John McIntyre adds V8-powered backing to Abel Tasman Cycle Challenge

John McIntyre organiser of the Abel Tasman Cycle Challenge with Tasman mayor Richard Kempthorne, left and Nelson Airport ...  

A local V8 racing legend's full-throttle attempt to bring a marquee cycle event to the region has been realised.

John McInytre was spurred into action by watching regular pelotons whiz past his Moutere home.

"Every day at least a handful of people will be cycling past my front gate," he said. "It's pretty quiet out here and hearing them chatting away I just thought 'why is Nelson/Tasman one of the only regions not to have something like this of their own?'"

The idea for the Abel Tasman Cycle Challenge was born. It held its official launch at Nelson Airport on Tuesday evening.

Entries are now open for the December 3 event which is being promoted as the first of its kind for the region.

The challenge will be a scenic participation-friendly ride for individuals and teams as opposed to an actual race. Competitors will complete in a loop from Saxton Field to Kaiteriteri and back with solo, pair and foursome options included in the programme.

The 158km course will be be entirely undertaken on the road and open to riders aged 13 and up. It has required a substantial five-month planning process with Opus, police, Downer, and the Nelson city and Tasman district councils before being signed off in February.

McIntyre's motorsport legacy is impressive - from being the Hawkes Bay Car Club motorkana champion in 1990 to winning the Hampton Downs 3 hour endurance race in March this year.

So why then is an accomplished petrolhead so eager to push for a two wheeled spectacle in the region?

"My racing career has always been travelling away from Nelson since there are no race tracks here and I really wanted to find something I could sink my teeth into that was local, so I've chosen something that is literally outside my front gate," he said.

McIntyre has enlisted former professional triathlete Shanelle Barrett as course director and is grateful for the support from the local cycling community, particularly Jim Matthews, in providing assistance on the course layout.

McIntyre believes the route will offer plenty of scenic value to attract a good number of inaugural entries despite none of the Great Taste Cycle Trail being used. He is hopeful of the local community creating a colourful, vibrant atmosphere on the day.

"It would be a lot easier not to got through places like Richmond due to the traffic management point of view, but we want to put something on people's doorstep and see what it'll bring to our region," he said.