light on my bike helmet this winter! And there is always the Bikes on Snow race to look forward to!

Your thoughts on the whole Skyline Gondola opening this year? Thumbs up all around or room for improvement?

Skyline has done wonders to my petrol bill, not half as much shuttling! Thumbs up to Skyline for giving it a go, and although there are things that could be improved (which is a given since it is the first summer open to bikes), I truly believe they listen to the bike community’s needs/wants and will endeavor to make it work better.

Do you think we really are the Whistler of the southern hemisphere? Or potentially could be in a few years?

Don’t think we are on par with Whistler yet in terms of sheer size and popularity. However, we are the closest thing to it down in our half of the world, and when the word spreads and the trails expand, we have a good shot of being right up there.

Are you still involved with the Martha Hucker program? What’s happening with that these days?

Martha Hucker is founded by my friend Rita Langley, and although I was never really involved as such, followed her website. Great to see a platform showcasing female DH riders, but looks like it’s on a bit of a sabbatical at the mo.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Look ahead.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever given?

Don’t think about it too much, just do it!

Any shout outs?

“Yeah boi” to all the riders in Queenstown – you make it all fun! “Double thumbs up” to Coop for the work he puts into organising the League of Gentlemen. “Chur” to Bikesmart for not laughing at me too much when I come in with “my bike feels funny” and “it’s making loud noises” problems. And a “you rock” to Fray who makes me cry when he makes me ride the gnarl, but secretly thank him.


And last but certainly not least… Flash Gordon.



Full name:

Fraser William Gordon




Tapanui (That’s Otago Jo, NOT Southland!)


Wanaka, Noo Zelund


Giant Glory huck Machine, Giant STP for some hardtail awesomeness

Earn a crust how?

Head River Bogan at Kawarau Jet, (Operations Manager for one of the local jet boat companies)

Been kicking around QT for how long?

11 years, Its the best rut I’ve ever been stuck in…

What makes the place special to you?

The place, the people, I’ve always been a mountains & lakes guy, you never get sick of the view, (cliché I know) Queenstown is full of amazing people. everybody’s here cause they’re motivated & want to be here, which makes the dickhead ratio quite low, its all about the lifestyle not the rat race. within our crew nobody cares what job you do, where you’re from, what you drive, we all know what really matters in life.

Favourite places to spend time (on and off the bike) in NZ?

On the bike? is that a trick question? Queenstown of course! Off the bike: The Mackenzie Country in South Canterbury, sparse & un-populated, love just chillin out up there & taking it all in. Would love to have a block of land up there one day, with a massive shed full of toys & farm dirt

Fraser & Indri at the farm jam

NZ has an incredibly high standard of riders, given it’s small population, is it something in the water?

As a country we’ve always punched above our weight. I think that underneath that chilled out persona, we’re actually quite determined and competitive people. And the fact that we are so far away from anywhere else, If you’re gona take on the world you might as well make a good go of it, not just go all that way just to make up the numbers.

You also injured yourself over at Dirt Park earlier this year… What happened exactly? Has it impeded on your summer at all? All mended?

There was a race over there back in November, It’s quite a gnarly track but I’ve ridden it heaps before, that was my downfall I think, I was just cruising down in practice, tried a funky new line and got the big smackdown, slammed into a rock about the size of a mini cooper, pretty lucky to just break a finger & tear some cartilage in my chest. 6 weeks with some metal sticking out of my finger and 2 months off the bike so yeah feels like summer was way too short. It’s pretty good now but they reckon it’ll be years before I get full range back

Your thoughts on the whole Skyline Gondola opening this year? Thumbs up all around or room for improvement?

Definite thumbs up, but will need to improve as it gets more popular in the years ahead. Capacity is going to become an issue in the near future. I think some of the locals need to step back, take a deep breath, and remember that this is the first year, and also Skyline are Rookies at this type of thing too, they’re doing pretty well, learning and taking things on-board. It’s great to see so many xc / wippet type riders up there having a ball too. It needs to appeal to all riders, not just downhillers.

One thing I have noticed is everyone’s so stoked on Skyline at the moment that the old riding crews have got a bit diluted though, It’s too easy to just rock up & find some peeps to ride with, maybe once the honeymoon is over we’ll get back into doing the rides like Friday Wynyards & such, which have kind of fallen by the wayside lately.

Do you think we really are the Whistler of the southern hemisphere? Or potentially could be in a few years?

Haha, “The Whistler of the southern hemisphere” It’s becoming a bit of a marketing catch cry for Queenstown with everyone using it, (including me).

There’s nowhere else in the Southern Hemisphere like Whistler, so I guess we sort of are already, just on a smaller, more laid back level. I spent last August in Whistler & the vibe felt pretty similar to Queenstown. The Whistler bike park is cool, but what it also has that we haven’t got yet is their amazing network of trails in the valley surrounding the village. Tom “Gravy” Hey is working on getting some epic backcountry loops & link tracks built that will make Queenstown a world class MTB destination.

What’s the brown and black blur that’s always following you downhill?

That’s Dorje, Our 4 year old Huntaway hound dog, he’s awesome. We kidnapped him of a farm down by Winton when he was 6 weeks old and now he chases bikes round the hills instead of sheep, He’s super fast, and takes mad short cuts to try & beat you down the hill.

If you want a laugh check out “Dwage gap” on youtube, it’s him following my mate off the road gap on Zoot track & coming up about a dog length short, he was sweet though, it’s pretty funny.


Can you give us a few of your favourite phrases? Come on… I know you got a whole heap of ’em up your sleeve.

That can be actually printed ??? where do I start…

“Let’s bust this hotdog stand”

“We’re not here to f**k spiders”

“There’s no I in team, but there’s a U in c**t”

“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes right to the bone”


OK I’ll stop now….

Secret to good biltong?

Garlic and coriander…lots of, and patience….

What were the last couple of things you made in your shed and why?

Some trophies for the League of Gentleman series, out of old bike parts, before that I knocked out a big 14 bike shuttle trailer for a local company.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t sweat the petty, pet the sweaty.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever given?

If you can’t do anything about it, It aint worth worrying about (not sure if anyone has ever listened to me giving advice though…)

Shout outs?

My beautiful partner in crime Indri, love ya babe, Coop & all the LoG crew for the good times. Lance Brown & Nath Greenwood for their tireless work for the local MTB scene. All my fellow QMTBC committee members too, Brad, Ross & Blair at Skyline for making it happen, The Vertigo boys for their commitment & passion for the sport, (and for signing up more QMTBC members than anyone else) Martin at bikesmart for fixing the missus’s bike when I can’t be arsed, And of course all the local riding crew, you know who you are, good times! LIVE THE DREAM, chur chur


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