Epic Events Trail News 2011#2

8 Feb 2011

Desert Storm 2011 report

From Nick Reader

No 2 Suzuki Desert Storms are ever the same and the twenty eleven version proved to be another very notable event when it was held 15-16 January in the Karioi forest.

The highlight for me was the Enduro Cross event.  It started as an add on entertainment component of DS, but now it is a major feature with top riders strutting their stuff in front of an appreciative crowd.

D2R (aka Mark DeLatour) started creating some crazy track options 2 weeks before the event.  The conservative risk manager in me scratched my head and thought, “I like this, but hope it will be safe”.  I also had a few queries about the 3 vertical tyre options, but my overriding thought was D2R is a smart and cunning fox – he will have it sorted.  And indeed he did because the track produced the most exciting racing yet.  It had more speed, more options and produced close and exciting racing with the Power cousins triumphing again.

The man of the hour at the Red Bull high jump was Jason Jepson again – he has the style and technique to smoke everyone on the earth up and down ramp.  Good on ya Jason and don’t drink all the Red Bull at once!

And now back to the actual trail ride.  The Saturday started off running smooth as silk, until our worst fears arose – we had a report of a critically injured rider.  The person died from a fall off his bike.  I don’t know what caused the crash on the fairly easy section of trail, and probably no one ever will.  Our condolences to all of his friends and family.  This terrible accident took all of my attention for a few hours, but we knew we had 1000 trail riders wanting to ride the awesome trails on the base of Mount Ruapehu.  So we closed the Eastern Trail and directed all riders onto the Western.  We have 50 staff running this complex event so my crew did a great job of running the event while I dealt with the accident.

Saturday night brings on all the games including High Jump, Enduro Cross, Barrel Racing and Burn out.  It was great to see the dude on his Stag party dressed in the pink tutu etc with glow sticks in his wheels – this is what DS is all about – having fun, messing around and doing something different with your mates.  The burn out took place against the blade of our Komatsu bulldozer which made for a very industrial look.  There was some crazy buggy with a 900cc road bike engine screaming its lungs out against the dozer just to add more noise to the scene.

Chris Power clears the bar but Jason Jepson wins the high jump

Sunday ran smooth as silk with both tracks open and about 900 punters plotting their path in the forest, river beds and stream crossings.

So where to now for DS?  We are moving it back into winter so yep that means cold and maybe wet conditions, polyprops, jackets, steam, ruts, braziers and challenge.  Date wise I am hoping to get an event run in October or November this year and then run May 2012 and then every May thereafter.  The reason we first changed from April to January was because the forest company wanted us to run in January.  However we now feel the fire risk is too high in Jan so will revert to winter.

Event development wise I want to add some more humour and fun.  We are going to continue with the High Jump and Enduro Cross, but from nightfall we are going inside a bigger marquee for some games.  Games we will choose from include Sumo wrestling in massive oversize suits, boxing with oversize gloves (you can’t get hurt apparently) and horizontal bungy etc.

Our focus will remain the same – to provide a fun, safe event where friends and family can meet up once a year to ride some of the best trails in NZ.

2011 Trail Ride Calendar

Coming soon...  We have some provisional dates listed on the epic events home page calendar and these will be firmed up soon.  Look out for more 2 day trail rides so you can ride the whole weekend!

Epic Events Trail News 2011 #1

Released 7 January 2011

Suzuki Desert Storm is just around the corner taking place 15-16 January at the base of Mount Ruapehu.  Known as NZ’s favourite 2 day trail ride the event promises to deliver the fun mix of trail riding, entertainment and camping that has been Desert Storm since it’s inception in 2000.

Five teams of 2 people on quads have been working this week to complete the final mark out of the 140km of trail on offer.  Because the event takes place in the foothills of the rugged and wind swept Mount Ruapehu there are always branches and a few rocks to clear, tree roots to dazzle and just general trail grooming to be done.

The trails available are West 53km, Middle 12km, East 63km, Novice 10km plus 3 kids tracks near the base.  The event features over 10 optional ‘expert’ sections that will provide technical challenge for above average riders.  One section named ‘Erzberg’ after an international Enduro is really challenging as riders have to literally ride on about 3km of rock strewn river bed to get near the winter snow line on the mountain.

On Saturday afternoon the event features a High jump, Enduro X and Barrel racing competition.  The Enduro X track has been revised with an island landing in the middle of a creek, 4 vertical tyres, bigger berms and bigger jumps.  Mark Delatour is the course builder and also a very good Enduro X rider who will probably make the final four come Saturday night.

All merchandise, meals and other orders close at 10pm tonight so people wishing to grab some event gear or meals need to get to asap.

So far there are 750 riders entered with 50 riders per day entering over the last week as people scramble to purchase the final tickets.  Entries are limited to 1100 riders and by pre entry only.  Entries are still open until Wednesday 12 Jan at 10pm.

More info at or 021 983766


Epic Events 2010 news item 18

23 December 2010

Suzuki Desert Storm Entries filling up fast

Yes entries are filling faster than normal for the 2011 Suzuki Desert Storm.  We are nearing 500 riders which is close to half of the 1200 rider per day allowance we have limited the event to.  So just why have we limited the numbers?  Mainly because we want to ensure a top quality experience for a smaller number of riders.  That includes room in the base camping area and impact to the trails.

In 2010 there was lots of rain on Saturday and the main trail open was the Western loop including the Picnic table, Staircase and Duncan’s loop.  These loops proved very difficult and nearly impossible in the rain so we had to cut them out late on Saturday and reinstate them on midday Sunday.  For 2011, we will open the Eastern track on Saturday if it is raining because it is more sand based which can handle the rain.

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The Epic team are taking some time off over Christmas then after New Year we are back into the Karioi forest to do the final track marking work, clearing off any fallen branches and putting in even more trail.

Desert Storm deadlines to meet include Friday 7 January merchandising and food orders close.  Wednesday 12th January entries close.

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Desert Storm is the flagship of all Epic trail rides so if you haven’t already, then make sure you enter at to be part of the riding, camping, entertaining and socialising action. 

Trail Ride Seasons pass

I thought these would be quite popular and I was right.  Lots of people have spotted a bargain and bought a ticket to every single trail ride we run in 2011 for the tiny price of $199.  There are still about 10 passes left so if you are still struggling to think of a present for that mad keen trail rider then check out the trail ride passes that can be bought on line.

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

2011 Trail Ride dates

We will be delivering another season of top quality trail rides starting 10 April 2010 with a Suzuki Trail Blazer and ending in November.  We don’t know the exact venues yet, but they will all be within 30 minutes of Taupo.  Over summer we are seeking out some new forests and also may bring back a ride in a forest we last used in 2004.  We are also considering making more of the monthly rides 2 day events to provide the option of Saturday or Sunday or riding both days.

So that’s us signing out for Christmas.  We are away until 5 January so if you have any enquiries please wait until then or if you have an urgent enquiries, please ring Nick at 021 983 766.

Suzuki Desert Storm 2011 media one

5 November 2010

Entries now open

Epic Events Course Manager Brett Hilton and myself have just returned from a fantastic day pre riding all the Desert Storm trails and we sure had a blast on our DRZ’s.

We rode the Eastern track first.  The 63km was in great condition after being used on Sunday 17 January 2010.  A few small whoops and lots of berms kept us on our toes.  Early in the ride we spooked 3 red deer hinds which is a reminder of what a wild place the Karioi forest is.  63 k’s is a long way and I reckon those long trails are a real feature of Desert Storm.  It felt more like an adventure ride as we took our time, took some photos and had a play on the MX track beside the Rangipo desert.

The forest is ever changing with logging activity and replanting.  The DS trails include heaps of single track made by the epic team and special trails made for some kiwis training for the ISDE held in 2006.

The Western trail 53 km was our next mission.  This track took a hammering in Jan this year with 1000 riders taking it on in the rain.  I was a bit concerned it might be rutted, but it was in great condition, because did 3 days of bull dozing in February this year. 

The 4km Extreme Moon section was tricky, but we enjoyed the challenge of picking our way through hundreds of rocks without damaging an engine case or ankle!  This is real Erzberg/Romaniacs type riding.

The sections that we bulldozed included the infamous Staircase which blew to pieces in 2010.  In the rain this is impassable, but in the sun yesterday it was 4th gear, lean back and hold on… 

Further around in Duncan’s loop we stopped for more photos.  I think Duncan’s loop is my favourite trail because it flows so well and sits alongside the native bush and clear mountain streams.  Just watch the descent out of Duncan’s if wet as the clay soil can be tricky.

Nearing home we entered the Southern Blast which was a bit wet so we will make a new track to complete a very fun Western trail.

Now It’s your time to enjoy the trails. Entries are open NOW at  If all the enquiry I have had turns into people then the 2011 Suzuki Desert Storm will be chokka.  We will limit it to 1200 riders per day to make sure of a high quality experience for all.

In 2011, the first 100 Weekend Adult entrants get a great bag of product including some Moto Muck (new bike cleaning solution see ) DRD magazine ( and a shot of Red Bull.  These are very small energy shots with all the good stuff that the normal Red Bull cans have and are great to put in your bum bag or Camel Back to use in times of energy deficit.

We will crank the Triple Crown again including High Jump, Enduro X and Barrel Racing.  We might even throw a quick Trail sprint in for good measure.  We hope to see lots of the top riders from the Suzuki Four hour taking on the Enduro X which will be good camera fodder and entertainment for Saturday night.

Check the website for the pre ride photos.  And make sure you enter early to ensure your ticket to the ultimate trail ride this summer 15-16 January 2011.

22 Jan 2010

Suzuki Desert Storm Report

From Nick Reader – Event Director

No two Desert Storms are quite the same. The weather and human variables make sure of that…

Saturday midday at Desert Storm with rain falling, I was up near the top of the Western Loop helping put a diversion around the ‘Staircase’ that had been closed by Epic Events staff. I was looking for plan D, because Plan A – the staircase was not rideable, Plan B – Ehu Road and up to the Native Edge proved too tough and was closed, Plan C – Ehu Road then merge with the Douglas Fir section was also tough and had 2 people stuck on it. As it turned out, we closed early at the 2/3rds and everyone made it home in time to watch the Triple Crown. Yes people were NEAR the end of their energy, but they got there AND felt good about the achievement.

The hyped up Triple Crown was great this year with better courses, some faster riders and different race formats. Mark DeLatour (aka D2R who has taken part in the international Extreme Enduro called Romaniacs) was the course designer and we could not shift him from the seat of the digger for 3 days leading up to the Enduro X. (Thanks D2R)

ATV ace Jason Jepson (riding a 2 wheeler) took out the win and a year’s supply of Red Bull. Chris Power won the high jump in 09, but was nowhere in 2010! Maybe the steep up ramp scared him? Mark Penny was shooting for the moon, but unfortunate on take off, he clipped the bar.

Chris asserted his authority in the Enduro X, beating Karl. The course was a bit different with the addition of 3 huge tyres, more logs, the deletion of the first river crossing, 2 options for the river jump, a 4 metre wide course and a new log/rock section. Hats off to all competitors in this event for taking on a tough course and never giving up.

Over to barrel racing and Chris narrowly pipped Karl after a 3 race showdown. The quads had a separate race and showed the 2 wheelers how a barrel race should look with mega sideways action.

So in the final overall standings Chris Power proved to be the man, and vanquished Cousin Karl Power, Mark Penny, Cam Smith and Mark Delatour.

Then of course there is the DS burn out. This is kind of a salute to a great days riding, the crowds gather to the sound of an engine upshifting, the glow of exhaust pipes, the smell of burning rubber….

Now to Sunday the weather was overcast, but not raining. We opened the Eastern loop and the reviews from everyone were fantastic. The Eastern loop has very flowing trails and more of a sandy soil base than the Western so it was whoop and berm city – yee ha. There were a few accidents on the revamped MX track, with a few trail riders trying to be Daryl Hurleys, but coming up a little short. So we opted to close the MX track to keep everyone on track.

Meanwhile I was out with my course managing teammate Ryan Ashurst patching up the Western trail for the hardy souls that took it on. Initially we closed at the 2/3rds while we assessed the tracks. I was determined to make some parts of the Western open. So after assessment, we decided to make all riding above the 2/3rds short cut ‘EXPERT ONLY’. We kept the Picnic table loop open including the famous Moon Expert section, but kept the Staircase and Duncan’s loop closed.

Speaking of the Expert Moon section, this proved really popular amongst the above average riders. This was literally 2.4km of rocky, sandy, tussocky terrain that kept you on your toes. A few quads made the mistake of entering this section, but had to turn back. This was our little taste of ‘Erzberg/Romaniacs type riding’. (Yes we watched too many new Extreme Enduro DVD’s this year).

As well as the Moon Expert, there were another 2-3 new Expert sections inserted this year and this theme will carry on amongst all Epic Trail rides due to their popularity.

We actually had another 4km Challenge trail cut and marked near the end of the Western, but unfortunately we were not able to open this Expert section due to the rain.

So in summary, DS10 proved more popular than 2009 with 1000 riders on Saturday and 900 on Sunday. In 2009, we had about 850 and 750 per day. The challenge factor on Saturday pushed a few people, but the fun factor of the East track on Sunday rounded out a great weekend of riding, camping and entertainment. We already have some great new ideas for DS11.

Next Epic Events

Trail Blazer – Taupo, April 2010.

Look for all Epic motorcycle dates to be announced by mid February.

Triple Crown Results

Red Bull High Jump

1st Jason Jepson

2nd Ari Burt

3rd Mike Gibbons

DRD Enduro X

1st Chris Power

2nd Karl Power

3rd Mark Penny

Skins Barrel Race

1st Chris Power

2nd Karl Power

3rd Mark Delatour

Skins Barrel Race – Quads

1st Jason Jepson

EZ Up/CamelBak Overall Triple Crown

1st Chris Power

2nd Karl Power

3rd Mark Penny

4th Cam Smith

5th Mark DeLatour