Friends of the Challenge
This award is to recognise people who have made a major contribution to the event over a period of time. The recipients are chosen by the Board. There is a limit of two new recipients per year.
Founder and Patron: Walter de Bont
Do we need to say any more? Walter started the event in 1977 and he has been closely associated with the Challenge ever since.
Joe Mickelson was one of the original members of the Cycle Challenge Trust formed in 1994 when the Trust was granted organisational rights from Taupo Cycling Club. He has been a diligent and valuable contributor as both Course Director and meeting Chairperson.
As a founding trustee in 1995 Gary not only served as our financial advisor and accountant but was also instrumental in the introduction of the Relay and the Heart Rider components as well as the high value prize packages. These contributions assisted in the phenomenal event growth under our stewardship.
A long term Taupo Cycling Club member, administrator, organiser and latterly Classic Race commissaire. He is now Bike New Zealand technical advisor. We appreciate his long-term association with the event.
A former Levin-based Challenge enthusiast who proposed the Enduro components of the event and then followed this up with the 24-hour and Static Enduro components. Peter rode in all of them and now lives and rides in Alexandra.
Heather and Matt Purvis
As owners then managers of Total Transport Co. Matt and Heather have supplied trucks, trailers and drivers for the relay bike carriers and also for our park needs. At one stage their whole fleet was employed at no cost for vehicles or drivers to Cycle Challenge.
A former World Champion & Olympic & Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist, Sarah has regularly competed in the Challenge since her teenage years. Although she is an elite rider, Sarah has also taken part in both the Relay and Solo Challenge. She has willingly assisted at prize-giving and has been a cheerful inspiration to us all.
Peter was a member of the organising team for ten years. During his term of volunteer involvement the event has moved to another level in terms of quality and entry numbers. He can take much credit for the development and reputation that the Cycle Challenge now enjoys.
Colin is surely our event’s most dedicated participant. He has completed 55 cycled circuits of the lake. No other entrant comes close to this achievement. In addition he completed our 24-hour velodrome record attempt and has raised thousands of dollars for our charity of choice, @Heart. He has been an inspiration and a consultant for many aspiring and achieving long distance riders who have participated in Cycle Challenge and in no small measure been responsible for the growth of this component.
The late Don Lockwood was a loyal servant of the challenge for 25 years. Don's voluntary input began in the early 80’s, as a member of the Taupo Moana Rotary Club, and continued as Signage Manager with the responsibility of placing no less than 400 warning and information signs around the 160km circuit. Don also served in a trustee’s role.
The Kennett Brothers
Jonathon, Simon and Paul Kennett. These three brothers are cycling historians, noted publishers and respected members of the wide cycling fraternity. They have been ever present at our event as speakers, and participants on all manner of bikes. They are great ambassadors for Cycle Challenge, a source of any cycling information, and willingly give of their advice and services.
Amy’s dedication to cycling and the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is huge - she has ridden the event and as a coach and sports scientist has encouraged so many cyclists to enter. Amy has coached World Champions and Paralympic and Commonwealth Games riders. She has also taught complete beginners how to ride a bike! Amy has written and regularly updates a guide book on our event.
Keith recently retired as our event director after 15 years of service to the Cycle Challenge, with a majority of that time as a volunteer. Keith's passion ensured the event never stood still, and his guiding principle was always ensuring riders came first. Keith remains on the organising team and his passion for the event is no less diminished.
Lynley is a behind the scenes person who has been involved with the LaKe Taupo Cycle Challenge for over 15 years. Lynley was instrumental in developing and managing the Enduro aspects of the event weekend and continues in this role.
Pat was a loyal member of Taupo Moana Rotary Club who arrived in Taupo in 1999. Pat soon became involved in the Cycle Challenge offering to position, install and remove over 200 signs around the Lake. Once he had finished this arduous task he then organised and managed the busy Tihoi relay interchange.
The event co-incided annually with his wedding anniversary but with his wife Trish’s blessing, he always fulfilled his Cycle Challenge duties.
Pat passed away 2011.
Barry was one of the longest serving volunteers for the cycle event around Lake Taupo. He was involved from 1977, when Walter de Bont initiated the then named Cyclathon, until his death in 2011.
From 1977 to 1994, as a member of Taupo Moana Rotary Club, Barry set up and ran support/drink stations around the Lake circuit. Then from 1995 to 2010 Barry managed the Motuoapa Relay Interchange for the re-named Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.
The Interchange organisation ran like clockwork in two different locations.
He never missed any of the 35 years of the event; but the event will certainly miss him.
Barry passed away 2011.