CyclingNZ Home
Torckler Takes Tough K2
1 Nov, 2015

More than 1200 riders from five countries and all ends of New Zealand lined up for the 14th Cranleigh K2 cycle classic. The gruelling 200k lap of the Coromandel Peninsula is unique in cycling circles in that it starts from a different Coromandel township every year.

This year racing got underway in Thames, which put riders straight into K2’s signature hill climb, the 14k long, 425m high Kopu-Hikuai Hill.


With more than 2000m of climbing over the 200k, this is certainly New Zealand’s toughest cycle race. But it is also one of the most scenic. Following the opening climb up Kopu-Hikuai Hill, riders enjoyed 40k of mostly downhill and flats to Tairua, before a tough 90k over the triple peaks of Pumpkin Hill, Kuaotunu and Whangapoua to Coromandel. That softened them up for the final 53k over the tough Manaia Hill and Kereta Hill before a fast final 40k along the Pohutukawa Coast to the finish line back in Thames.

New Plymouth’s Michael Torckler knew how tough it was. In 2011 he had to end the reign of five-time champion Jeremy Yates to win by three minutes. This he broke away even earlier, to beat Auckland’s Cam Wynniatt by six minutes in 5hrs 16min 52secs. Although for Torckler the four years in between have been tougher than either win.

Just a few months after his 2011 win at K2 Torckler was hit by a car while training in California. “I had a head-on collision with a car coming down a descent,” he explains. “I have no memory of it, but I was knocked out for three days and was in hospital for a few weeks. That took a long time to come back from. I had multiple facial fractures, broken arm and hands. But the concussion was the hardest thing. I had to be really patient coming back from that.”


He lined up at K2 this year with good form following a year on the tough American and Australian circuits racing for Australia’s Team Budget Forklifts. He went straight to the front on the opening climb up Kopu-Hikuai and was joined by Aucklanders Cam Wynniatt and Logan Mort. Mort fell behind after Whitianga but Torckler and Wynniatt worked well together through the triple climbs to Coromandel.


It was on the flat after Coromandel that Torckler lifted the tempo to pull away. “Mike was just too strong,” said Mort after finishing six minutes behind Torckler. “Those last 50k felt like 100k for me.”


“I always really like this race,” said Torckler, who has ridden the race three times but by chance only ever raced from the Thames start and finish.  “It offers everything. It’s great. Long climbs, technical descents and the scenery is unreal. It would be one of the most spectacular courses in the world.”

Behind Torckler and Wynniatt, Whangamtata’s Jonathan Hazelton went one better than last year to claim third place in a tight sprint ahead of Stu Holder (Akld), 2014 winner Josh Aldridge (Akld) and Jason Thomason (New Plym), with all four recording the same time of 5hrs 34min 47secs. Aldridge’s fifth place was a victory of sorts after breaking his pelvis in a race crash earlier this year.

The open K2 was a carbon copy of the elite race, but the winner was just as impressive. Going one better than his second place last year, 52 year old world veteran champion Jim McMurray (Tirau) rode the last 120k solo to win by two and a half minutes in 5hrs 32min 53secs. National rep, Emma Crum (PNth) was first woman in 5hrs 58min 32secs.

As well as the feature Cranleigh K2, the Schwalbe K1 over 100k, the Focus K150 and Nicholas Browne 50k offer options for all age and ability. The K1, which this year rode from Whitianga to Thames, doubles as the elite women’s race and saw pre-race favourites Ruby Livingstone and Hannah Gumbley stage a race of their own that came down to a final sprint.

Livingstone who was second last year, has spent the year racing professionally in Europe for Team Bepink Laclassica and was expected to be significantly stronger than 2014. But it was the teenage Gumbley, a national junior rep at the world road race champs this year, who had the fastest finale as the two women recorded the same time of 3hrs 08min 54secs.

Nine minutes behind them came another sprint for third place, with another teenager – Amanda Jamieson from Waipukuarau – holding off Helen Baillie-Strong (Akld), Madeliene Park (Akld) and Grace Anderson (Akld).

The Schwalbe K1 and Nicholas Browne 50k were both dominated by teenagers. Fifteen year old Tauranga rider Fergus Hamilton won the 50k from Coromandel to Thames ahead of another 15 year old, Harry Lochhead from Auckland, in 1hr 37min 27secs. Coromandel’s own Ben Leakes was a popular third place, but Auckland teenager Ally Wolleston got one of the biggest cheers of the day as she finished 5th overall and first woman in 1hr 46min 03secs. Impressively, eight women filled the top-20 places in the 50k.

Latest News
Last month’s ferocious weather that wreaked havoc on the West Coast has seen many hours of effort to ensure this weekend’s double header rounds of the Calder Stewart Cycling Series in Hokitika can go ahead. “The weather gods poured more bad news on the proposed round three course in >>
As the season fast approaches, take a minute to learn about which world class athletes will be using Crankbrothers products in 2019 and beyond! New for this season, we are excited to welcome the Trek cross country superstar duo of Emily Batty and Yolanda Neff along with the rest of the Trek >>
Team Jumbo â€" Visma’s Primoz Roglic has won the 54th edition of Tirreno-Adriatico in style, with a final stage Individual Time Trial performance to remember. His near-perfect technique on the San Benedetto del Tronto 10km out-and-back course saw him overturn a 25-second deficit to his closest >>
Latest Articles
We are delighted to share the news with you that fizik’s 2020 sponsored teams are confirmed! Along with our strong presence at the top of road cycling, we have a full set of mountain bike teams, competing in Cross-Country, Downhill and Enduro. MOUNTAIN BIKE TEAMS In Downhill, Commencal >>
What is the first e-road by LOOK? This is a bike that is the result of our mastery of carbon, which allows us to offer a frame that is both lightweight and durable, manufactured in our own production facilities. This is also a bike that has just continued a story that has been written at the >>
French rider Alexis Vuillermox of AG2R claimed the first team victory of the season in Livron-sur-DrĂ´me riding 2INpower Road and ROTOR chainrings. At the Cyprus Sunshine Cup, MTB rider Yana Belomoina of CST Sannd American Eagle was 1st place riding KAPIC while Githa Michiels of >>
LOOK 2018
Morgan Blue Cleaning
ISM Saddles
 Photo Gallery
Mike NortheybioSPORT Series Champion Waterfront Auckland TT 2-10-10
Karl Murray 2 2010 Tour of New Caledonia Tour de Femme
Home Kiwi Riders Sports Science Beginners Articles Riders Reports Tech Corner Contact
© 2020 | Login | Design by OnfireDesign